We’ve reached the point of the offseason where preseason magazines start to trickle out onto grocery store shelves and in .PDF format on Twitter and everywhere else you find your college football content.
One of the mainstays of the preseason magazine world, Athlon Sports, has long had a segment during this part of the season when they ask coaches, anonymously, about other coaches in their league.
The Kansas Jayhawks are one of the up-and-coming teams in the Big 12 in 2023 under head coach Lance Leipold, and according to one anonymous Big 12 coach, the Jayhawks are an unpredictable factor in the league.
“What Lance [Leipold] showed last year is that they’re going to raise the floor to being a really hard team to shut down and to scheme for, and then if they can keep recruiting and developing, the ceiling is a lot higher than we thought for Kansas. … They’re a wildcard this season. They’re still not particularly talented, but they’re so creative on offense that it compensates in a lot of places. It’s a lot of work pre-snap and with formations, and they’re very disciplined in how they do it.”
From where I stand, the overall feel for the report is that Lance Leipold has an opportunity to steer the ship to championship waters, or head back to middle-of-the-pack shores. The Jayhawks took a major step forward in 2022 finishing 6-7 overall, with a conference record of 3-6, good for eighth place in the Big 12. While those numbers might normally be a down season for some programs, the Jayhawks finished their season off with their first bowl appearance since the 2008 season.
Lance Leipold has been a wizard this offseason landing incoming freshmen left and right since Kansas’ turnaround season, and while it may be a little early to start banging the drum for the Jayhawks to win a Big 12 title, the possibility is there. Kansas’ potential to win the conference as a dark-horse candidate is something that some may roll their eyes at, but with the right coaching staff in Lawrence, a big season is just a few stops away.