Sticking with the lean format again this week for the matchup breakdown because Kansas doesn't offer many compelling matchups.
Yes Iowa State is probably one of the games on the schedule where Kansas could matchup, but after the last three games it's getting harder and hardr to argue that Kansas can matchup with anyone.
Kansas Offense vs. Iowa State Defense
The good news? The reality is that the Iowa State defense is not a very good one. As noted in Warden's Tale of the Tape they have the #108th ranked run defense and the #116th ranked overall defense. That's the good news.
The bad news? Well Kansas has been anemic throughout and things often gradually slide of the tracks too early for the Jayhawks to be competitive.
The hope? Quin Mecham takes over at quarterback and at this point a spark from anyone could tilt enough to move the football against a defense like the Cyclones. If Long keeps it simple, balanced and Mecham can make the reads and the throws then maybe Kansas can get something going. The biggest thing, it can't be a slow start and it needs to be a start that brings some confidence across the board.
Kansas Defense vs. Iowa State Offense
Iowa State runs the ball well, but doesn't have a great passing game. Conventional wisdom would say Kansas has a chance. The Jayhawk defense showed promise against the run early in the season and maybe this is a style they can compete with.
Lee Corso says...NOT so fast my friend. Kansas faced a team that relied on the run earlier this year in Kansas State. How did that go? The Jayhawks made a pedestrian quarterback in Carson Coffman look like a Heisman candidate. If I'm Paul Rhoads I go against the grain and let Austen Arnaud keep mix it up and win the ball game.
The hope for Kansas comes if the offense get's going and ONLY if the offense get's going. Playing at a deficit on a short field hasn't been a good recipe for success and that's not going to change.
DJ Beshears is on the bench so I'm not sure if there is much hope here for the Jayhawks. Bring back the ghosts of 2007 when special teams was a strength. I think perhaps a good goal for this team from here on out would be to be the best special teams team in the conference. That alone can keep you from getting blown out in a hurry. Problem is I don't think that switch can be flipped after 7 weeks.
Paul Rhoads does with Iowa State exactly what I would have loved to see from Turner Gill at Kansas. 4 wins was the ceiling for Kansas in the minds of many, but the manner by which those 8-10 losses appear to be coming is absolutely horrific.
Yes Iowa State has had some ugly losses this year but they've been against Oklahoma and Utah two top ten teams. On the flip side the Cyclones went into Austin, rallied around their coach and got a win in a very tough place to play. They did the same in Rhoads first year when they won in Lincoln during the 2009 season.
Turner Gill and Kansas don't seem to be achieving that same mojo. For all the positive talk, and all the likable coaches, it isn't translating to the field the way it has for Rhoads at Iowa State. I hope it's a matter of turning over some of the veterans on the team and I hope this improves with time. But for this year, there is zero reason for me to believe that things will change. Point blank, we're just getting through it at this point.
The only way Kansas wins the Coaching battle in this one is if Paul Rhoads pukes all over himself on the sideline. That won't happen he'll be ready and Kansas we'll be challenged to respond.