Ames, Iowa — Although a couple of recent games have been played in windy conditions and cooler temperatures, tonight’s showdown with Iowa State figures to be Kansas University’s first truly cold football game of 2013.
With game-time temperatures expected to be below 20 degrees and falling and the wind reaching double-digit miles-per-hour readings, tonight’s contest figures to be one of KU’s coldest games in years.
Jayhawks coach Charlie Weis is ready for that, but he said the challenge for both teams would be adapting to the cold temperatures after going through a week of mild weather leading up to kickoff.
“You can’t simulate a drop of 20 degrees or whatever it ends up being,” Weis said. “The high now is in the low 20s, with the low being around 7, so you figure if the sun goes down before 5 o’clock, you’re playing at 7 o’clock, then the odds are by kickoff it’s probably going to be in the low teens. With wind chill, it’s definitely going to be in the single digits. It’s going to be chilly, but they’re going through the same thing.”
Earlier this week, Weis said he would talk to his team and staff about the conditions one time and then move on without thinking about it.
“I told the assistant coaches I don’t want one word said about what the temperature is going to be,” he said.
As for the impact of the colder temperatures, Weis said he expected it to be minimal.
“Wind affects game plans a lot more than cold,” He said. “Cold doesn’t usually change a game plan dramatically. Rain doesn’t change a game plan dramatically. Snow doesn’t change game plan dramatically, unless there’s a lot accumulating on the field. Wind changes a game plan dramatically.”
Under the lights
Only a handful of KU’s games this season have required lights, as the Jayhawks have started at 11 a.m. more than any other time during 2013.
Tonight’s 7 p.m. kickoff brings mixed reaction from the KU players and coaches.
“Players love it. The coaches absolutely hate it,” Weis said. “We’re just polar opposites. An 11 o’clock game? I’d take it every game. Now, I don’t know what fans like. They probably like something in between. They probably like the afternoon game. Don’t have to get up too early and get home earlier. As players, I know they always like playing night games.”
Junior linebacker Ben Heeney backed up his coach’s claim by expressing his excitement about playing another night game.
“I like playing under the lights, for sure,” Heeney said. “But having to wait around all day, especially on the road, it’s not very fun. But I’m excited to play. My freshman year when we went to Ames, I thought it was one of the best places to play. Their fans bring a lot of juice to the stadium, and it’s a great atmosphere.”
Tonight is Senior Night for Iowa State.
Kansas leads the all-time series with Iowa State, 49-37-6. That includes a 22-21-3 advantage in Ames.
That said, the Jayhawks are just 1-3 against ISU coach Paul Rhoads, with the only victory coming in 2009 in Lawrence. That game, which came on Oct. 10 and improved Kansas to 5-0, was KU’s last victory that season. Since then, Iowa State has won three straight by an average score of 31-16, including a 51-23 victory on KU’s Senior Night last season.
Despite being winless in conference play and having just one victory all season (Sept. 28 at Tulsa), Iowa State opened as a six-point favorite over the Jayhawks this week. The line dipped a little throughout the week before settling to ISU minus-41⁄2 this morning.
The Jayhawks, seven-point underdogs to West Virginia prior to last week’s 31-19 victory, are now 4-6 against the spread this season.