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37 Days Until Kansas Football: What if Kansas were in the Big 10?

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Forget everything, basketball included: What if KU were in the Big 10?

Kansas v Rutgers Photo by Alex Goodlett/Getty Images

We’ve gone through all the Group of 5 conferences, and it’s been a rather depressing look at the current state of Kansas football. Is there any hope for the Jayhawks in one of these watered-down megaconferences? I’m interested to take a look.

As always, we’ll use the F+ ratings available at FootballOutsiders.com. If you read up, the two components of F+ (S&P+ and FEI) both adjust for opponents and strength of schedule, so this should theoretically give us a pretty good idea of how well Kansas would fare outside of the Big 12.

For 2018, the Big 10 will be a 14-team league divided into two divisions, obviously with a conference title game at the end. As usual, we’ll do our best to ignore the divisions for this exercise.

Kansas in the B10

School 2017 2016 2015 2014 2013
School 2017 2016 2015 2014 2013
KANSAS 123 108 127 99 101
Indiana 55 60 61 88 56
Maryland 107 96 76 62 63
Michigan 30 4 8 54 37
Michigan State 23 62 9 11 6
Ohio State 3 3 3 1 9
Penn State 5 10 47 45 61
Rutgers 113 117 101 81 91
Illinois 119 103 65 78 71
Iowa 31 37 38 63 29
Minnesota 93 42 55 37 55
Nebraska 101 55 36 30 39
Northwestern 42 45 52 71 59
Purdue 34 110 93 84 114
Wisconsin 7 9 32 25 19

By the numbers, if KU was in the Big 10, they would have three conference wins over the last five seasons. Sure, Illinois, Purdue, and Rutgers have been bad, but not Kansas bad, and that’s pretty sobering.

KU hasn’t had a lot of head-to-head matchups with the Big 10 (after all, they prefer to lose to MAC schools). In fact, the only matchup over the past five years was in 2015, when Kansas (127) traveled to Rutgers (101) and lost a 27-14 affair that the Jayhawks never really threatened to win. Prior to that you have to go all the way back to the 2008 Insight Bowl, where Kansas (28) mauled Minnesota (67), 42-21.

It is kinda hilarious to see Nebraska in triple figures there in 2017, but overall, it looks like the Jayhawks would struggle just as much in the Big 10 as they current are in the Big 12.