The Kansas Jayhawks are coming off a horrific 0-12 campaign in 2015. The Jayhawks were historically bad last year. They managed just 15.3 ppg on the offensive side of the ball, while giving up a staggering 46.1 ppg.
The closest they came to a win was in their opener against FCS foe South Dakota State. Which they lost 38-41. Their average loss inside Big 12 play was by 36.0 ppg.
Not exactly how first year head coach David Beaty wanted to start things out. Though it was to be expected. Kansas had just 5 returning starters and were coming off a 3-9 season in 2014.
While the Jayhawks figure to be greatly improved over the team that took the field in 2015, they have a long way to go. Chances are it will be another long season, though they should be able to win at least 1 game.
|Date||Opponent||Spread (Est.)||Win Chance|
|9/29||@ Texas Tech|
|11/5||@ West Virginia|
|11/26||@ Kansas State|
|Estimated Wins: TBD|
Kanas will have a great shot at topping last year’s win total in the opener. They kicks things off by hosting Rhode Island, where they are currently favored by 29 points.
The finish up non-conference play at home against Ohio and on the road against Memphis. I could see them potentially pulling off the upset against the Bobcats and starting out 2-0.
Things get a lot tougher in conference play. Kansas has to play 5 of their 9 Big 12 games on the road. The only real favorable matchup is at home against Iowa State. The only concern there is it comes late in the season and their spirits could be crushed by that point.
Last year Kansas had to turn to true freshman Ryan Willis much earlier than they had hoped. Beaty was on record saying that Willis wasn’t ready, but injuries forced him to start the final 8.
That may end up being a blessing, as Willis should benefit greatly from the experience. He’s the frontrunner to start over junior Montell Cozart, who started the first 5 games last year.
One big change coming on offense is Beaty will call his own plays this year. A duty that he’s taking over from offensive coordinator Rob Likens. Beaty will be bringing the “Air Raid” offense over from Texas A&M.
At wide receiver, Kansas has two more sophomores back who played key roles as true freshmen. Those being Tyler Patrick and Steven Sims. Both hauled in 30 passes with two touchdowns last year. Added to the mix will be Texas A&M transfer LaQuvionte Gonzalez.
At running back the Jayhawks will lean heavily on senior Ke’Aun Kinner. He led team last year with just 566 yards and 5 touchdowns. Sophomore Taylor Martin and junior James Sullivan will also be in the mix.
The key to the offense taking a big step forward is improved play up front on the offensive line. Kansas gets back 5 with starting experience and should be much better in year two of the new system. With that said, this is still one of the weaker units in the Big 12.
The Jayhawks were used and abused on the defensive side of the ball last year. Giving up 50+ points on five different occasions. Would have been even worse had teams not called off the dogs in the 2nd half.
With 8 starters coming back and more familiarity with the scheme, they should be better. However, it’s still likely going to be one of the worst defenses in the country. All 3 levels of the stop unit rank in the bottom 3 in terms of talent in the Big 12.
Opposing teams simply did whatever they pleased last year. The Jayhawks gave up 267 ypg on the ground and 294 ypg through the air.
The key to turning things around starts up front on the defensive line. They have two talented sophomores returning who impressed last year. Those being end Dorance Armstrong and tackle Daniel Wise. They also add in juco transfer Isi Holani at tackle and he figures to start right away.
Senior Marquis Roberts and junior Joe Dineen both return at linebacker. The duo combined for 157 tackles and 4 sacks last year. These two are being counted on to lead this unit and play at a very high level. Both should benefit from a much stronger front four.
The secondary is led by senior safety Fish Smithson, who is one of the best at his position in the Big 12. Smithson led the team with 111 tackles and also had 2 interceptions. Also back are sophomore safety Tyrone Miller, and senior corners Tevin Shaw and Brandon Stewart.
Regular Season Win Total
Big 12 Championship Odds
National Championship Odds
Odds Courtesy of 5Dimes
As you can see, I think the improvements over last year will be limited. I have Kansas taking down Rhode Island and pulling off an upset at home against Iowa State. I could see them maybe pulling off 1-2 more wins, but I think 2-10 would be a nice step in the right direction.
While I don’t think the Jayhawks will rack up many victories, this could be a great team to bet on. At least in terms of covering the spread. After how bad this team was last year, no one is going to want anything to do with this team.
The thing to keep in mind is that this year’s squad would likely be favored by 10+ points over last year’s team. At the same time, opposing teams will have a difficult time taking them seriously. Especially if they are coming off a big game or have a big matchup on deck.
Big 12 Record
Win Total Prediction