MORGANTOWN - In a lot of ways, what West Virginia and Kansas went through this season was quite similar. The difference was merely a matter of degrees and duration.
In other words, imagine the Mountaineers' five-game, six-week winless slump and then double it. Now you have Kansas.
Of course, West Virginia had a 5-0 start to fall back on and that's a huge difference. It's what enabled the Mountaineers to be in a position to salvage at least something out of the season, which they did finally last week with a 31-24 win at Iowa State to become bowl eligible.
Kansas had no such bright spot.
The Jayhawks won their first game of the season, beating South Dakota State of the FCS 31-17. And now the Jayhawks (1-10, 0-8 Big 12) bring a litany of unwanted streaks into Saturday's 2:30 p.m. game with West Virginia (6-5, 3-5) at Mountaineer Field.
That includes the second-longest active losing streak in the FBS (10, two behind Southern Mississippi), an 18-game road losing streak and 20 straight Big 12 games without a victory. It's been 20 games against FBS opponents since the Jayhawks last won (Northern Illinois the second game of last season).
Given all of that, it might be expected that first-year coach Charlie Weis looked at his team's end-of-season schedule and cringed with a late weekend off. The Jayhawks last played on Nov. 17, when Iowa State crushed them 51-23. Having a week off for Thanksgiving before wrapping up at West Virginia would seem to be a matter of just prolonging the agony.
Weis doesn't look at it that way.
"I'm kind of glad the way the schedule worked out that we didn't play on Thanksgiving weekend,'' Weis said Monday. "You can only get guys up psychologically in a short time span so many times without them being flat. We were set up to be kind of flat last week.''
And this week? Well, there's still the weight of all those losses and the knowledge that the season won't be extended beyond Saturday no matter what happens.
But it did afford Weis and his staff the chance to rest the team, get a huge head start on preparing for the Mountaineers and take dead aim at finishing the season on a positive note, which is really all the Jayhawks can hope for at this point.