The University of Kansas is coming off their best football season in nearly 15 years. The Jayhawks reached the six-win mark and were invited to a bowl game for the first time since 2008. Lance Leipold’s team is on the rise, going from a two-win team to a six-win team, and now there are bigger expectations heading into year three. With over 90% of the offensive production and over 80% of the defensive production returning, there are reasons to be excited about Kansas football in 2023. Let’s take a look at the schedule and see how things could shake out.
Missouri State at Kansas (Sep. 1)
The Jayhawks shouldn’t have any issue getting their first win of the season against a lower-division squad from just across their bordering state to the right. In years past this may be a game that would have Jayhawk fans nervous about being embarrassed in week one, even if they squeaked out a win. There should be no nerves heading into this one. Jayhawks roll.
Kansas 49, Missouri State 10
Illinois at Kansas (Sep. 8)
Kansas will be riding high after a win over Missouri State in week one. Illinois surprised a lot of people last year, finishing second place in the Big 10 West with a 5-4 conference record and 8-5 record overall. In years past, it would be easy to chalk this one up as a loss for KU. However, in 2023, things are looking up for the Jayhawks. In a home game that will likely sell out at David Booth Kansas Memorial Stadium, I expect Kansas to jump out and gain momentum early and hold on in the fourth quarter when the Illini try to mount a comeback.
Kansas 42, Illinois 31
Kansas at Nevada (Sep. 16)
KU takes their first road trip of the season to face Nevada, a team that finished their 2022 campaign on a 10-game losing streak and finishing last place in the Mountain West. The Wolfpack will be looking to turn things around this season, but I wouldn’t expect that to happen against an energized Jayhawk squad that is on a roll to start the season.
Kansas 55, Nevada 20
BYU at Kansas (Sep. 23)
The first conference game of the season comes against a brand new Big 12 opponent. BYU will make their way to Lawrence, Kansas in what should be a really good game between two solid teams. We will know more about BYU after their week three trip to Arkansas, but this should be a close game that could come down to the final possession. Since KU gets the Cougars at home, I’m giving the Jayhawks the edge.
Kansas 27, BYU 24
Kansas at Texas (Sep. 30)
This will be a tough game for the Jayhawks. After getting blown out at home in last year’s game against the Longhorns, it seems like a tough ask to get a win on the road against a team that is projected to be a College Football Playoff contender. I’d love to see an upset but for the time being, Texas gets the edge in this one.
Texas 38, Kansas 24
UCF at Kansas (Oct. 7)
Another newcomer to the Big 12 will be visiting Lawrence, Kansas. UCF is coming off a solid season in which they made their way to the AAC Championship game. UCF lost 30-14 in their bowl game against Duke, a team Kansas beat last season in September. Jalon Daniels vs. John Rys Plumlee could be the best dual-threat quarterback matchup in college football this season. I’m expecting a lot of offense in this one, but the Jayhawks should be able to come out on top.
Kansas 41, UCF 30
Kansas at Oklahoma State (Oct. 14)
Could the Jayhawks win back-to-back games against the Cowboys? Last season’s win came as a bit of a surprise to many, but Kansas won’t be surprising teams this season. Even though it is on the road, KU is good enough to handle business in what should be another great game. However, Oklahoma State will be coming in with revenge on the mind and will pull out the win.
Oklahoma State 33, Kansas 27
Oklahoma at Kansas (Oct. 28)
The Jayhawks will have an uphill battle, facing a Sooners team they haven’t defeated since 1997. Last year they played the Sooners tough in a 52-42 loss in Norman. This was one of the games Jalon Daniels was not available for and Jason Bean played well but did have some costly turnovers. This year, behind Daniels at David Booth Kansas Memorial Stadium and coming off a bye week, the Jayhawks should be able to pull off the upset and send the Sooners packing for the SEC in a stunner.
Kansas 45, Oklahoma 42
Kansas at Iowa State (Nov. 4)
Iowa State’s program is crumbling after a down year last season along with the offseason distractions of the sports betting scandal. This could be a trap game for KU as the Jayhawks are riding high off a big win the prior week, but I’d expect Leipold and Company to sneak out of Ames with a hard-fought win.
Kansas 24, Iowa State 13
Texas Tech at Kansas (Nov. 11)
Tech will be coming off an emotional game against TCU. They will have a couple extra days to prepare for the Jayhawks since that is a Thursday night game. That could give the Red Raiders an advantage, but the Jayhawks will be ready to show up and fight on their home turf. I could see this being an instant classic with KU winning on a late field goal.
Kansas 37, Texas Tech 34
Kansas State at Kansas (Nov. 18)
The Jayhawks will be hungry to get a win against their in-state rival. The Sunflower Showdown needs to see a Kansas win to get this rivalry back on track. This year, Kansas has the best chance to get their first win over the Wildcats since 2008. We’ll call this the Sean Snyder revenge game as Kansas pulls off the upset on Senior Day.
Kansas 34, Kansas State 31
Kansas at Cincinnati (Nov. 25)
With a Big 12 title game spot on the line for Kansas, Cincinnati wants to play spoiler. The Jayhawks will come out a little too amped up and lose the turnover battle which will make for a big disappointment by the end of the game as the Bearcats pull off the stunner over a Top-20 Kansas team.
Cincinnati 30, Kansas 24
Bowl Game: Pop-Tarts Bowl, Kansas vs. North Carolina
The Kansas Jayhawks and North Carolina Tar Heels are typically known for being blue bloods in the basketball world, but this would be a rare matchup between the two teams in football. It would also be a rare football season when both teams are vying for double-digit wins. This would be a game featuring a lot of offense and I believe the Jayhawks would be motivated to come out on top in this one after falling just short of a bowl win in 2022. Give KU their first bowl win and double-digit win season in 15 years!
Kansas 45, North Carolina 38
This is an optimistic outlook for the Kansas football season. Most people have Kansas winning anywhere from 5-8 games. However, with the entire staff back intact, 91% of the offensive production, and 80% of their defensive production returning (including a potential Heisman Trophy candidate) and a buzz around the program, this could be a special season for the Jayhawks. Under Lance Leipold in year one, the Jayhawks won two games. In year two, KU won six games. In year three, making another four-game leap and getting to 10 wins isn’t impossible. Dream big, Kansas fans!