It’s time for another edition of the RCT Roundtable! With just a couple of days until the start of the 2020 season, let’s talk some football with the guys. Take a look at our responses, and feel free to add to the discussion in the comments below.
Well let’s just start this one off with a bang. What is your prediction for the record for this season? Assume the team plays all 10 games currently scheduled.
Andy: I’m going to be completely irrational and say 4-6. I think they win the season opener against Coastal Carolina, surprise a Baylor team that’s still trying to figure things out, get Tom Herman fired by beating Texas, and then finish up beating Texas Tech in another barn burner.
dnoll5: 0-0. There isn’t going to be a season. If there is, I see no way that they’ll finish it.
Mike: Dammit, dnoll, did you even read the question? I’ll say 2-8. We’ll get revenge on Coastal and pick off a Big 12 team. Anyone predicting more than two wins has some really special kool-aid.
Brendan: I’m with Mike, I think two is the number. I think Coastal is one and I’ll pick West Virginia as the token Big 12 win, but I think it’s going to be fairly rough outside of that. Maybe KU gets lucky and steals one from Texas Tech again? I wouldn’t predict it but we could all use some optimism. I support Andy going all in, though, I like the moxie.
Kyle: Yeah, I could see three wins if we see a team get hit hard with positive COVID cases and KU happens to get someone like WVU or KSU when missing three or four important guys. This could easily happen—which is why predicting anything with this season is virtually impossible—but I’m not quite to Andy’s four-win level of confidence. Otherwise, two is the most likely outcome.
Fizzle406: I think all 10 games are played and Kansas wins 2.
David: I’ll go with 1-9. They could certainly sneak up on a team or two like we did to Tech last year, but my guess is we beat Coastal Carolina and go 0 for the Big 12. We lost multiple important players from last year’s 3-9 team, and this year we have a question mark at QB. That doesn’t give me much confidence.
Jeff Long has now completed two full calendar years as the KU AD. Give him a grade, A through F, and tell us why you feel that way.
Andy: C. From telling fans that it’s their fault KU Football sucks (basically) to bungling the Late Night situation, there’s a lot to not like about what Long has done. But I have to give him credit for hiring Les Miles, which has worked out so far as well as you can hope. Add in the defiant stance the athletic department is taking on the NOA, and it seems like the biggest things are at least headed in the right direction.
Brendan: I’m going with a C-. I think he’s done a below-average job overall, but a couple bright spots do stand out. I don’t know what Miles can accomplish long-term - hopefully it’s positive compared to recent history - but if nothing else he brings an excitement that we haven’t felt around the program in some time and that deserves props. And I love the creation of Kansas Team Health, I think that’s awesome for the athletes, so credit to Long for whatever his role in that was. Everything else... I’m pretty down about, truthfully.
Kyle: I’m with Brendan that I think it’s a C-. He’s not failing, but there are too many mistakes and too much sloppiness. We have yet to mention the Beaty legal situation where the department ended up paying nearly $500K in legal fees just to come to a $2.55M settlement over Beaty’s remaining $3M in salary. Add in some of Andy’s points above and KU has become a source of criticism and jokes in situations where that could been avoided; the judgment has felt suspect.
Mike: From calling out fans as Andy mentioned, to bungling the Beaty settlement, to declaring Gassnola a booster, to calling Dairy Queen a “locally-owned business,” to surrendering to Missouri, I’m not sure Long is fit the be the AD of a D3 school, let alone a Power-5 institution. About the only good thing he’s done has been to bring in Les Miles, who is at the very least a name in the coaching community that brings some respectability to a downtrodden program.
Remember that his contract - the second highest annual salary in the Big 12 - gets extended equivalent to any sanctions the basketball or football programs encounter, so what’s his incentive there? It’s an easy D for me. After a good first impression, he’s become more and more of a Twitter troll, and I for one look forward to the end of the Jeff Long era at Kansas.
Brendan: I had almost blocked out the DQ nonsense. What the hell, Jeff.
David: The biggest thing he’s done is hire a football coach he already had a long history with. As more has come out, it’s clear he never really even conducted much of a search. Miles may work out, but it’s tough to credit Long with any success Miles has because he basically just gave the job to the one guy he was already expected to.
Outside of that, as others have mentioned, he’s been a PR disaster, he reignited a rivalry that fans and donors for years expressed no interest in starting up again, and he’s a jerk to our own fans on Twitter. He’s been an F hire and if we could get rid of him today I’d be on board.
Mike: Mark it down folks, September 9, 2020 - the day Mike and David completely agreed on something!
Who do you think will be the starting quarterback for KU vs Coastal Carolina?
Andy: I know Mike disagrees with me, but I still feel like it will be Miles Kendrick. He just seems to have the tools that Brent Dearmon wants in his QB. But the automatic extra year of eligibility throws another wrinkle into the plan. Do you let Jalon Daniels start, knowing that he can work through whatever he needs to without wasting a year anymore? Can’t say I would blame the coaches if they went that direction.
Mike: If anything, I would think the extra year of eligibility benefits Thomas MacVittie. Having a senior starter at QB for two years? Yes, please. MacVittie was so highly regarded coming out of high school and then JUCO that I think you have to give him a chance. I think it will be MacVittie, but I honestly think either of the upperclassmen (MacVitte, Kendrick) will be fine in a Brent Dearmon offense.
Brendan: I really want to see Kendrick operating a run-heavy scheme under Dearmon; I think the potential there is a lot of fun. Then again, MacVittie is a good athlete and if he’s a better thrower I have to imagine he gets an edge from the jump. My personal preference, though, is Daniels. He’s smart, a hell of an athlete, and frankly, for me personally, it’s just the most exciting option. Not worrying about the year of eligibility is a bonus.
Kyle: It feels like a two-man race between MacVittie and Kendrick. MacVitte getting beaten out by Carter Stanley looks different and less shocking after seeing how Stanley performed last season. I go back and forth on my personal preference for who should get the nod, but the question is who we think Miles and Dearmon will go with, and I’m going to go with MacVittie. How long of a leash he’ll have is a different question.
David: It has to be MacVittie. If he doesn’t start it’s a de facto admission that Miles’ big QB recruit in his first class was a dud. Since he essentially recruited him heavily twice, it wouldn’t speak well to his ability to evaluate QBs.
Also, while we never saw much of Miles Kendrick two years ago, what we did see was totally uninspiring. For a “dual threat” QB he’s pretty damn slow, and nothing I read about him in the offseason articles that year suggested his arm was anything impressive. Plus, last year he couldn’t crack the depth chart despite MacVittie’s apparent struggles and was just never in the QB conversation. Since there’s been no real talk of Jalon Daniels getting reps, I assume we’ll see MacVittie. If he fails, it seems like Kendrick by default.