Kansas Jayhawks

Look: Kansas Has Easiest Schedule Among Playoff Contenders in 2024

NCAA Football: Illinois at Kansas

In 2024, we will see the College Football Playoff expand from its traditional four-team format to 12-teams, broadening the term for what it means to be a “playoff contender.”

That term used to be reserved for a select group of programs, such as Georgia, Alabama, Michigan, or Ohio State. Now, any Power Four program that wins its conference will more often than not end up with a first-round bye and any teams who end the year in serious contention for a league championship will have a great shot to represent their school in the CFP.

One school that is particularly hopeful for what lies ahead is Kansas, who has seen its program truly resurrected under head coach Lance Leipold.

 

Just a few seasons ago, the Jayhawks were the laughingstock of college football. In fact, they were so bad that many felt they should just cut football and focus on being a basketball powerhouse.

However, that’s far from the truth entering 2024 as KU is coming off a nine-win season and looks the part of a Big 12 contender with Jalon Daniels and a host of skill talent returning around him. Daniels is among the best quarterbacks in the country when healthy, and his top three pass catchers, along with All-Big 12 running back Devin Neal, are back to help him put up big numbers.

Another reason folks in Lawrence are feeling so good about their chances at making a run this season is the schedule that KU has been gifted.

 

According to ESPN’s FPI, the Jayhawks have the No. 77 strength of schedule in the country, which ranks ahead of only Rutgers (No. 78), Virginia Tech (No. 79), and Syracuse (No. 82) among Power Four schools.

That is, by far, the easiest schedule of any team being considered a playoff contender in 2024.

Here’s a look at the slate, with each of KU’s opponents listed alongside their FPI rank ahead of the season.

DATEOPPONENTFPI RANKLOCATION
Aug. 29LindenwoodKansas City, KS
Sep. 7@ Illinois62Champaign, IL
Sep. 13UNLV86Kansas City, KS
Sep. 21@ West Virginia35Morgantown, WV
Sep. 28TCU30Kansas City, KS
Oct. 5@ Arizona State63Tempe, AZ
Oct. 12BYE
Oct. 19Houston78Kansas City, KS
Oct. 26@ Kansas State22Manhattan, KS
Nov. 2BYE
Nov. 9Iowa State47Kansas City, KS
Nov. 16@ BYU73Provo, UT
Nov. 23Colorado36Kansas City, KS
Nov. 30@ Baylor55Waco, TX

Kansas has no instances of back-to-back road games, faces just one team inside FPI’s Top 25 (Kansas State), and is the Big 12’s highest-ranked team, per FPI, entering the season.

If there were ever a year for KU to put things together and make a magical run, it’s 2024. 12-0 is legitimately on the table here, and a Big 12 Championship run is in the cards. If they can make that run, the Jayhawks will be one of the four teams with a first-round bye in the Playoff.

(Can you imagine the storylines for that one?)

The Jayhawks begin their season against FCS opponent Lindenwood on Thursday, August 29, at Children’s Mercy Park in Kansas City, Kansas.

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