As we reach the end of our series, the staff takes a look and shares our predictions for this coming season.
Tim: This is where I have to fight my KU football instincts of defeatism. I think the typical response to this is “well, the team may be better than last season, but their record may not be any better”. I think KU is better and I believe their record will show it. I am taking the over on 2.5 total wins and I think they spend a large part of their season looking for a victory that will double their total from last season, and maybe have a shot at a fifth. How do they get there?
No surprise, KU wins the opener against Tennessee Tech. They will then win three of these four games, West Virginia, Duke, Iowa State, and Texas Tech. West Virginia has a new talented quarterback now on this third school and a new offensive coordinator that thrived at North Texas and flailed at USC. They will be coming off a big rivalry game in week 1 against Pitt. I think this will be a great opportunity for KU to win a second road conference game in the Liepold era. They then get the return match-up with Duke. Though the Jayhawks have up 52 points last season, they were leading at halftime 24-21. KU is better this year and this game is at home. I think this is a win for the Hawks. So before the end of September, I think you will be able to cash your ticket for KU over on the season win total .
With the beginning of October the hunt will be on for victory number four, and then maybe five. On October 1st, Iowa State comes to Lawrence and the Jayhawks’ first chance at winning number four. I know Iowa State destroyed KU last season, but that team does not exist anymore. Iowa State is in full rebuild mode having lost 60% of the team production from last season, putting the almost last (128th) among all of division I college football in that category. Will KU win this game, I am not sure, but I think the chances are better than they have been in recent history. If KU is unable to beat Iowa State their next chance is TCU at home. I think this is a tough one and am not expecting a victory here. After that, it is a proven tough stretch with OU at Norman, Baylor at Waco, and Oklahoma State in Lawrence. I do not see any wins in late October or the first weekend of November.
Will KU still be looking for their fourth victory after that stretch? If they are Texas Tech in Lubbock and Texas in Lawrence are next up on the schedule. Can they win one of these two, I don’t think Texas is going to lose again to KU, if they do, Steve Sarkisian is done in Austin. So Texas Tech on the road is the best and probably the last chance for a victory this season. Similar to the Iowa State game, I put this in the maybe category, but this will be tougher than the Cyclone game. That leaves K-State in Manhattan. Until proven otherwise I will put a game in Manhattan on the football field in the loss column for KU.
So bet the over on the season win total, and be ready to cash your ticket in early October. You can then spend the last two months of the season bragging about your shrewd bet and cheering for a fourth and maybe fifth win while shielding your eyes from the rays of a bright future on the horizon for KU football.
David: I think 3-9 is very much in play, and maaaybe 4-8 if things really go well. But I’m not buying into the kool-aid quite enough to pick the team higher than 2-10. They have a brutal schedule, and assuming they beat Tennessee Tech and Duke, they’re still left trying to win a league game or two. And while I really think there are reasons to be optimistic, I’m not ready to just call Duke a win. So I guess the short answer is 2-10, but with 3-4 wins quite a bit more likely than 0-1
Fizzle: It’s fall, the seasons are changing. Days are becoming cooler and with all the excitement of school restarting and summer ending, its really hard not to be optimistic about KU football. Typically I hope to go 2 for 3 in the noncon and then steal one conference win. Last season exceeded expectations with the win over Texas. This year I think we could expand on that but we have a tough schedule. Tennessee Tech should be an easy one but Duke is tough and Houston is gonna be rough. As much as I want to say 4-8, I think 3-9 is more realistic.