Obviously, the best case scenario is 12-0 and a spot in the College Football Playoff. But we’ll strive for a little more realism here. What is a logical ceiling for the 2018 Jayhawks?
Of course, everything would have to go right. Injuries would have to be few and far between. The offensive line would have to
drastically significantly improve. Someone needs to step up and seize the starting QB job. The junior college transfers on defense need to immediately contribute. A couple of receivers have to step up alongside Steven Sims. Coaches need to be a little more imaginative - and aggressive - on fourth down.
That’s a lot of ifs.
I’ve already gone through and offered up short previews and a prediction for every game so far - the noncons, first half, and second half Big 12 play. My official prediction for the season is “Under 3 wins.”
But let’s have some kool aid.
Kansas goes out and handles a solid Nicholls State squad by a 45-17 score. The running game opens up the offense, but most importantly gives the KU defense plenty of rest. We at RCT are cautiously optimistic (1-0).
KU then heads to Central Michigan and avenges last year’s discouraging home loss to the Chippewas, breaking an NCAA record 46 game road losing streak. Once again, the offense is sparked by Khalil Herbert, and KU keeps CMU at arms length and pulls out a 31-20 affair (2-0).
Rutgers comes in and a puts up a fight, but for the first time under David Beaty, Kansas is tougher than its opponent and comes away with a 24-23 win. KU is 3-0 for the first time since 2009 (3-0).
Big 12 Play
Kansas takes some newfound swagger and its core of upperclassmen to Baylor and surprises a young Baylor squad, putting up a legitimately surprising 41-28 win (4-0). KU then returns to Lawrence for Homecoming, where a nearly full Memorial Stadium greets the Jayhawks. The veteran Jayhawks are able to disrupt a young Oklahoma State squad just enough to ride the home crowd to a thrilling 48-45 triumph (5-0).
A road trip to West Virginia doesn’t go as hoped, however, as the Mountaineers take a good punch from Kansas but hold on for a 44-30 victory (5-1). Kansas heads to Lubbock looking to qualify for its first bowl game since 2008 and manages to catch a Red Raider squad that has yet to figure it all out on offense, winning an intense 31-30 affair (6-1).
By the time TCU arrives in Lawrence, the game has been sold out for over a week. The Jayhawks still can’t figure out Gary Patterson’s defense, however, and fall by a 20-10 score (6-2). Iowa State comes to town next, and when Kansas is able to stymie David Montgomery, the Cyclones can’t anything going in the passing game and Kansas takes a 31-17 decision (7-2).
A road trip to Manhattan ends in disappointment yet again, but at least this time the Jayhawks put some fear into the purple, falling by a 27-24 count (7-3). Bill Snyder retires following the game and Sean Snyder is given an unbreakable 10-year contract.
The following weekend, once again Kansas hangs with Oklahoma for a half but just can’t deal with the Sooners, and KU takes a 41-17 loss (7-4). Kansas fans hoping for a repeat of 2016 when Texas comes to town on the final weekend of the regular season go back to their turkey leftovers disappointed, as the Longhorns capably handle the Jayhawks in a 48-28 contest (7-5).
Kansas prepares for the Liberty Bowl while rumors swirl about David Beaty’s future. Josh Heupel has just led Central Florida to another 12-0 season, but takes the head coaching job at Michigan after Jim Harbaugh leads the Wolverines through another disappointing 8-5 campaign with yet another loss to Ohio State. UCF AD Danny White announces in a tweet that David Beaty is the next coach of the Knights while saying how much he’s always wanted to work with him.
At least, that’s what I’ve been told.