Kansas Jayhawks

ESPN FPI: Kansas has better chance to beat West Virginia, Texas Tech than Iowa State

NCAA Football: Kansas at Baylor

The Kansas Jayhawks may only have one Big 12 win over the past two seasons (hook ’em), but the ESPN FPI is as high on the Jayhawks as they possibly could be.

What is the FPI? It’s called Football Power Index (FPI) and is defined as “a measure of team strength that is meant to be the best predictor of a team’s performance.”

When looking at the Kansas Jayhawks, their chance of victory, for every game, based on a percentage: SEMO (91), Central Michigan (49.8), at Ohio (35.5), West Virginia (21.9), Texas Tech (26.7), at Iowa State (19.7), at TCU (3.8), Kansas State (12.4), Baylor (14.5), at Texas (5.2), Oklahoma (2.5), at Oklahoma State (5.5).

The shocker here? That the Texas Tech Red Raiders are the Big 12 team ESPN FPI believes Kansas has the best chance to beat.

Granted, the Texas Tech game is at home, while Iowa State is on the road, so I get the slight edge there. But this is more damning for Texas Tech than it is good news for Iowa State. It’s becoming more obvious that Kliff Kingsbury and the Red Raiders could find themselves in the bottom 2 of the Big 12 conference standings this fall.

While Kansas and Iowa State are clearly still in the bottom third of the Big 12 conference, they are both rapidly improving. It’s a long road out of the basement for both, but there’s reason for optimism behind David Beaty and Matt Campbell.

On the flip side, Texas Tech feels stale. Kliff Kingsbury is relying on his offense remaining high octane under Nic Shimonek, while hoping a bunch of junior college players can patch together a defense that shows some signs of respectability. That has yet to happen under Kingsbury in Lubbock.

Another interesting side note in ESPN FPI numbers behind Kansas is that they believe the Jayhawks have a better chance at beating the West Virginia Mountaineers than the Iowa State Cyclones and Baylor Bears. As noted earlier, the Iowa State game is on the road, which naturally makes a game tougher to win. But both West Virginia and Baylor are home games for Kansas. How does this make any sense?

The Mountaineers are coming off a 10-win season and could very well reach that mark again this year thanks to Will Grier at quarterback, great backfield weapons, a solid WR corps, and a defense that may have a lot of new starters, but is loaded with talent. Meantime, Matt Rhule has a massive rebuilding job in Waco and a totally depleted offensive line.

Tell me again how or why the Bears are much more likely to beat Kansas than West Virginia?

The only thing I can think is that the Baylor game is later in the year and a team like Kansas will be much more worn down by November than in September. Eh, still doesn’t make sense.

I don’t get this one. Does anyone else?

Regardless, things are looking up in Lawrence.

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