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5 Talking Points: Bye Week

No game equates to no burning questions for this Saturday. Nevertheless, there are still plenty of things to talk about involving the Jayhawks football team.

Michael C. Johnson-USA TODAY Sports

1) What is the likelihood that Kansas wins a conference game?

The start of this conference season was pretty awful, all things considered. Quarterback play was atrocious, playcalling was terrible, offense couldn't move the ball, the coach ended up getting canned. Ever since Clint Bowen took over the team though? The Jayhawks have played much better in the last couple of weeks. They almost pulled off a huge upset against Oklahoma State and they were at least competitive for a good part of the game versus Texas Tech in Lubbock. I wouldn't expect KU to win in Waco on November 1, considering that Baylor is just a much, much better team, but in the next few weeks I think there is a chance that the Jayhawks get a conference win. Kansas is playing better, they have another bad team in Iowa State at home on October 8 (although the Cyclones have played well enough to win in a few games this year, even if they came up short). It may be wishful thinking, but I firmly believe that KU can beat Iowa State in Lawrence this season.

2) Will the run game continue to be featured more in the coming games?

In each game so far this season, Kansas has run the ball more than they've passed it. KU also hasn't played very well for a majority of the year. Clint Bowen has done a lot of shaking up of the team since taking over, might this style of offense change soon as well? Michael Cummings has proven that he can play well (not great, but definitely solid) and I would imagine he has instilled a lot of confidence in Coach Bowen (more than Montell Cozart instilled in either coach, anyway). Might the Jayhawks try to spread the ball around more and play between the tackles less? I'm not necessarily saying that they should do this, but it's at least something to think about.

3) Are we going to see Nick Harwell returning punts again at some point?

Nick Harwell is Kansas' best receiver, but he has also shown more explosion than anyone else when he's gotten the chance to return punts this season. We discussed this last week, but I'm altering my tone now: Nick Harwell should be the punt returner for the Kansas Jayhawks. I understand not wanting to risk an injury on what is a more dangerous play, but he gives the team the best chance at a good punt return. Maybe I'm not giving Derrick Neal a fair shake at things, but 4 returns for 10 yards in two weeks isn't anything to write home about. I understand there are a lot of factors that go into a good return, but the best chance for KU at breaking off a good one is with Nick Harwell receiving the punt.

4) What sort of recognition will Ben Heeney receive once the season ends?

Ben Heeney has been incredible this season. He is the leader in all of the FBS in solo tackles and is the leader amongst P5 school players in combined solo/assisted tackles. That's pretty damn impressive. Heeney has got to be all-Big 12 at season's end, and frankly I think he's deserving of being the Big 12 Defensive Player of the Year. Who else might take that award from him? Oklahoma's Zack Sanchez with his five interceptions? Texas Tech's Pete Robertson and his seven sacks? I think it has to be Ben Heeney when you compare him to everyone else across the board. Of course, my opinion needs to be taken with a grain of salt considering my bias here, but I think he really has been that good this year. Hell, if he played for a better team I'm sure he'd get even more coverage than he does now. Assuming he keeps his play up at this level in the next few games, I think Heeney wins the award and deservedly so.

5) Is Clint Bowen going to be named the head coach after this season?

A lot of names have swirled around the KU head coaching situation. Ed Orgeron, Tim Beck, even Ken Niumatalolo. Personally, I think it should be Bowen. I really like Coach Clint and have been entirely supportive of him since taking over the team, and after reading Ben Heeney's Q&A with ESPN I support him even more. There is, of course, the chance that it turns into a Kliff Kingsbury situation like the one at Texas Tech, where the alumnus ends up in the head coaching spot and eventually things get seemingly uncomfortable between coach and program, but frankly I see no reason why to not at least give Bowen a shot. I firmly believe he can lead the team back to a consistently competitive level. Maybe I'm buying into emotion too much and grasping at any glimmer of hope, who knows.