78 Days: The Best Tournament, Second Round, Games 9 and 10

We're on to round two of our The Best tourney where four legends enter but only two move on.
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This summer, we have started a new knockout tournament featuring the greats of Kansas football. We’ve already gone through the first round matchups, and if you want to see who was up against who, you can find all the links on in the last matchup of the round, simply click here to get started. Now, we’re ready for the second round to begin. But first, a quick rundown of how this tournament is going to play out and how you can contribute.

Each of our writers will have a vote in the competition and so will you, the fan, through our social media accounts (instagram, threads and X). The winner in the fan vote will be equal to the vote of each of our contributors. We will continue down this path until we have determined who is the best player to ever wear a Jayhawk jersey.

1 Todd Reesing vs 17 Bill Whittemore

Todd Reesing, 2006-2009.

As the number one seed in the tournament, Reesing got a bye to round two, and there’s a good reason why he is our top seeded player. Simply put, no one is even close to Todd Reesing in the KU quarterback record books. His 90 passing touchdowns are 53 more than the next best. Reesing has the three top passing yardage seasons in KU history and of course his yardage total is far and away the highest in Kansas history at 11,194. He also owns three of the top four most prolific years in Jayhawks history as far as passing TDs go with 33 in 2007, 32 in 2008, and 22 in 2009. For perspective, only Carter Stanley and David Jaynes have more TD passes in their careers than Reesing had in each of those two seasons. Todd Reesing is, quite frankly, the best player that the Jayhawks have ever had.

The staff at Blue Wings Rising and the fans have chosen Bill Whittemore as the winner in the first round matchup against George Mrkonic. As the 16 against 17 match, this was likely to be the closest competition among first round matchups, but that wasn’t the case. Whittemore was the runaway favorite getting all the votes from our staff and the fans alike.

Bill Whittemore, 2002-2003.

Bill Whittemore made a lot of people believe in Kansas again. After the less than exciting Terry Allen era at KU, new coach Mark Mangino gave Whittemore the keys to the house and Bill took full advantage. In his two seasons at the wheel, Whittemore racked up 4,051 yards passing and threw 29 touchdowns. Leading that 2003 team to the Tangerine Bowl was a huge turning point for KU football, one that helped sustain the program for the next six years before Mangino was let go and Kansas took a nosedive.

8 Bobby Douglass vs 9 Otto Schnellbacher

Bobby Douglass, 1966-1968.

Bobby Douglass was our eighth ranked player and is the lowest ranked player to receive a first round bye. The 1968 All-American quarterback is a Ring of Honor inductee and one of the most revered players in Kansas history. Bobby Douglass was a force when he played for the Jayhawks, and since the game has changed so much since his time donning the crimson and blue, many of his records have gone by the wayside. One that still stands is his 39 total touchdowns, now good for eighth on the all-time list. Douglass left Kansas after leading KU to the 1969 Orange Bowl and he played 14 years in the NFL for Chicago, San Diego, New Orleans, and Tampa Bay.

The staff at Blue Wings Rising and the fans have chosen Otto Schnellbacher as the winner in his first round matchup against Ron Warner. Despite this matchup being the nine against the 24, the largest gap possible, the votes were remarkably close. The readers voted for Ron Warner as did one of our writers. Unfortunately for big Ron, three of our writers took Otto and he snuck by to face off against Douglass.

Otto Schnellbacher, 1942, 1946-47.

The “Double Threat from Sublette” was a two time All-Big 6 selection at tight end and is one of only three KU athletes to captain the basketball and football teams. An elite athlete of his era. He’s rightfully enshrined in the Memorial Stadium Ring of Honor, his name forever emblazoned among the greats of Kansas football. 

Here’s a look at the updated bracket on this side:

And remember to vote for the most deserving Jayhawks on all of our social media sites.


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Derek Noll

DEREK NOLL

An avid Jayhawks fan his entire life, Derek graduated from the University of Kansas in 1999 and has been writing about the Jayhawks since 2014, getting his start at Rock Chalk Talk.  He specializes in uniform analysis for basketball and football and offers a humorous take on player performances through Player Ratings posts.