Mark Mangino is in trouble. Maybe it took a five-game losing streak to embolden the Kansas coach's critics enough to release the hounds, but at this point, it seems former players are lining up outside the offices of the Lawrence Journal-World and Kansas City Star to tell on-the-record horror stories about Mangino's temper.
Whether you believe the problem is Mangino's anger-management strategy, his poor choice of parking spots, his corpulence or the intestinal fortitude of his accusers doesn't matter. What matters is that firestorm hitting Lawrence right now might cause a cataclysmic shift in the national title race.
In sports, one of two things happens when a coach comes under fire. His players abandon him and the team falls apart, or his team bands together to provide an on-field endorsement of its leader.
Judging by the comments from his former players, the Jayhawks probably will choose the former and lose by 40 at Texas on Saturday night. That could sink Mangino, who seems to have no support from his administration after this season's collapse. But what happens if the Jayhawks choose the latter? What happens if Texas is understandably complacent after slaughtering so many foes in this year's underachieving Big 12? What happens if Kansas shocks the Longhorns?
All BCS hell would break loose, that's what.
Suddenly, TCU and Cincinnati would be in the mix for the BCS title game. History might get made if pollsters yanked the Horned Frogs to No. 3, because either No. 1 Florida or No. 2 Alabama is guaranteed to lose when those teams meet Dec. 5. BCS critics would be on high alert for any poll adjustments that allowed the Bearcats (from the automatic qualifying Big East) or a one-loss Texas to sneak past TCU.
It would make the next two weeks some of the most interesting in college football history. It probably won't happen, but the situation in Lawrence is so volatile that it can only produce an extreme result.
Either the Jayhawks will lose by six touchdowns, or they will hang with the Longhorns and possibly shock the world. There won't be an in-between.