Originally published July 18, 2013 at 10:45a.m., updated July 18, 2013 at 11:35p.m.
It’s been four full seasons since the Kansas University football team finished anywhere but the Big 12 Conference basement, and the media members who cover the conference are banking on it becoming five.
At least that’s what coach Charlie Weis and the Jayhawks learned on Thursday, when, for the third straight year, they were picked to finish a distant 10th in the Big 12 in the preseason media poll.
KU’s spot in the standings was hardly a surprise and likely came as little shock to Weis and the Jayhawks. A season ago, when asked about being picked to finish last in the Big 12, Weis, who is a results-oriented kind of coach, said he didn’t blame anyone for putting the Jayhawks last and added that it was his and his team’s job to do something to change their minds.
In the four seasons since finishing 4-4 in the Big 12 North in 2008, the Jayhawks have won just two conference games and gone through league play twice without a victory. In three of those four seasons (2010, 2011 and 2012) KU was the lone team at the bottom of the Big 12 standings. In 2009, Baylor joined the Jayhawks as the only one-win teams in the conference. But the Bears have won 15 games in the four seasons since, with only Iowa State (12 wins) between Baylor and Kansas during the past four seasons.
Although KU’s spot at the bottom of the conference seemed easy for media members to nail down — KU received 56 points from 43 ballots — the rest of the preseason standings were a little more difficult to determine. Just 28 points separated the preseason favorite from fourth place, and six teams received first-place votes.
Oklahoma State (365) came out on top and received 15 of the 43 first-place votes. Oklahoma (355) was second and received eight first-place votes. TCU (347) was third with nine first-place votes.
And Texas, which has garnered the most national buzz throughout the summer, was picked to finish fourth with 337 points and eight first-place votes.
Baylor (282, two first-place votes) and Kansas State (240, one) came next, and Texas Tech (161), West Virginia (126) and Iowa State (96) rounded out the rest of the standings in front of Kansas.
Sims on Walker list
KU’s James Sims has been named to the preseason watch list for the Doak Walker Award, given annually to college football’s top running back.
Sims, a senior from Irving, Texas, led the Jayhawks in rushing during the past three seasons. He enters 2013 as the top returning rusher in the Big 12 — his 2012 total of 1,013 yards ranked 18th nationally — and, with 2,482 career yards, sits 1,359 behind June Henley for the top spot on KU’s all-time rushing list.
Sims joins KU junior linebacker Ben Heeney (Rotary Lombardi Award) as the two Jayhawks named to preseason watch lists so far.
2013 Big 12 football media preseason poll
(First-place votes in parentheses)