Kansas will be packing for Insight Bowl

LAWRENCE, Kan. -- Kansas is headed to a bowl game for the second straight year, another step in their continuing campaign to become a football powerhouse.

It's the first time the Jayhawks have gone to two straight bowl games.

Less than a week after rallying past Missouri 40-37 in the regular-season finale, Kansas announced on Friday that it had been authorized to begin selling tickets to the Insight Bowl.

They'll meet a Big Ten opponent in Sun Devil Stadium in Tempe, Ariz., on Dec. 31., and no longer be laughed at as the Big 12 school that never got to a bowl game in back-to-back years. Last year, they beat Virginia Tech in the Orange Bowl.

"It means a lot to us. I feel like that's one of those barriers that people can't hold against us anymore," defensive back Darrell Stuckey said.

Do not think the stigma of never making consecutive bowl trips hadn't bothered the Jayhawks. It was something coach Mark Mangino brought up to the players when he told them on Friday they'd be headed for Tempe.

"The fact we're going to back-to-back bowls really shows this program has made a lot of improvement," said quarterback Todd Reesing, who's practically rewritten the school's record book for career and single-season passing. "I'm not going to say we're at the level we want to be because we still want to play for championships and win championships.

"But to come to where we are now, I think we've made a lot of strides, and garnered a lot more respect because we can get bowl-eligible and go to back-to-back bowls, and win bowl games, too."

Kansas (7-5) may not know its opponent until Sunday, when bowl bids are officially extended. Wisconsin and Minnesota were both strong possibilities.

"It is all but certain that Kansas will be playing in the Insight Bowl," Big 12 Commissioner Dan Beebe said in a news release. "Formal Big 12 procedures prevent the conference from making an announcement until Sunday afternoon."

Each team will have an allotment of 10,500 tickets at $55 each. The price for students is $25.

It will be Kansas' fourth bowl appearance in Mangino's seven seasons as head coach.

"You come off a win against your border rival and there's a great deal of enthusiasm among the players and coaches," Mangino said. "The fan base is energized. Everybody is. I would think we would have quite a few fans in Tempe for this game."