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Kansas Jayhawks Football Predictions: Big 12 season

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With no game last week, we took some time to talk about what we expect to see the rest of the year from our Jayhawks.

Ohio v Kansas Photo by Ed Zurga/Getty Images

With no game for last week, it’s time to pause and reflect on what has happened with our team so far this year. This year, Kansas has a clear division between the non-conference and conference schedules, and we’ll take this opportunity to give our predictions for what we think is going to happen the rest of the season for our Jayhawks and/or the Big 12 as a whole. Is it all doom and gloom?

mikeville: I’ll go first. Yes, it’s all doom and gloom. So Cozart apologized to the team this week? What did he say, I’m sorry that I suck? I really needed Memphis to cover the spread? We’ve got one chance left to pick up a win this year when Iowa State comes to town on November 12; anything else would be a monumental upset. The offense can only move the ball from hash to hash, it can’t go down the field, and who knows how much longer the defense can hold up, considering the step up in competition from our non-con is going to be considerable. I’ll hope for a 2-10 season but at this point I wonder if we’ll even be favorites against Iowa State.

KU Grad 08: Last year, Willis got some valuable PT during conference play. It seemed he settled down a bit and got into a groove with the offense. The numbers weren’t great, but for a true freshman with zero offensive line and little talent around him, it certainly was respectable.

Why do I bring this up? Because Cozart, who has been absolutely horrible behind center since he arrived in Lawrence, is going to start the rest of the year. Does this make any sense?

We won’t keep any games the rest of the year to single digits let alone win any. We just need to hope and pray Beaty learns how to coach in this span (and next off-season) and we can do SOMETHING next year. I just still don’t get how our program can be this bad… even in Mangino’s worst years we were competitive and winning some games. Even Gill beat a ranked team and picked up a league win. I’m just sad. I have no hope. I give up.

David: First, mikeville, let me put your concerns to rest. There is absolutely no way we'll be favored against Iowa State this year. I'm not jumping on any “fire Beaty" bandwagons, but he needs to learn what his function needs to be as head coach. I'm glad he recognized that he was micromanaging, but it didn't stop him from keeping the playcalling duties, so I question how far he's capable of stepping back

It's true that this team was never going to be good. They have more experience than last year, but they're still incredibly young. They're playing a lot of guys who were not heavily recruited, and have mostly true freshmen and walk-ons behind them on the depth chart. That's a recipe for disaster no matter who is coaching.

That said, things don’t have to look disorganized. The quarterback situation doesn't have to be a mess. Special teams shouldn't be a disaster. Not all of the problems we're seeing can be explained away with “the cupboard was bare when he got here.” The circumstances dictate that he's got at least one more full year after this to figure things out, so we'll see how much progress he can make as a head coach in that time.

Winmore: While anything can happen in the sport of football, it’s not unfair to suggest Kansas won’t win another game this season. Coach Beaty is afforded a few seasons to iron things out. True. But through 15 games in Lawrence it’s also not unfair to admit that it feels, looks, stinks like the Jayhawks may be the worst FBS program to ever attempt to run the Air Raid offense.

The offense is supposed to level the playing field for outmatched opponents by holding possession. For decades we’ve seen mid-majors use it to great effect. We’ve seen people like Hal Mumme and Mike Leach and Sonny Dykes and Art Briles turn Kentucky and Texas Tech and Cal and Baylor into solid programs running the offense. We’ve seen countless mid-majors run the offense – most recently Briles assistant, Phil Montgomery, turned Tulsa around in his first season running the offense.

And yet, in Lawrence, under Rob Likens and now Beaty’s playcalling, Kansas looks like they tried to download the Air Raid playbook from the internet and came back with a crippling virus. When 40% of your plays will be behind-the-line-of-scrimmage wide receiver screens, you might want to at least design it where there will be blockers on the edge. Unfortunately for Beaty, his attempt to overhaul the Jayhawks with a gimmick heavy offense smacks of a strong mediocre familiarity to what Terry Allen attempted to do with his spread offense in the days of the Power-I at Kansas from 1997-2001. Beaty may stabilize the program, but if things don’t start looking better towards the end of year three or four, just like for Allen, it might be Beaty’s successor who is around to see bowl berths result from it.

As for the Big 12, it sure looks like it might be the first of the power five conferences already eliminated from the College Football Playoff. Oklahoma, even if they win out, isn’t going to get an invite. Texas, while much improved, has a defense that cannot be trusted in the crunch. Oklahoma State has the same issue. Which leaves Baylor as the conference’s lone shot at significant post season glory.

Baylor, in its state of flux? Baylor fans would love to have that to rub in everyone’s faces. If the Bears lose though, even just once, the national media perspective on the Big 12 will most likely be set. Especially if Houston survives their late season tilt against Louisville with an undefeated record.

Fizzle406: We don’t win anymore games this year. My hope is that Beaty benches Cozart and brings in Willis full time. Splitting duties isn’t going to help this team. Willis is the future. Get him in there and get him some reps. By the time he is a senior maybe is a serviceable QB and with a full roster at that point, there could be something special there. He needs to be thinking long term because we aren’t winning any games in the short term.

dnoll5: There are no more wins this season. I have no in-depth analysis. I couldn’t even sit through the first quarter of the Memphis game. Just quit turning the ball over and stop the other team from making big plays. Might as well get the guys that are going to be major players next year on the field this year. That’s all I’m asking.

Jakebogen95: I don’t know what to say because in all honesty as bad as Kansas has looked, they at least have scored a touchdown (as opposed to my L.A. Rams LOL). All jokes aside, please sit Cozart. He looked great against a Pop Warner team in Rhode Island and now Coach Beaty is overrating that performance. Ryan Willis is the guy... or at least SHOULD be the guy.

The problem overall has been the QB play and the OL. If a team can barely get a first-down how can you expect any defense that’s on the field the whole game to hold off offenses that continue to push the ball down the field? You know your offense sucks when the other team’s offense starts getting tired from constantly moving the football. Hopefully adjustments will be made but this looks like a doozy of a season after the Iowa State game. On the positive side of things KU Basketball happens to be great every year. So there’s something to enjoy while KU football gets trampled weekly.

misterbrain: It’s so tough to tell what we should think with this team. Rhode Island seemed to be a huge step forward for the program, but the warning signs were there. Montell Cozart was mostly good in that first game, but just didn’t seem to have that polish and presence that you would expect from the starting quarterback of a Power 5 program. And we quickly found out that he still doesn’t really seem to have what it takes. The frustrating part is that Beaty doesn’t seem to realize what most fans have known for over a year now: Cozart is never going to be an effective starter in Lawrence.

The rest of the season is up in flux at this point, as there is the slight possibility that the bye week and reshuffling of responsibilities back to their original locations could spark a turnaround, and even the less talented teams of the last couple of years have competed with some teams that they had no business staying close to (looking at you, Horned Frogs). So is it possible that Kansas steals another win or two? Maybe. But I wouldn’t hold my breath. Yet again, the hope is that maybe next year will show the improvement that we were expecting to see this year.

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What about you? What do you expect to see from our Jayhawks during Big 12 play? What do you expect from the rest of the conference?