Oddsmakers don’t take setting lines lightly. They want to draw action on both sides of a proposition and in setting the over-under for the 2015 Kansas University football team at 1.5, 5Dimes set up an argument between believers and non-believers.
The 5Dimes researchers no doubt knew that:
South Dakota State lost to eventual FCS national champion North Dakota State by three points in the playoffs. That would be the same Bisons who have won their past five vs. FBS schools.
The Jackrabbits, who were within three points of Missouri in the third quarter en route to a 38-18 loss, return seven starters on offense, seven on defense.
Zach Zenner, who rushed for 2,019 yards for the Jackrabbits last season, is not back, but most of his blockers return.
Quarterback Zach Lujan threw at least one touchdown pass in each of his seven starts. Coming off the bench against Missouri, the nation’s 23rd-ranked defense, he completed 21 of 28 passes for 239 yards. His favorite target, Jake Wienke, had 1,404 receiving yards (107 vs. Mizzou) and 16 touchdown catches as a redshirt freshman a year ago.
Leading tackler T.J. Lally and the other two starting linebackers from a year ago return.
FCS schools typically are considered underdogs as much because of inferior depth as the result of lower scholarship numbers. Not as much the case when compared to Kansas, which at the most will have 73 healthy players who were recruited to KU on scholarship, a dozen below the allowable limit. FCS schools are limited to 63 full scholarships, but they have the advantage of being able to split the scholarship money, awarding partials.
The oddsmakers also know plenty about the other 11 opponents on KU’s roster.
Memphis went 10-3 a year ago and two of the losses came to schools (UCLA and Ole Miss) ranked in the top 11 when it played them. Quarterback Paxton Lynch threw for 3,031 yards and 22 touchdowns with nine interceptions and rushed for 13 touchdowns as a sophomore last season.
Rutgers went 8-5 last season and defeated North Carolina in what is known as the Quick Lane Bowl, which evidently was not named after the left lane of a highway with Journal-World basketball beat reporter Gary Bedore behind the wheel of the rental car on a road trip as traffic backs up from Iowa to Texas.
Moving to the Big 12, the Iowa State game is on the road. On paper KU should go 0-12. An upset against Texas Tech in Lawrence means 1-11. It’s going to take a good five years to win a bowl game.