Monday, August 31, 2015


Column: SDSU likely lone win for KU football

Kansas University freshman tight end Ben Johnson (84) completes a catch against Central Michigan, Saturday, Sept. 20, 2014, at Memorial Stadium.

Kansas University freshman tight end Ben Johnson (84) completes a catch against Central Michigan, Saturday, Sept. 20, 2014, at Memorial Stadium.


It’s that time of year: time to predict the Kansas University football team’s record, and then get ready to duck from verbal darts accusing me of a “negative” slant.

And then, on the brink of December, the record shows that I yet again was too optimistic by a game. I’m not going to let that happen again. So, torn between 1-11 and 2-10, I’ll remember my too-positive predictions of the past and go with 1-11. (Las Vegas oddsmakers set the over/under at 1.5. No wonder it’s such a tough call.)

Ranking the 12 games from least difficult to most difficult shows that if Kansas has a better shot of winning games in the first half of the schedule than the downright brutal second half.

1 — South Dakota State, Saturday, 11 a.m.: Tough, tough call, but two factors make me think Kansas will win a close one. First, South Dakota State never has defeated an FBS opponent, which adds a little pressure. Second, the emotional edge goes to the Jayhawks because they want to get their likeable first-year head coach, David Beaty, off to a good start.

2 — Texas Tech, Oct. 17: The Red Raiders change head coaches the way Kansas changes starting quarterbacks. Eighteen years after Glen Mason made him the youngest defensive coordinator in the nation, David Gibbs, 48, took over Texas Tech’s defense in January. Defensive-backs coach for Mason for two years at Kansas, Gibbs takes over a unit that surrendered a Big 12-worst 495 points in 12 games for the 4-8 Red Raiders. If they get off to a lousy start, talk about Kliff Kingsbury’s job security will start, a distraction that could make them vulnerable, even against Kansas, by mid-season.

3 — At Rutgers, Sept. 26, 11 a.m.: Kansas has lost its last 33 games played outside of Lawrence. Do I hear 34, anyone?

4 — Memphis, Sept. 12, 6 p.m.: Tigers quarterback Paxton Lynch moves so well for a 6-foot-6, 230-pound quarterback that he ran for 13 touchdowns last season. He throws (3,031 yards, 22 TDs) better than he runs.

5 — West Virginia, Nov. 21: Big-time play-makers on offense have been the norm for Mountaineers, but that might not be the case this season.

6 — At Iowa State, Oct. 3: In three post-Mark Mangino trips to Ames, KU has been outscored, 75-26. Plus, Cyclones have revenge factor on their side.

7 — At Oklahoma State, Oct. 24: Late-season starter Mason Rudolph looked like world-beater in leading Cowboys to 2-1 record as true freshman. He doesn’t have to beat the world in this one, just the Jayhawks.

8 — At Texas, Nov. 7: In KU’s past four trips to Austin, all losses, the average score was 50-7.

9 — Oklahoma, Oct. 31: Sooners running back Samaje Perine no doubt has this game circled on his pocket schedule to see if he can break his FBS rushing record of 427 yards, set last season vs. Kansas.

10 — Kansas State, Nov. 28: Jake Waters and Tyler Lockett are gone, but Bill Snyder remains. No matter how big a mismatch the state rivalry might look like to the outside world, Snyder never views it that way and puts a huge premium on the Kansas game every year.

11 — Baylor, Oct. 10: Kansas fans get an up-close look at Seth Russell, the quarterback who orally committed to Jayhawks and backed out when Turner Gill was fired.

12 — TCU, Nov. 14: Head coach Gary Patterson won’t have any trouble getting Horned Frogs up for game given that they barely escaped Lawrence with a victory last season.


Aaron Paisley 6 years, 10 months ago

Seth Russell alone honestly makes me wonder where KU would be today had they given Gill his 5 years before moving on instead of the Charlie Weis debacle.

And yes, I realize KU would still very likely be terrible today, but it seems like Gill's recruiting would've had KU in a slightly better shape today because he primarily recruited HS kids instead of JuCo kids like Charlie.

Again, I'm in no way saying was the long term answer for KU because he clearly was in over his head at the major conference level, I'm just wondering on keyboard if he was the lesser of two evils between himself and Weis.

Dirk Medema 6 years, 10 months ago

Except that something like half the team (50) was on the verge of being ineligible. That doesn't begin to talk about how many were out of shape and generally undisciplined. Seth doesn't grow into the talked about player he is in the Gill system.

Aaron Paisley 6 years, 10 months ago

It wasn't that many players, it was closer to 20 players and it also doesn't change that KU's depth would still be in better shape because Gill focused on HS instead of Juco's which means KU would have better depth today than they actually do. The conditioning was an issue and that probably would've changed real soon with a new S&C coach.

Again, I'm in any way saying the W-L for KU would be any different had they kept Gill, but KU would have more money since they wouldn't have had to pay two buyouts and they would be much closer to 85 scholarship players than the 64 they have right now which means KU would be better overall shape and have a competent QB on the roster.

Michael Lorraine 6 years, 10 months ago

Convenient hindsight but I totally agree. Gill did a good job of recruiting and Weis was unable to take advantage of those players. Charlie won 6 games in two plus seasons, his key win being West Virginia. I don’t believe Gill would have fared any worse.

Bryan Mohr 6 years, 10 months ago

The better question to ask is where we'd be today if Mangino wasn't fired... that question still disturbs me.

Suzi Marshall 6 years, 10 months ago

Let's just watch the guys and look for signs of hope.

November will be here before we know it.

Chuck Woodling 6 years, 10 months ago

Worst KU football hires of all-time: 1. Bob Valesente by AD Monte Johnson. 2. Charlie Weis by Sheahon Zenger. 3. Turner Gill by Lew Perkins. 4. Chuck Mather by Dutch Lonborg. 5. Bud Moore by Clyde Walker.

Bville Hawk 6 years, 10 months ago

How so, Bud Moore? Terry Allen belongs in the top 5 for sure...

Bryce Landon 6 years, 10 months ago

Bud Moore at least got KU to a bowl game, which is more than anyone else on your list did. Terry Allen belongs on the list, not Moore.

Suzi Marshall 6 years, 10 months ago

That is an accurate list and unfortunately reflects the nature of Kansas Football. One can take the optimists view to site how Kansas has experience turning things around for short periods.

The Weis disaster should be tempered somewhat by how he got the kids back in the classroom. We all knew and supported, for the most part, the gamble of going after the Juco route. Everyone cited how successful Snider was at KSU using this approach and wanted to win quickly. As things turned out, Weis did not have the coaching ability of Snider....but does anyone?

David Williams 6 years, 10 months ago

Did Bud Moore not coach KU to the Sun Bowl in 76-77, w/Nolan Cromwell vs Pitt and Tony Dorsett as a Jr, who would go on to win the title (and the Heisman) the next year? Moore definitely had some not great years, although that season was a good one. Agree that Terry Allen s/b on there instead.

Chuck Woodling 6 years, 10 months ago

Moore won with Fambrough recruits. Four years later, the Jayhawks were 1-10. Terry Allen was bad, but not that bad.

Michael Lorraine 6 years, 10 months ago

Bud may have run the program into the ground but those first two seasons with him under the helm were super exciting. Actually it was one and a half years. After Cromwell went down against OU the season was over. The Ransom Ramblers season ending injury still tops my list of all time football disappointments.

Bryce Landon 6 years, 10 months ago

Gill was worse than Weis, but just barely.

Jim Stauffer 6 years, 10 months ago

While I disagree with Keegan (nothing new here) I am more in disagreement with all the love shown to Seth Russell who hasn't really done anything.

While the cast around him will ensure Baylor wins a lot of games, I don't think he stacks up well against the teams he will need to beat to be in the Final Four. I think Baylor takes a step back this year.

Better watch out for OSU and WVA to be big surprises this year.

Aaron Paisley 6 years, 10 months ago

The reason Seth Russell is getting a lot of love is because he has started a couple of games for Baylor when Bryce Petty was injured and played really good in those games.

Suzi Marshall 6 years, 10 months ago

I have a lot of respect and admiration for those men and women working in the KU Ticket office and Williams Fund (i.e. Kelly Dauber and others). Although things have never looked worse for KU Football, they all seem to be working hard and maintaining a positive professional attitude. Things like following up to insure tickets were received, sending out team/staff representatives to deliver tickets are actions that show determination to turn things around.

Steve Corder 6 years, 10 months ago

Vegas gamblers rarely miss. But this season will be noted for other things than the # of wins.

Bobby Oviemena Birhiray 6 years, 10 months ago

I will say this Tom, look at Boykin. Remember how he was viewed prior to the "Air Raid" offense. At any level the QB is the most important position in terms of wins and losses. And tell me Tom, what were the odds on the 2003-2004 KU Tangerine Bowl team, 2014 TCU or 2014 OU last year. My point is college football is rough on Vegas. Vegas has been really bad predicting college football. However, you could be completely right, but I don't think so.

Humpy Helsel 6 years, 10 months ago

Much better than in recent years. Instead of over-hyping, and raising expectations, you are lowering expectations as low as you can get them. Good idea, because I think you may have wanted to predict 0-12, which is very possible. It just sounds so cruel. South Dakota State is going to come bringing it, and they are good. We cannot afford any turnovers. I think it is possible we might sneak up on someone at home coming later in season and looking past us. I'm saying that is a possibility. What a win Saturday would do for confidence, at least for the following couple of weeks. They desperately need to taste some victory.

Clarence Haynes 6 years, 10 months ago

I would just like to see KU play with some spirit and heart and who knows, we might be competitive in more games than our dear pundits project! The 'Hawks played with some heart last year and gave teams like TCU and Okie St. a scare! Hope that they can replicate that effort against some of our opponents this year and who knows. Also, I would like to see Coach Beaty and his staff pull in a couple of highly rated Kansans next year to help attract an improved talent pool! To support the recruiting effort of the coaching staff, I would also like to see the Athletics Dept. advance its plan to upgrade the stadium facilities. Don't get me wrong, I'd like to see 4-6 wins but the items above, In my humble opinion, are ingredients for a successful season, as they could translate into wins and bowl games sooner rather than later.

Austin Lopez 6 years, 10 months ago

I think turner Gill deserved at best another year, how can you judge a new head coach with just one season. If David had the same record as Turner Gill did his first and only year you guys would approve of him for another year just like you guys did with Charlie, but why? Turner Gill should have had a chance to turn this around instead of being kicked out, I think I would rather have Turner Gill for 3 more years than have Charlie. Turner Gill can recruit, and that would of attracted some impact players. Kansas lacks talent more than any other category. You need talent if you want to win games

Bob Bailey 6 years, 10 months ago

No, you don't need talent to win games.

A good old time DC would turn the team in far less time!

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