After a brief reprieve from horrible matchups in our game against Iowa State, we return now to your regularly scheduled program. Yes that's right folks, Baylor is coming to town and this one has the makings of a scary result. The Bears opened as 17.5 point favorites and that line is up to 20 at this point and rising. The scarier thought is that the over/under is set at 75+ and Kansas has struggled offensively of late so where are all those points coming from?
Trying to remain positive it is worth noting that Saturday is senior day and we will bid farewell to a group of players that have seen better times in a Jayhawk uniform. Jeremiah Hatch and Jeff Spikes were the bookends for Kansas during the Reesing to Meier Border War of 2008 and I remember Hatch fighting off the Minnesota defensive end with a broken helmet while protecting Todd Reesing's blind side in the Insight Bowl. Steven Johnson has turned into the Christian Moody story on the football field and currently leads the Big 12 in tackles. Tim Biere has put in a solid four year career starting as a true freshman and often filling the role of the 6th offensive lineman while showing the capability to be much more.
It's a small group, but they were here during a much better time for Kansas football. Hopefully we'll get some extra fight out of the whole team as we send of another crew and maybe we can give Baylor a little hell in the process.
Kansas Offense vs. Baylor Defense
Here's where I think senior day could have the biggest impact. Why? Well we have two seniors who have been here when Kansas was winning in Jeff Spikes and Jeremiah Hatch. I also believe that we have three other offensive lineman that can get it done in Tanner Hawkinson, Duane Zlatnik and Trevor Marrongelli.
The key of course will be playcalling. Against Iowa State things were working, the offense looked creative and then in the second half things bottled up. That's been happening for most of the season and if the playcalling remains stagnant and doesn't capitalize on what we do well and what is working then it won't matter.
With all that in mind Baylor is a pretty sub par defensive team. Near the bottom of division one football against the run and overall they are just a few notches above Kansas in the grand scheme of things. We need our staff to attack Baylor and we need our players to perform at a level that we've seen earlier in the season. If that happens, Kansas has a chance to put some points on the board.
Key head to head here will be the Kansas offensive line against the Baylor front. Last year the Baylor defensive tackles destroyed us. They aren't the same, but Kansas cannot let that happen again if they want to capitalize on a weak running defense. This one plays into the hands of the Kansas offense and if we're truly improved then it's time to show that once again.
Kansas Defense vs Baylor Offense
And now the bad news. Baylor is a very explosive and athletic offensive team and that all starts with Robert Griffin III. RGIII as he's become known is a quarterback that has the ability to beat you with his arm or his feet and as he's grown and matured as a player he is much more likely to beat you throwing the football.
That's why this is scary. It's one thing to face a "running quarterback". It's quite another to face a good passer who can tuck and run. That's what RGIII is and based on what we've seen from Kansas over the course of the season we know that there is a huge possibility that we provide enormous running opportunity for the quarterback and countless opportunities in the passing game.
It's a matchup nightmare when you look at this one on paper. Making it worse is the fact that Baylor has a solid running back in Terrance Ganaway and he's averaging over 100 yards per game on the ground. Ganaway will run, Griffin will pass and if all else fails Griffin will run as well and I haven't even gotten into what Kendall Wright will do, but look out. This one looks extremely difficult for the Jayhawks and it will be interesting to see if Vic Shealy can draw something up to keep Baylor at bay.
Back to the good news. Baylor isn't a very good special teams squad. They aren't great in kick/punt coverage, they aren't a great return team either. Kansas is middle of the pack but they've shown the ability to do some good things in this area throughout the season.
I'm not telling anyone anything they don't already know when I say that Kansas needs to make Baylor play with a long field on offense and DJ Beshears has an opportunity to be a big difference maker for Kansas in the return game.
Give the Jayhawk offense a short field and good things could happen.
We all know the current opinions on Turner Gill and his staff. Last week the team fought but there were still some questionable decisions being made especially late.
On the other sideline Baylor has Art Briles. He's ascended the ranks by following and/or landing big time quarterbacks. That obviously speaks to his ability to recruit, but is Briles a great coach? That's hard to say when you're success as a head coach at the division one level is basically tied to Kevin Kolb and RGIII.
Still you can't argue with success in this matchup. Briles has had success, Gill has not...at least at Kansas he hasn't and there aren't too many people that care about what happened at Buffalo anymore. Edge to Briles.