Kansas Football 2012: Key Opponent Update

Matthew Emmons-US PRESSWIRE

A look at KU's key remaining opponents

Iowa State (5-5) - November 17
Last Week: Iowa State dropped to .500 with a weak performance against Texas, losing 33-7.

Notes: Iowa State's offensive struggles continue. The cyclones were held to 277 total yards, and quarterback continues to be an issue. Steele Jantz went 15 of 29, with just 133 yards and two interceptions. ISU was -2 in turnovers, and their normally stout defense allowed over 600 yards. ISU was also just 3-12 on third down, giving them a poor performance in just about every efficiency category.

What I'm Watching: This team is basically falling off the map. They've lost four of their last five, with the only win coming against Baylor, whose only conference win came against us. It's good that we're catching them on a low note, but it should be noted that ISU needs one more win to become bowl eligible, so they'll likely have a little extra motivation heading into Saturday.

Here are some statistical silver linings for us: ISU has been outscored 147-94 over their last five games, and that actually includes a comfortable victory over Baylor. Their defense, still one of the best in the conference, has allowed 1202 yards in just the last two weeks. They're also -3 in turnovers and 12-26 on third down during that time. True, the games were against Oklahoma and Texas, but this team is slumping, and we've seen what happens when teams aren't at the top of their game playing Kansas this year. It hasn't resulted in a conference win yet, but unlike OSU, Texas Tech and Texas, Iowa State doesn't necessarily have the talent to simply overpower us when they realize the game is on the line. I won't go so far as to predict a win, but I will say that if Iowa State plays ineffective offense and turns the ball over, we have a great shot.

West Virginia (5-4) - December 1
Last Week: West Virginia continued on their road to collapse, losing 55-34 to Oklahoma State.

Notes: It's hard to believe this was a Top 5 team just a month ago. The Mountaineers were handed their fourth straight loss, though the box score looked pretty even. Despite putting up 479 yards, WV was just 6-20 on third down, and was -1 in turnovers. They did hold Okie State to 443 yards (under their season average), but couldn't keep them out of the end zone.

What I'm Watching: I was a little torn about adding WV to the list. They're basically Baylor's twin, and we all remember what happened a couple of weeks ago in Waco. Still, if we can take Texas Tech to double overtime on the road, why not consider this game on the table? West Virginia has given up 400+ yards in all but two games (James Madison and Maryland), and three teams have gone over 600 yards. In other words, this is a team that Kansas should be able to move the ball against. They rank 112th in yards allowed, and 72nd in FO's defensive S&P+ ratings (would you believe we're 35th?).

This Week: No weeks off in the Big 12. West Virginia hosts Oklahoma this week, risking a drop from 5-0 to 5-5.

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