As we continue to look ahead to the 2018 season on a game by game basis, we’re ready to take a look at the early portion of the Big 12 slate.
So far, I’ve got the Jayhawks with an 0-3 record after nonconference play and 0-7 overall after the first half of conference play.
Is David Beaty still the coach if this actually happens? That’s probably another article for another day. For now, let’s take a look at the final five games of the schedule.
If you thought the first half of the conference slate looked difficult, you ain’t seen nuthin’ yet.
Athlon Preseason Rank in Parenthesis (Kansas is 107 out of 130, and the worst P5 team):
vs TCU (24)
Over the past couple of years we’ve made a semi-big deal about how well KU has played TCU since the Frogs joined the Big 12. While not completely unfounded, the fact remains that KU has yet to beat TCU in Big 12 conference play, plus now we have to consider the 43-0 beatdown in 2017 on national television that saw KU gain just 21 yards of total offense. Gary Patterson has TCU rolling, and you can’t in good conscience think that the Jayhawks have much of a chance. TCU 45, Kansas 24
vs Iowa State (36)
Iowa State’s meteoric rise under Matt Campbell is projected by Athlon and S&P+ to continue in 2018, with both metrics ranking the Cyclones in the top 50 of FBS. Last year Iowa State surprised everyone by winning 8 games, including two against top-5 teams. ISU’s defense was what won games last year, and that defense kept the Jayhawks under 100 yards of total offense until late in the fourth quarter in 2017. Sure, we expect KU to be improved this year, but why wouldn’t we expect the same out of ISU? Maybe KU can ride the home “crowd” to a moral victory. Iowa State 38, Kansas 27
@ Kansas State (41)
KU still leads the all-time series with K-State by 20 games, but K-State has won the last nine in a row and 22 of the last 27, most of those by 30+ points. However, over the past two years the margin of victory for the Wildcats has been just 15 points in 2016 and 10 points in 2017.
What does that mean for 2018? Absolutely nothing. While KU has consistently recruited at a higher level than the Wildcats, it hasn’t mattered much over the past 25ish years. Even if KU manages to keep it close, what have you seen out of the Jayhawks under David Beaty that makes you think they’ll be able to pull it out? As long as the Wizard roams the sidelines in Manhattan, this game isn’t likely to be very close. Kansas State 41, Kansas 23
@ Oklahoma (10)
Despite losing Baker Mayfield and a host of other starters, once again, the Sooners look to simply reload in 2018. While KU actually harassed Mayfield into probably his worst game of 2017, I wouldn’t look for a repeat in Norman this fall. Kyler Murray looks to be a stud QB who adds a running dimension to the offense that Mayfield really didn’t have. I’ll bet you that the KU players shake hands at the midfield coin toss this year, but that it won’t matter. Oklahoma 65, Kansas 17
vs Texas (20)
The last time Texas came to Lawrence, this happened. Will David Beaty manage to get his second FBS win against the Longhorns? Well, Tom Herman has Texas looking like a legit challenger to Oklahoma, assuming they can decide on a quarterback and offense takes a step forward. There is absolutely no way this game is even close as Texas tries to distance itself from the 2016 debacle. Texas 59, Kansas 20
Well, that wraps up David Beaty’s second winless season. KU only has three winless seasons in its entire history, and if this bears out then two of them will have come in the last four years. I hope I’m wrong on several of these predictions, but as I’ve mentioned several times throughout this series, only a fool (or someone drunk on the kool-aid) would predict the Jayhawks to pull any of these upsets. Could it happen? Sure. It’s happened before; after all, they don’t play these games on paper.
Don’t get me wrong, I’d love for David Beaty to surprise everyone and win six games this year. It just doesn’t seem very likely to happen, and I’m done drinking the kool-aid.