Spring football is over and we now all begin the countdown to the Big 12 Media Days, Fall Camps, and then, yes, the start of the 2018 college football season. So with that being said, let’s have some fun and take a look at the best-case and worst-case scenarios for every team in the Big 12 conference. We will start rolling these out throughout the month of May. Agree? Disagree? Don’t be afraid to let us know in the comments below!
We now take a closer look at the Kansas Jayhawks, who begin Year 4 under head coach David Beaty, and the program has won three, yes three games, during his tenure in Lawrence. Beaty was never going to be an X’s and O’s genius, but he was brought in to recruit well and improve the talent pool at KU. It’s debatable as to whether or not that has happened yet. So, let’s take a look at the scenarios for KU.
2018 Kansas Jayhawks: Worst-Case Scenario
So, when the Jayhawks wrapped up a 3-9 season in 2014, who would’ve thought it’d only get worse from there? Well, it did, as KU has gone 0-12, 2-10 and 1-11 since on David Beaty’s watch. As we look ahead to 2018, the program doesn’t have the fire that Beaty brought a few years ago when he was fresh and not worn down by being apart of Kansas football. Even by Beaty’s standards, a very optimistic guy, the losing starts to get to him. The Jayhawks still don’t find an answer at quarterback, with Miles Kendrick, the JUCO transfer, not proving to be any better than the disappointing duo of Peyton Bender and Carter Stanley. A swiss-cheese offensive line doesn’t allow solid offensive weapons like Khalil Herbert and Steven Sims to flourish.
Defensively, the loss of Dorance Armstrong hurts the unit. Teams begin to focus on Daniel Wise, who broke out last season since it was Armstrong who was drawing the double teams. Joe Dineen remains productive, but he ends up being more of an accumulator on a bad team more than anything else. The secondary, led by Mike Lee, continues to have massive holes in it, as the unit is demoralized by being on a team that is averaging one win person season the past three years, and can’t catch its breath because of an offense that keeps going three and out.
KU loses its opener to Nicholls State, the easiest game on the schedule, and the snowball only continues from there. With the Big 12 having so much depth a parity, the Jayhawks go winless, finishing 0-12, and David Beaty is shown the door.
2018 Kansas Jayhawks: Best-Case Scenario
Well, many KU fans will argue the worst-case scenario has been happening in Lawrence for nearly a decade. This fall will mark ten years since Kansas has won more than one conference game in a season. That’s actually amazing when you think about it. But what if this is the year KU finally “puts it together”, whatever that actually means for the Jayhawks. Ideally, JUCO QB Miles Kendrick, a transfer from College of San Mateo, and adds an element to the KU offense that it did not have under Peyton Bender and Carter Stanley: dual-threat potential. Last season, Kendrick rushed for over 400 yards and five touchdowns. Plus, another year in the program for WR Steven Sims and RB Khalil Herbert allows them to flourish even further, while the offensive line slowly improves as well.
Defensively, Joe Dineen becomes the most productive linebacker in the Big 12 and brings an added element of leadership to the program that is severely lacking, while a defensive line of Daniel Wise and KeyShaun Simmons helps hold steady a unit that loses Dorance Armstrong to the NFL. The secondary, headlined by Mike Lee and Bryce Torneden matures from 2017 and becomes serviceable enough to hang with the explosive Big 12 offenses.
In a best-case scenario, KU is able to go 3-0 in non-conference play against Nicholls State, Central Michigan and Rutgers. Then, the Jayhawks are able to squeeze out a win over Baylor in Waco, plus shock another team at home: either Oklahoma State, TCU, Iowa State or Texas. Crazy? Probably. But there’s a reason we call it the best-case scenario, which is 5-7 for the Kansas Jayhawks.