(*: added late by the editor (hey, that's me), because I knew I had an asterick in this post somewhere. Jeff Boschee is one of three ridiculous man-crushes I've had in my life. The other two? Chadwick Pennington, and Jon Scheyer. Again -- if you don't get me help at Charter? Please get me help somewhere.)
Result: 24-9, NCAA Tournament 4th Seed (Midwest Regional), L Midwest Regional Final to Georgia Tech (71-79, OT).
Reason: well for starters, as of today? This is the only KU team Bill Self has coached, that did not win at least a share of the Big XII regular season title. And yet, having noted that? I'd argue this is the best coaching job he's done, since arriving in Lawrence ... and he did it in year one.
This team was running on fumes from the Final Four teams of the previous two years. Gone were (fred white voice) Dwight Gooden, Nick Collison, Kirk Hinrich, and Jeff Boschee, Nobody expected KU to get past the Sweet Sixteen, where Kentucky likely laid waiting.
Instead, Mike Anderson engineered a massive upset of UK in the Round of 32, and KU survived a couple god-awful efforts, blew out UAB, and found itself one of the last six teams standing, as noon dawned on Elite Eight Sunday.
I've rarely entered a game more geeked than I was for this one (it was played in the whatever the hell they call it now Dome in St. Louis). I've rarely left a game more disgusted and disappointed, than I did 2 1/2 hours later. KU led once all day -- for about five seconds to open overtime. They rallied from down 10 at the under four to force overtime on an epic JR Giddens three pointer. But they couldn't overcome the Rambling Wreck that day.
Still, one awesome season, that set the foundation, for the ten (and counting) championship seasons that have followed.
Result: 12-1, W Orange Bowl vs Virginia Tech (24-17).
Reason: where to begin? The biggest game KU and MU have ever played, on any stage, in any sport? The Big XII North, a potential National Championship, and a potential BCS berth on the line, in the regular season finale? College GameDay at a KU Football game?!?!?! The "Spirit of 76", as "Sur" William Callahan's Huskers were nearly doubled up (final: 76-39), as KU scored a touchdown on ten consecutive possessions, and poor "Sur" Willy was reduced to an incoherent mess on his coach's show a couple days later?
Or maybe it was yet another KU Band inspired moment, the "Don't Stop Believing" montage after demolishing Iowa State to get to 11-0.
Or possibly proving beyond the shadow of all doubt that Kansas Jayhawk Football being selected for a BCS Bowl was the right and proper decision, by beating ACC Champion Virginia Tech on my (gulp) 31st birthday.
Or ... all of the above.
Result: 11-5, L Wildcard Round at Colts (44-45).
Reason: I guess I'll just say this: if you had told me, that I would be in Indy to witness the rise, and epic fall, of the Chiefs that cold January day, one day after I turned (big gulp) 37 (Part 1 of the Recap; Part 2 of the Recap), I'd have believed you.
If you had told me that wouldn't even be within 500 miles of the best sporting event I'd attend all year? I'd have called Two Rivers on your behalf. I honestly thought NOTHING could top that playoff game. Yes, the Chiefs lost ... but it was a season that restored the faith and passion in the franchise, and let's just be honest: that was one EPICALLY awesome game, win or lose.
If you'd told me that not even nine months later, I'd witness something in person that would put that cold January Saturday to shame and embarrassment, at how pathetic it was compared to this other event?
No way in hell I'd have believed you.
But you'd have been right. And I'd have been wrong.
Because to answer the "fake email" from the "real reader" that sparked this post ...
Result: 89-73, W AL Wildcard Game vs A's (9-8, 12 innings), W ALDS vs Angels (3-0), W ALCS vs Orioles (4-0), American League Champions, L World Series vs Giants (3-4).
Result: 9-7, L AFC Wildcard at Colts (8-23).
Reason: this? Isn't the "quick, call Charter, Stevo's freaking lost it!" Chiefs team, I referenced at number 12 earlier. I love the hell out of the 2006 Chiefs. They overcame so damned much, beat every odd, they never quit. They just never quit.
Trent Green lost for three months during the opener? Damon Huard turns in a Pro Bowl worthy performance. Lose three straight in December? Win the last two and nail the Immaculate Fourfecta.
Field goal from 48 to beat the Chargers nullified due to a bullsh*t penalty?
Nail the retry from 53 even more perfectly than the attempt from 48.
Have to host -- and beat -- your two most hated rivals in a five day span?
Intercept aaron brooks in the end zone with :06 remaining, and then hold denver to a franchise record-low 38 yards rushing, in a game you never trail.
In a game that got the 2006 Chiefs into the postseason.
And folks? Don't forget -- as awful as that loss to Indy was (no first downs for 44 minutes)?
The Chiefs had the ball, with 12 minutes to play, down one score.
They never, ever quit.
I admire that.
And speaking of quitters, on the opposite end of the spectrum ...
Result: 30-8, Big XII Regular Season Champions, West Regional Champions (beat Arizona 78-75), L National Title Game vs Syracuse (78-81).
Reason: Dick Vitale giving Nick Collison a standing ovation in one of the best wins in program history (vs Texas, 90-87). The sheer panic over opening 3-3 (losing to UNC, Florida, and Oregon ... no shame in any of those, but still). Crapping out in the Big XII Tournament to Mizzou. Surviving the West Regional -- Utah State missing a three as time expired, holding on to win by four against Duke, and three against Arizona.
The thrill of propping the feet up at halftime of the Marquette Final Four game, up 35, knowing the entire second half was one long visual fellating of the Jayhawk program.
The agony of Mikey Lee getting raped by Hakim Warrick on the final shot of the season, preventing overtime against Syracuse ... who owned that National Title Game for 33 minutes behind the brilliance of Carmelo Anthony. (As someone whose 1B hoops team is Syracuse, let me tell you, this title game was painful to watch ... but with the benefit of twelve years of hindsight, I'm glad Syracuse won. Boeheim got the championship to cement his legacy, on the court where his legacy drew the most question. (Indiana beat Syracuse in the 1987 Title Game in the Superdome, on Keith Smart's jumper ... and Syracuse didn't have the presence of mind, to call timeout afterwards, to set up a final play.) Roy should win all his titles at UNC; I honestly hope he gets at least one more before he retires. And KU got theirs five years later.)