Big 12 Football Countdown: No. 8 Kansas

US PRESSWIRE

Big 12 Football Countdown: No. 8 Kansas

Note: Before my credibility goes out the window (if it hasn't already) i would at least like a chance to validate my reasoning for this prediction with logic and facts. And yes, while this prediction is partly coming from a bias standpoint, I believe that Kansas' current situation (players, schedule, coaching, etc.) warrants a prediction that isn't all that farfetched.

Over the past four years, the football culture at Kansas has undergone several changes, many of them negative. During that stretch Kansas fired two coaches and went a combined 11-37. Then a speck of hope emerged with the hiring of Head Coach Charlie Weis. Weis brought about many changes to the program, including an overhaul of the coaching staff that included the hiring of DC Dave Campo. Although Weis' efforts have yet to produce many wins, they have certainly improved the recruiting base. Weis was able to snag BYU QB Jake Heaps, Oklahoma WR Justin McCay, Miami (OH) WR Nick Harwell and top JUCO DT Marquel Combs despite the given circumstances. Weis' impact has defiantly been felt off the field, what Kansas' needs is for that impact to be felt in the win loss column. Will this finally be the year Kansas crawls of out the basement of the Big 12 and dispels the doubt that surrounds the team? In all honesty probably not, although with the way Kansas' schedule sets up and all the incoming talent to the program, it's hard not to be a little more optimistic.

2012 Record: 1-11 (0-9)

Returning Starters: 13 (5 OFF, 6 DEF, 2 ST)

Key Losses on Offense: QB Dayne Crist (1313 yds. 4 TD), OL Tanner Hawkinson, WR Kale Pick (390 yds.)

Key Losses on Defense: DL Toben Opurum, DB Bradley McDougald, DB Lubbock Smith

Head Coach: Charlie Weis: 1-11 (2nd Year)

Strength: Incoming and returning talent

If it wasn't for all the incoming talent, Kansas probably wouldn't be able to compete this year. The passing game was almost non-existent last year but will dramatically improve with BYU transfer QB Jake Heaps (2319 yds. 15 TD (2010 stats)) and Oklahoma transfer WR Justin McCay. Heaps will also potentially have Miami OH transfer WR Nick Harwell (1425 yds. 9 TD (2011 stats)), assuming he graduates and his lawyer can persuade the NCAA. Even if he can't play Heaps still has dual threat WR-RB Tony Pierson (291 yds. 2 TD) and WR Andrew Turzilli (287 yds.) to throw to. The running game looks to pick up where it left off as the nation's 22nd best rushing attack returns it's top three rushers including RB James Sims (1013 yds. 9 TD). RB Darrian Miller (559 yds. 4 TD) returns to KU to give the Jayhawks and even deeper rotation in the backfield.

Weakness/Questions: Secondary and Offensive Line

We all know just how bad Kansas' defense has been recently, and with zero starters returning to the secondary, it is hard to see it get any better. DC Dave Campo looks to fill those holes in the secondary with incoming JUCO talent WS Cassius Sendish (29 TOT), CB Kevin Short (29 TOT 5 INT) and top ranked, former Jayhawk CB Dexter McDonald (17 TOT). Just RG Randall Dent and RT Aslam Sterling are the only starters returning to the offensive line. Those holes will be filled by JUCO talent C Michael Smithburg and top ranked Ngalu Fusimalohi. Detecting a pattern here? Pretty much any spot that isn't filled will be filled by a JUCO. Of course that should come to not surprise considering Weis brought in 17.

Projected Record: 6-6 (3-6)

Bowl Game: Pinstripe Bowl

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