1) Will KU be competitive this week?
Two weeks after a win over Iowa State and one week after a close call versus TCU, Kansas is traveling to take on the Oklahoma Sooners. I ask this question because in recent history, Kansas has not played well in the weeks following victories. For example, last year after defeating Louisiana Tech, KU got stomped at home 54-16 by Texas Tech, and then after defeating West Virginia, the team got shut out 34-0 by ISU. This season, after an opening game win, Kansas followed it up by getting run all over by Duke, 41-3, and followed their win against Central Michigan with a bad shut out loss to Texas, 23-0. Notice a pattern? This is why I thought that this past weekend's game against the Horned Frogs would be a rough one to say the least. But the Jayhawks played a good game and almost scored a mammoth upset. You have to wonder though if they are going to be out of gas come this Saturday. After a rare conference win and an emotional senior day, It wouldn't be very surprising to see a bad game. That being said, this is a much different team under Clint Bowen than it was under Charlie Weis, so we may see a break in this unfortunate trend as well.
2) Can Michael Cummings have another big passing day?
I must say, I've been very impressed with Cummings' play this season. Against TCU he didn't have his most efficient day, barely completing over 50% of his passes, but he did pass for a career-high 332 yards with 2 touchdowns (and an interception as well). He has continued to improve during his time as a starter, and Oklahoma is as good of a team as any for Cummings to succeed against in the air. The Sooners are last in the Big 12 in pass defense, giving up 291.5 yards per game this season, while they're second in the conference in run defense, which should lead to plenty of passing for the Jayhawks. Considering how well the receivers have played lately for KU, this game is a good candidate for another big showing from Michael Cummings and the Jayhawks through the air.
3) Can JaCorey Shepherd contain Sterling Shepard?
Before getting into this, it should be noted that it is not a guarantee that Oklahoma's Sterling Shepard will play this weekend. That being said: We'll likely be seeing a Shepherd vs. Shepard matchup on the outside this Saturday when Kansas is on defense, and it should be an exciting showdown between one of the better receivers in the Big 12 against one of the better corners. JaCorey has been lights out in the last two games, totaling up six pass breakups and two interceptions against Iowa State and TCU combined. With Shepard not having played for the last two weeks and likely not being 100% this week if he does play, expect JaCorey Shepherd to have another big week.
4) Is Nigel King going to have another great reception against Oklahoma?
Alright so this one is admittedly not a burning question. Two weeks ago against the Cyclones, King made a great down field reception over the Iowa State defensive back to set the Jayhawks up near the goal line. And of course, this past weekend, King had arguably the catch of the year in college football on his one-handed, tip drill, 78-yard touchdown. It was a play for the ages, one I will surely never forget. We've already touched on Oklahoma's weak pass defense, so don't be surprised if King A) has a big game yet again, and B) makes your jaw drop with a big catch. NFL fans may remember a stretch of games last year in which the Chicago Bears' Alshon Jeffery had an amazing if not almost impossible catch each week. It would be nice if KU had their own little version of that this season with Nigel King. He's been stellar in the last couple of games, so you can expect another big performance and another awesome grab.
5) Will we see improvement in kickoff coverage from Kansas?
All things considered, the kick/punt coverage wasn't even that bad against the Horned Frogs, but just like the Oklahoma State game, the big return touchdown was killer. In that game it was Tyreek Hill and this past weekend for TCU it was Cameron Echols-Luper. A lot goes into a good return, it's not just bad coverage just like it's not just a great run, but having two devastating return touchdowns against you in one season has got to lead to some work on the special teams squad. This isn't exactly a bold prediction, but I'm going to assume we don't see Kansas allow any more return touchdowns on special teams this season.