Sportsbooks have put out win totals for college football, and have set the line at Kansas at three. I know, I was expecting 1.5 too! So what gives? What does Vegas know that we don’t?
While I’m sure some alternate dimension exists where KU will win five or six games this fall, I’m equally sure it isn’t this dimension. That said, let’s make our game predictions three months too early. We’ll start with just the noncon games, and go through the conference games later on this summer.
Athlon Preseason Rank in Parenthesis (Kansas is 107 out of 130, and the worst P5 team):
vs Nicholls State (FCS)
Even the season opener terrifies me, and it’s an FCS school! Everyone points to Nicholls State’s game against Texas A&M last year, a 24-14 loss in College Station, a game that was tied in the fourth quarter with 8 minutes to go. However, that’s only a small part of the story. Nicholls finished 2017 ranked #23 in FCS, losing in the first round of the playoffs. They return pretty much everybody from last year: starting QB, top 4 rushers, 4 of their top 5 receivers, their top 7 tacklers, and their top 2 sack leaders from 2017 all return. Sure, KU returns 18 starters too, but KU’s returning players didn’t win 8 games last year. Nicholls 37, Kansas 31.
@ Central Michigan (116)
It only gets tougher after week 1, folks. In week 2 the Jayhawks hit the road for Central Michigan, a team that pasted KU in Lawrence last year. Kansas hasn’t won a road game since 2009, and even though CMU looks to be taking a step back from 2017, I don’t think it will be enough for Kansas to catch up. Most publications have CMU and KU ranked similarly entering 2018, but recent history and homefield advantage is enough for me to favor the Chippewas. CMU 48, Kansas 30.
vs Rutgers (85)
Rutgers is looking for a quarterback and a pass rusher (aren’t we all) but still ranks 22 spots ahead of KU in the Athlon rankings. Unlike Kansas, the Knights didn’t get blown out of every game last year, and even (unexpectedly) beat Maryland and Purdue en route to a 4-8 season. If Rutgers continues that sort of improvement under third year coach Chris Ash, the Jayhawks are in trouble. Rutgers 31, Kansas 17.
That’s right, folks. Three games in and we’re well on our way to an 0-12 season. Or are we? I guess you’ll just have to keep checking back with RCT to see if Kansas will beat Texas (again).