In looking at the results from last season, when Kansas went 0-12 in David Beaty’s first season as a head coach, just winning a handful of games would be extremely promising for the fan base. There is no doubt in my mind that this Kansas team will be more talented than last season’s winless team, but will it really make much of a difference in winning games this year? Nationally, the bar is set extremely low for this KU team, as Vegas puts the over/under for wins at 1 ½ . Let’s break down the Jayhawk’s schedule and see if taking the over or under would be a wise bet.
Rhode Island- Kansas will host an FCS team that went 1-10 last season. The Jayhawks are on a historically bad 15-game losing streak, but it will end in week one when the Jayhawks blow out a bad Rams team in dominant fashion. Fresh faces on the offensive line and a new look receiving corps prove that the Jayhawks can score this year. The defense has its’ struggles, but the defensive line and linebackers will put enough pressure on Ram’s quarterback Paul Mroz to force key turnovers and give the ball back to the Kansas offense.
Score Prediction: KU 41, RIU 21
Ohio- After a cupcake in week one, week two will be a very telling game. Winning this game against the Frank Solich coached Bobcat team would be monumental for the success of the Kansas football program. It sounds crazy saying that, but Ohio is a consistent bowl team, and winning games like this go a long ways in turning the program around. The Jayhawks will win this game and it will be looked at as an upset nationally. The defense is going to have a great game and shut down a very solid Bobcat offense, and sophomore quarterback Ryan Willis is going to have the best game of his young career to lead the Jayhawks to a narrow victory.
Score Prediction: KU 31, Ohio 28
@Memphis- KU has dropped 38 eight straight games on the road. THIRTY-EIGHT!!! Of all of the awful stats that you can find about the last seven terrible football seasons, to me, this is the worst. You cannot expect to be a solid football team without winning games away from home. In the third game of the season, the Jayhawks will have another chance to end the streak. While Memphis lost head coach Justin Fuente to Virginia Tech and star quarterback Paxton Lynch to the NFL draft, the Tigers will still pose a very tough test for the Jayhawks. I believe that the Memphis offense will be too much for the Jayhawks, and they will extend the Jayhawks long road losing streak to 39.
Score Prediction: KU 17, Memphis 38
@Texas Tech- The Jayhawks will travel to Lubbock in a strange Thursday night road game. This is going to be a closer game than a lot of people think, but the Red Raiders’ offense is going to be too much for a young Kansas secondary. The Jayhawks will score some points and stay in it for a couple quarters, but in the end they will have lost their 40th straight road game.
Score Prediction: KU 21, TTU 49
TCU- The last few seasons, the Jayhawks have had opportunities to shock the nation and upset some great Horned Frog teams. After seeing a much more competitive Kansas team, the attendance will be much more respectable and fans will be excited to watch the Jayhawks get another chance to knock off this powerful TCU team, but TCU will have its way through the air against the Jayhawks, throwing for over 400 yards in a blowout.
Score Prediction: KU 17, TCU 56
@Baylor- Going to Waco will be another extremely tough test for the Jayhawks. Kansas will be excited to play and keep it competitive with the Bears in the first half, but the Bears will beat up on the KU defense in the second half.
Score Prediction: KU 16, BU 41
OSU- The Cowboys will come to Lawrence looking to dominate Kansas like they have done in the past. Kansas will be fired up early and take a small lead, but OSU will quickly fight back and show Kansas what good teams do on the road.
Score Prediction: KU 24, OSU 41
OU- Going to Norman will be the most difficult test of the season for the Jayhawks, and I don’t expect this game to be competitive after kickoff. The Sooners will be a top five team in the country and looking to show people why they are a playoff team, as they dominate KU from start to finish.
Score Prediction: KU 6, OU 52
@WVU- After being embarrassed in Norman, the Jayhawks will travel to Morgantown and have a chance to finally put an end to their historically bad road losing streak. KU will be competitive all game, but will not be able to get the Mountaineers off of the field down the stretch. West Virginia will beat the Jayhawks by dominating in the fourth quarter.
Score Prediction: KU 27, WVU 38
ISU- The Cyclones will come to Lawrence in a similar position as the Jayhawks in the first year of new head coach Matt Campbell. Iowa State is further ahead of the Jayhawks, with weapons like running back Mike Warren and wide receiver Allen Lazard on the offensive side of the ball. While this is the case, the young Jayhawks are going to pull off an upset at home with a great all-around team effort. The defense is going to force a few key turnovers and the offense is going to score just enough points to win this game in exciting fashion.
Score Prediction: KU 24, ISU 21
UT- In looking at Kansas’ schedule, this is one of the more interesting games of the season. The Longhorns are likely going to have a lot to play for at this point in the season, but the Jayhawks are going to make the Longhorns work for this win. In the end, I believe we will see Texas pulling out a tough fought road win. The Longhorns will mostly run the ball and force a Kansas team without a lot of depth on the defensive line to make plays. With this attack, the KU defense will get worn out.
Score Prediction: KU 17, UT 27
@KSU- The “Sunflower Showdown” will be in Manhattan this year, which means it could get very ugly for the Jayhawks. Coach Beaty has often talked about the importance of being the best team in the state, but as of right now, Bill Snyder and the Wildcats are clearly the best team in Kansas. In a game that will be packed with loud KSU fans, the Jayhawks will be rattled and this game may never be competitive.
Score Prediction: KU 10, KSU 35
While I have KU going 3-9 this season, which would be a massive improvement from the past few years. There will still be a major difference in talent when comparing KU to the top half of the Big 12, but I believe Kansas will be much more competitive this season. As a Kansas fan, you should judge this team more on making strides for the future than immediate success (win/loss record). This cannot be a bowl team, but they absolutely can be a more competitive team.