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Sunday, August 26, 2018

Keegan

Tom Keegan: How many games will Kansas football win?

Kansas freshman running back Pooka Williams scoots past senior linebacker Osaze Ogbebor during practice drills on Aug. 4, 2018

Kansas freshman running back Pooka Williams scoots past senior linebacker Osaze Ogbebor during practice drills on Aug. 4, 2018

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Every starter except defensive end Dorance Armstrong returns on defense. Center Mesa Ribordy, tight end Ben Johnson and part-time starters Chase Harrell at receiver, and Zach Hannon from various spots on the offensive line, are the only significant losses to the offense.

The returning players have had an extra year in the weight room and in the playbook.

Mix in 14 newcomers recruited from junior colleges and five graduate transfers, many in battles to supplant returning starters, and the Kansas football team has to be a lot better, doesn’t it?

Add Louisiana high school recruits Pooka Williams at running back and Corione Harris at cornerback, both exciting talents who can add more than big plays. Talented rookies have a way of energizing veterans. Pooka and Harris just might bring enough juice to have that sort of impact.

The offseason gains feel real, so why then is it that when I walk to the ledge and look at what it would take to pick this team to win four games, I can’t make the leap? What stops me?

Is it that Kansas lost in Big 12 play by an average of 32 points a game, so even a two-touchdown improvement leaves the Jayhawks too hopelessly behind to improve enough to win a conference game?

No, that’s not it. In 2015, KU lost in Big 12 play by an average of 36 points and won a Big 12 game in 2016 when Texas turned it over six times and lost in overtime, 24-21. Nobody saw that coming.

This 2018 squad is a lot older than the one that delivered the first victory over Texas since 1938.

Maybe I can’t make the leap because that unfathomable stretch of hapless football is too fresh.

In the final 3:44 of the third quarter of KU’s home game vs. Texas Tech, plus the fourth quarter, plus the entire series of games against Iowa State and TCU, Kansas was outscored, 118-0.

It wasn’t just that Kansas finished 1-11. Thanks to that nightmare that lasted 138 minutes and 44 seconds of game clock, the season felt worse than 1-11, if that’s possible.

So going from 1-11 to 4-8 would feel like more than a three-game improvement.

Also, reaching four wins would require going 3-0 out of the chute, plus winning a Big 12 game. That's possible, but can a program that has won three games in three years show enough consistency to match that total in three weeks?

Two of Beaty’s three victories were followed by 11-game losing streaks, including one that’s active.

Given how much of the future was mortgaged for going all in on this season in recruiting, five victories certainly is a reasonable expectation, but does anyone believe that will happen?

Sure, the win-now approach to the offseason beefed up the roster and should result in more competitive games. Yet, every opponent will have more experience and success playing in close games than Kansas. That matters.

So, despite all the gains in experience and talent, instead of taking the 4-8 plunge, 3-9 seems like a safer prediction for a 2018 record. KU improved two games from 2015 to 2016 and should be able to make that sort of improvement this year.

Comments

Aaron Paisley 2 months, 3 weeks ago

I'll say 2-3 wins for KU this season. I think the OLine will be good enough for KU to get a couple of nonconference wins and steal an early season game. I think Beaty ends up coaching all season, gets fired the Monday after Thanksgiving, and KU has their new head coach announced between the conference title games and the start of bowl season.

I'll also say that I think Joe Dineen will end up winning B12 DPOY this year.

Jeff Coffman 2 months, 3 weeks ago

If the expectations aren't 6, we should not start the season with the current coach.

I cant understand why we keep lowering the bar for a coach that keeps under delivering.

Where are the wins? KU hasnt won on the road or beat a non conference DI team under Beaty...what has changed.l?

Aaron Paisley 2 months, 3 weeks ago

What does firing David Beaty today accomplish? You're not hiring a permanent replacement until after the regular season is over in December anyway. It's not a secret the KU job will 95% likely be available this offseason so you're not getting a head start on anybody. Firing Beaty now also does nothing to help recruiting either. There's a handful of players that will commit to Kansas regardless because of their upbringing, but not very many of those exist, even the youngest Dineen isn't a lock at this point. Players are going to want to see who the next permanent coach is before committing to KU in the winter.

Unless it's an off field issue where there's no option, firing a coach, even David Beaty, a week before kickoff only has negative consequences for KU during the season.

John Fitzgerald 2 months, 3 weeks ago

Just a heads up Aaron, Kansas has only two recruits for 2019. That currently ranks them 145 nationally.

Jeff Coffman 2 months, 3 weeks ago

Gives the team a chance to get some real coaching in this year. As it stands today, they will blow another season of eligibility. If Meacham was the Interim coach, I'd have higher hopes than with Beaty as the lead guy. I'd also throw Miller in that thought process.

The inevitable coaching search could begin.

Joe Ross 2 months, 3 weeks ago

I think 5 is the ceiling. My prediction is 4, and that Beaty will be fired. Anything other than a bowl appearance for Beaty in year 4 of his tenure, especially considering his record over that stretch, justifies termination.

The pathway? If we believe the hype around the improvement and factor in experience, then the 3 non-conference games are must get under any scenario (bowl appearance, Beaty's retention, or path to any number greater than or equal to 4 wins). So after that, I could see Kansas getting a win from either Baylor, Iowa State, or Texas Tech, with the best chance of those three being ISU, because the other two are played away.

So here's to a VERY hopeful 4 wins. It's as much hope as I can muster given the circumstances.

Bye Beaty.

Micky Baker 2 months, 3 weeks ago

If Beaty wins 5 this year, they better not fire him considering what he took over when he got here. Even if he wins 4 and loses 3 or 4 other games that KU is in in the 4th quarter, Beaty isn't going to be fired. It would be a huge mistake.

Jason Venable 2 months, 3 weeks ago

Q: "How many games will Kansas football win"?

A: Not enough for Beaty to keep his job.

John Joseph Gorski 2 months, 3 weeks ago

"This 2018 squad is a lot older than the one that delivered the first victory over Texas since 1938."

That Texas team wasn't good that year and is many times better this year. Kansas should beat NS for it's only win. Beaty will get fired after a Baylor blowout loss.

Tom Keegan 2 months, 3 weeks ago

This comment was removed by the site staff for violation of the usage agreement.

Tom Keegan 2 months, 3 weeks ago

John, Didn't predict that Kansas would beat Texas this year. It's possible no Big 12 team will be as vulnerable as Texas was then, but I do believe this Kansas team is better than the one that beat Texas and is capable of winning a Big 12 game. Worst team in Big 12? Yes. Worst team isn't always 0-9.

Phil Leister 2 months, 3 weeks ago

Tom, quit violating the usage agreement.

Doug Cramer 2 months, 3 weeks ago

5 wins.

I got confidence in Doug Meacham that he will get that offense going.

A defense under Clint Bowen will always struggle, but one can hope for improvement if everyone on that unit is coming back.

[''] 2 months, 3 weeks ago

"...confidence in Doug Meacham that he will get that offense going." ??? Based on what? He hasn't done squat to show he can get the job done.

Lawrence McGlinn 2 months, 3 weeks ago

KU would have finished in the bottom half of the MAC last year. Their preparation and technique were poor, and they weren't that athletic. Perhaps they will be a little more athletic this year, but not much else has changed. I think winning all three out-of-conference games is too much to ask, and winning a Big 12 game would be a miracle. Probably 2-10. Hope I'm wrong. I believe my prediction last year was also 2 games. I was wrong, but not good wrong....

Jerry Walker 2 months, 3 weeks ago

" Tom Keegan 8 hours, 24 minutes ago

This comment was removed by the site staff for violation of the usage agreement. "

LOL.....only at KU does the chief editor apparently find the only way to delete his own comment is to list it as a "violation of the usage agreement".

Shakespeare would be proud of the tragicomedy surrounding KU football.

Jay Scott 2 months, 3 weeks ago

Keegs is nowhere near as competent as Beaty...

Joe Ross 2 months, 3 weeks ago

Interestingly, Jay Scott is nowhere near as competent as Keegs.

Len Shaffer 2 months, 3 weeks ago

Danny, can you share what you're smoking?

Jim Stauffer 2 months, 3 weeks ago

One of the most legitimate articles Keegan has written. It is difficult to believe when the past seasons have been so poor. This team has a decent roster for the first time since Beaty has been here. Therefore, it is imperative he be productive. I still believe 4 wins is very doable and if not achieved there will be a coaching change. I also accept the difficulty of overcoming the losing culture. If anyone can do it, this staff should due to their positive nature. In the end, it will come down to whether these guys can coach a team up to win at the Big 12 level. Bring it on!

Jay Scott 2 months, 3 weeks ago

Worst case scenario for the kooks - 6 wins and Beaty absolutely stays.

Imagine the total meltdown by all the crazies if KU win 5 games and Beaty isn't fired....

Kevin Robert Fest 2 months, 3 weeks ago

Never going to happen so stop with your insignificant what if scenarios.

Joe Ross 2 months, 3 weeks ago

I wonder how many fake accounts Jay set up to get those three "likes". I bet he's made 10 or so. That's what social pariahs do. #fakenews

Robert Brock 2 months, 3 weeks ago

KU football is going nowhere with this coaching staff. Good-bye, y’all...

Jason Venable 2 months, 3 weeks ago

lol. Beaty might get to 15 wins in a 20 year period.

Andy Tweedy 2 months, 3 weeks ago

Yeah, Tom pretty much nailed it here. 3-0 in the non-con seems about as likely as...well, I don't even know what. I'm assuming 1-2 in the non-conference, just cuz that's what this program does.

Eric Eakins 2 months, 3 weeks ago

If I were a betting man, 3 although one of those (I suspect) will come under an interim coach.

If I were Beaty and wanted to keep my job, start 4-0 pick up one more and be competitive for 3 more.

That would require game management skills and strategy we have yet to see in three years but people do learn (who want to learn) and the roster has improved so there's that.

Marcus Balzer 2 months, 3 weeks ago

Vegas has the O/U at 3. My guess would be push or take the under. Barring a gradual and steady improvement week to week the first half of the Nichols State will be a telling sign of if this is a1-11 season waiting to happen or a three win or better team.

Barry Weiss 2 months, 3 weeks ago

This really seems to be a down year for a number of b-12 teams. So I will go with 2 wins in the non-conference and if Beaty is still around for conference play, I'll go with one win there.

Dillon Davis 2 months, 3 weeks ago

I really don't think win total matters because we aren't getting to 6 and that's what Beaty needs to keep his job. But I would consider the season a success if we were to break the road losing streak which I pray will happen (hopefully against a Big 12 team too).

Bradley Hope 2 months, 3 weeks ago

The expectation for Beaty in Year 4 (meaning all of his own guys are playing for him) is 6 wins and bowl game.

The Vegas win total for the season is O/U 3. If I had the time and inclination, I'd bet UNDER 3 total wins.

Beaty will get fired right after Homecoming.

John Fitzgerald 2 months, 3 weeks ago

I expect 4 (Nicholls, CMU, Rutgers, Tech) but predict 2 (Nicholls, Rutgers). Either way I won't be proud, impressed, or even satisfied with 4 wins. Also, another big concern is KU only having two recruits in the 2019 class and being ranked 145th in that class. It's going to take more than wins to make this a successful season. Let's hope Beaty gets on the road and does some work there too.

Richie Wilson 2 months, 3 weeks ago

3 should be a lock! We have one of the softest non-con schedules in the country, and I think the Big 12 will be down a little. A golden chance for this program to take advantage of this year. I guess we will see.

Freddie Garza 2 months, 3 weeks ago

A little self awareness is what we need. There are maybe 3 coaches in the world that could turn this program into a winner given 3 years to do so, and none of them are coming.

Beaty should have a LONG leash. This cycle of firing coaches every 3 years is not doing the program any good whatsoever.

John Fitzgerald 2 months, 3 weeks ago

How long would you like Beaty’s “leash” to be? 5 years? 8 years? 10 years?

Freddie Garza 2 months, 3 weeks ago

AT LEAST 5 years. Even if he never wins a game. You have to give a guy a chance to at least establish a culture, because right now the only culture we have is being one of the absolute worst football programs in all of division I. And firing the coach every 3 years only looks desperate and complicates matters.

Yeah, sure, we hired Turner Gill who was a terrible hire, followed by Charlie Weis, who was even worse against all odds. Beaty, in my opinion, is an upgrade over those two clowns. We have to work with what we're given. I know some people honestly believed that this program is capable of luring Jim Harbaugh or Les Miles...I assure you, these people are kidding themselves. Even the top coaches in I-AA or Division II are holding out for better options than the KU position.

I know everyone wants to win, but the way I see it, you're going to have to give Beaty a LONG leash to at least get something going. Otherwise, most likely you're looking at firing YET ANOTHER football coach, bringing in YET ANOTHER question mark to replace him, and then going 3 more years with maybe a win or two TOTAL, and then repeating the process YET AGAIN...and then HOPING that this somehow makes our program more attractive for Bill Belichik to retire from the Patriots to come and save (or better yet, REVIVE) KU football. It's delusional.

Jeff Coffman 2 months, 3 weeks ago

Beaty's record says otherwise. If Beaty goes 6-6, he will still have the worse winning percentage of any KU coach in history.

I think there are a lot more than a few that could help KU get to its winning ways.

George Johnston 2 months, 3 weeks ago

Jeff Coffman, it is even worse. Beaty could go to bowl and have a record of 7-6 and STILL have the lowest winning percentage of any regular coach in KU history. (Interim Coach Bowen would be worst if we count interim coaches.)

George Johnston 2 months, 3 weeks ago

Freddie Garza, name one coach in the last 50 years (from and FBS school) who had three or more bad seasons but turned a program around in his fourth or fifth season

It hasn't happened with KU in the last 50 years.

  1. Pepper Rodgers
    In 1966, Jack Mitchell's last year, the team went 2-7-1 (0-6-1 in conference). In his first year, Rodgers had a record of 5-5-0 but 5-2-0 in the Big Eight. In his second year, the team went 9-2-0, tied for first in the Big 8 and played in the Orange Bowl.

  2. Mike Gottfried
    In 1983, Gottfried took a team that was 2-7-2 the year before and took it to 4-6-1 and then showed steady improvement (5-6-0 and 6-6-0) the next two years before he was hired away by Pittsburgh.

  3. Glen Mason Mason had a tough year in 1988 when he had a 1-10 record in his first year. In his second year, he was 4-7-0 and, by his fourth year, he had a winning record.

  4. Mark Mangino In his second year, Mangino took the team to the Tangerine Bowl and he went to the Fort Worth Bowl in his fourth season.

So, Rodgers and Gottfried showed major improvements in their first years and Mason and Mangino showed major improvements in their second years. The improvements were not just in coming closer to the opponents but in actual wins.

Let's look at it another way.

Of KU's 38 coaches, only nine have served for five or more years. Therefore, there are only 9 possibilities of coaches being given 5 years. Of the nine, six coaches increased the number of victories within 3 years. Two of the remaining three coaches took over teams that won 5 games in a 10 game season. Both of those coaches got 5 wins with fewer losses within 3 years. The only coach not to improve the team's record in either victories or winning percentage was J. V. Sikes. He took over from a George Sauer team that was 8-1-2 and Sikes never did better than 7-3.

I only checked a few other schools but the pattern was consistent: improvement within three years or never.

I hope Beaty becomes the first coach to improve a team after three bad years but I am not betting on it.

Freddie Garza 2 months, 3 weeks ago

That comment asserts that Beaty is a worse football coach than Turner Gill was. Turner Gill won, what 3 games his first season? He had a roster full of Mangino holdovers, because as you all know, things got steadily worse from there.

I'd say that a major contributing factor to this IS the fact that A) Turner Gill was flat out inept as a football coach and, more importantly, as a recruiter of talent, and B) he handed a platter full of poop off to Charlie Weis, who was EQUALLY inept at recruiting talent and eventually handed a DOUBLE platter full of poop off to current guy Beaty.

Sure, nobody's had the type of start Beaty's had. Nobody's ever been given as bad a situation to work with either. I mean, I could be mistaken here, but wasn't there a point where the KU athletic department was paying THREE football coaches at the same time, in terms of financial obligations to fired coaches Turner Gill and Charlie Weis, while also paying Beaty? Is that a situation we want to keep putting ourselves in?

I just think Beaty was handed a turd sandwich, the likes of which nobody has ever been forced to work with before. Asking him to turn it all around in 3 seasons was never a realistic proposition.

Lawrence McGlinn 2 months, 3 weeks ago

UAB had NO PROGRAM for 2015 and 2016, and in 2017 they won 8 games in CUSA. It is not the Big 12, but I don't buy the "He needs 5 years" argument. It has been obvious in the last three years that our guys are clueless, particularly on defense. They are not well prepared. I don't see how that is going to change in two extra years. Nevermind the non-recruiting class of 2019.

Joe Black 2 months, 3 weeks ago

Not only does UAB not play in the Big 12 as you pointed out but they are also located in Alabama which is much closer to high school football talent than Kansas. Much much much easier to turn a program around (or start from scratch) than in Kansas' situation.

Randy Bombardier 2 months, 3 weeks ago

It depends. If we would go to a run first look I still believe we would win more games. But being in a hurry to go 3 and out? Maybe 3.

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