Wednesday, June 3, 2015


Column: Today’s hot tip: take the under


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.


Michael Lorraine 6 years, 11 months ago

Smart money is on the under but I'm also taking the over. Mostly based on wishful thinking and the law of averages. How long can this team continue to play so poorly?

Marc Frey 6 years, 11 months ago

We all know this will be a tough season when we are not getting any articles with positive comments and thoughts from the staff. At least, we got that over the last 5 years. Yikes! Rock Chalk!

Charlie Gaughn 6 years, 11 months ago

Not a surprise. Gill was approaching the derailment and Weis was the total train wreck. Zenger should've been shown the door right after Weis for sitting by and letting him decimate the program with fifth year and junior college transfers. Anyway, no reason to dwell on how we got here. Now it's time for patience by the fan base (again). The program is at its lowest point since Valesente and it took Mason 4 years to get to respectability. The thing to watch for is improvement and discipline. If the team is still making the same mistakes at the end of the year that they make in game 1, we're in trouble.

Charlie Gaughn 6 years, 11 months ago

Totally agree, however, when I made the comparison to the post Valesente period, we have to remember that at the time Nebraska, Oklahoma, and Colorado were the only quality programs in the Big 8. It's much different now in the Big 12. By patience I was referring to recruiting at least 80% freshman, utilizing the redshirt program, and building a program rather than again try the "quick fix". This will result in progress even if it doesn't show up in the win column for several years.

Joe Ross 6 years, 11 months ago

Very low expectations for the football program and very high expectations for the basketball team condition the fans. Id rather it be that both sports gave us something to cheer about. The revenue could really help the University for one thing, and its just more fun from a fan's perspective to have something to root about.

Suzi Marshall 6 years, 11 months ago

A Tale of Two Sports

Before the end of the season, Brett and I may be the lone spectators watching the football Hawks. We'll also be attending all the games with plans to attend all the Basketball games.

I'm not sure what to think of our football team. Maybe Self can help the football team out but offering spot or two on the BasketBall team to a couple of big time 5-star football players or allowing some of his guys to play football. Not many will catch Mason if he gets a step in open field.

Seriously, can the basketball team rescue our football program? We need some elite athletes on the grid iron!

How do you think our team would look if Self let all the BBALL players play football:

Offense: QB - Svi RB - Mason and Graham Left Tackle (The Blind Side) - Lucas Right Tackle - Mickelson Receivers - Ellis, Bragg and Vick

Defense Middle LB - Selden Defensive Ends - Traylor & Greene Corners - Self and Pollard Safety - Manning

Titus Canby 6 years, 11 months ago

I love KU football. To watch a game in the fall at Memorial Stadium is just a thrill. There are so few on-campus stadiums left, we should relish what we have. But I guess we don't go to games to watch the stadium.

To watch our Jayhawks lose year after year just stinks. But they're still our Jayhawks. I can't wait for the day that the program is back to where it was throughout most of the 60s and 70s when I was growing up. Maybe in 5 years? I hope it doesn't take longer than that.

Michael Lorraine 6 years, 11 months ago

I love our venues. AFH and Memorial are both on campus. Look what KSU did. I hope we never go that route.

David Robinett 6 years, 11 months ago

The Jayhawk is a Phoenix. Keep the faith my people. We shall rise again.

Robert Brown 6 years, 11 months ago

I welcome a challenging non conference schedule. I do not agree that playing three patsies will give us confidence later in the season, nor do I aspire to playing a weak non conference schedule and hope to win three conference games so we can play in a meaningless minor bowl.

I get the sense, and it is really a gut feel, that we have a coaching staff that has a vision for the program and the ability to execute that vision. I never got that sense, at anytime with Weis. I think Gill had a vision, but was not capable of executing.

I'll take the over and say we will win at least two games.

Michael Sillman 6 years, 11 months ago

I think that it will become clear rather quickly whether progress is being made by the new coaching staff. Heck, there was progress made during the short tenure of Bowen as head coach.

I too have a good feeling about Beaty and his staff but I had the same optimism about Gill and Weis. I'm hoping for two wins just from the higher energy level that seems to be infusing the program.

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