The 2021 season for the Kansas Jayhawks is finally here, as they welcome in the South Dakota Coyotes (KIGH-otes) tonight to David Booth Kansas Memorial Stadium. Will the Jayhawks start Lance Leipold’s tenure off with a win?
Take a look at what our staff thinks, and then leave your own prediction in the comments below!
Kyle_Davis21: I would expect some kinks and sloppiness early, but what I want to see from Kansas most of all to start the Leipold era is competence. To look like there was some sort of strategic game plan that made sense (even if the execution is rough to start). To make the right decision when it comes to clock management and 4th-and-short situations. To see that the players have bought into a philosophy and glimpses of how it could work. If Kansas is competent, then this is a win. Kansas 35, South Dakota 21
dnoll5: I agree with Kyle. Sloppiness is probably going to occur, and I really hope it doesn’t come back to bite Kansas. I don’t think it will, but then again, this is Kansas and no one really knows. On the plus side, I’m really excited to see how the Lance Leipold era starts, what his team style will look like against a real opponent, and if KU has the mentality to get through a tough situation. Bottom line, KU has better players and that will be the difference. Kansas 38, South Dakota 17.
David: This will surprise no one, but I’m keeping expectations very low to start. South Dakota returns 21 starters, including every lineman who started a game last year. KU is a young team, with a new coach, new system, and a lot of new players. The Jayhawks will certainly have a noticeable athletic advantage, but we’ve seen time and time again that it doesn’t necessarily matter when one team has their system down and the other one doesn’t. I expect the Leipold era to start with a home loss to an FCS school. It just wouldn’t be Kansas if it worked out any other way. South Dakota 27, Kansas 24
Mike.Plank: I’m already on the record from the preview as saying 34-14, and I think I’ll stick with that. David apparently forgets that just about everyone is returning 20+ starters this year due to the Covid waiver (excepting the transfer portal hurting/helping teams), so I’m not putting much stock into that. It seems like the weather could be a factor as well, which would slow down the USD passing attack and benefit the Kansas run game. I’m cautiously optimistic for competence. Kansas 34, South Dakota 14.
Fizzle: I’m optimistic to start the season. Surely we can beat South Dakota, a state mostly known for an ugly mountain, a motorcycle rally, and Wall Drug. Normally at this point in the prediction I’d say “If KU doesn’t win I’ll ______” but I’ve been a fan of Kansas football long enough to know I can’t make those kinds of promises. Kansas 41, South Dakota 20
Andy Mitts: Maybe I’m a hopeless optimist, but I just can’t see a way that this team and coaching staff allows the team to come out flat. Given that Kansas’ biggest question mark is matching up against the biggest defensive question mark for South Dakota, I think KU is in good shape. And the Kansas defense should be able to fluster a young SD quarterback. Kansas 38, South Dakota 17