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Friday, August 12, 2016

Jayhawks among nation’s 10 worst teams according to preseason rankings

KU players and coaches more optimistic about prospects

Kansas cornerback Chevy Graham (36) shows his frustration on the sideline as the Jayhawks are forced to punt during the third quarter on Saturday, Oct. 3, 2015 at Jack Trice Stadium in Ames, Iowa.

Kansas cornerback Chevy Graham (36) shows his frustration on the sideline as the Jayhawks are forced to punt during the third quarter on Saturday, Oct. 3, 2015 at Jack Trice Stadium in Ames, Iowa.

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For all the optimism in the air at Anderson Family Football Complex and the progress being made on the field during preseason practices, at least one national outlet isn’t ready to project Kansas as an improved program from a year ago.

CBSSports.com ranked every FBS program in the nation — all 128 of them. Less than a month away from the season opener, the Jayhawks come in near the bottom of the list, at 119th. Or for the glass-half-empty population, 10th worst.

Kansas, of course, failed to win a game in head coach David Beaty’s first year, and the program has finished last in the Big 12 in four of the five seasons since the league did away with divisions, no doubt leading to KU’s lowly position.

No one within the program actively preparing for the coming fall chooses to dwell on shortcomings from the past, though. Headed into his second season in Lawrence, Beaty witnesses what outsiders don’t and repeatedly has spoken about how the 2016 version of the Jayhawks are better equipped for competition.

“That’s the biggest difference in our team right now than a year ago,” Beaty said earlier this week. “We have real competition. We have some depth.”

The Jayhawks ranked ahead of only (ordered from top to bottom) Kent State, Hawaii, Texas State, Ball State, New Mexico State, Charlotte, North Texas, Eastern Michigan and UMass in the CBS Sports hierarchy.

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Baylor cornerback Xavien Howard runs back a fumbled ball by Kansas quarterback Ryan Willis for a touchdown during the second quarter on Saturday, Oct. 10, 2015 at Memorial Stadium.

Kansas wasn’t the only power conference program to fall into triple-digit range, though. Three Big Ten teams — Purdue (102nd), Illinois (106th) and Rutgers (111th) — bottomed out in the preseason projections. Even the mighty SEC’s South Carolina showed up at 100.

Looking strictly at the Big 12, most of the league fared much better than KU, while Iowa State (3-9 overall in 2015, 2-7 Big 12) appeared at No. 96.

The CBS Top 25 included No. 3 Oklahoma, No. 13 TCU, No. 16 Baylor and No. 22 Oklahoma State.

Texas just missed out on the upper echelon, at No. 27. Tech ranked 47th, West Virginia was 51st and Kansas State fell smack in the middle of the massive list, at No. 64.

Even the Jayhawks’ two FBS non-conference opponents managed far more respectable spots: No. 59 Ohio and No. 60 Memphis.

Naturally, KU’s players are all too familiar with the program’s recent woes, most notably last season’s 0-12 record. But even those who experienced the lowest of the lows, such as sophomore quarterback Ryan Willis, who started the final eight games of 2015, understand they’re better off focusing on building a better future.

“You know, it’s in the past. We haven’t forgotten about it. It’s kind of driven us to work harder this offseason,” Willis shared at KU’s media day. “Everyone wants to win. Winning cures all.”

Willis said the Jayhawks realize they’re rebuilding and they think they have enough talent on the roster to win games this fall.

They still have more than three weeks of preparation and development to get through before a Sept. 3 season opener at Memorial Stadium against Rhode Island.

Said sophomore receiver Steven Sims Jr.: “I think we’re starting off real good, actually. Everybody’s put in a lot of work this offseason. The strength and conditioning staff has been on us. It’s been a great summer, so I’m really excited for the season.”

Comments

Andy Tweedy 6 years, 1 month ago

We won't be very good, but the last place in the world I'm getting my expectations is from a national rag that pays very little attention to teams not named Alabama, Texas, USC and the likes. They know nothing about what we do or don't have on this team.

Waylon Cook 6 years, 1 month ago

Texas just missed out on the upper echelon, at No. 27. Tech ranked 47th, West Virginia was 51st and Kansas State fell smack in the middle of the massive list, at No. 64.

That is all you need to know on how much of a joke this article is. I doubt they revisit this at the end of the year....

Humpy Helsel 6 years, 1 month ago

It's a long road back to respectability. I believe strongly we are on it. We just need a couple of wins to give alums, fans, the players and potential recruits, some optimism. We cannot continue to be the near equivalent of a Big 12 bye. Winning cures all.

David Robinett 6 years, 1 month ago

"No one within the program actively preparing for the coming fall chooses to dwell on shortcomings from the past, though."

Except the LJW.

David Robinett 6 years, 1 month ago

LJW -- idea for you: instead of looking for other magazine's articles to re-publish, how about get your act together on this website.

If you click on Next Game - Team Schedules, it goes here:

http://www2.kusports.com/schedules/

If you click that, then Football, it goes to the 2015 schedule rather than the 2016 schedule.

Matt Tait 6 years, 1 month ago

There's a glitch in the system that we're working on fixing — you might call this getting our act together — for that link and we hope to have it solved soon...

In the meantime, if you click on "Football" and then click "Schedule" from the menu there, you'll see the 2016 schedule, which has been up for quite some time.

John Fitzgerald 6 years, 1 month ago

I highly doubt anyone is surprised by this, and it'll be another tough year, but we'll see improvement. I count this is as Beaty's true first year. Things will only go up from here.

Michael Maris 6 years, 1 month ago

''If you ain't 1st, you're last''

LOLLOLLOLLOLLOL...............

Doug Cramer 6 years, 1 month ago

We will finish way higher than this ranking.

4 wins

Harlan Hobbs 6 years, 1 month ago

I agree with Humpy, and I hope you are right Doug. This is to be expected. At least there is really nowhere to go but up.

Good luck Coach Beaty and the Hawks!

Bryan Mohr 6 years, 1 month ago

I wouldn't count on KU beating Ohio or Iowa State. Frank Solich is a good coach and Ohio played in a bowl game. Iowa State hired Matt Cambell, a coach with a proven ability to win. KU will beat Rhode Island, go 1-11. I would have loved to have seen the faces of the people supporting the firing of Mangino if some Nostradamus told them on the day they fired him they would need 6 seasons to win as many games as Mangino won in a single year (2007), and that in 6 years time they would win a total of 3 conference games. Those jokers would have laughed their heads off in disbelief. The Curse of the Mangino... how long will it last?

Ashwin Rao 6 years, 1 month ago

Get over the Magnino firing, Bryan, no need to keep bringing it up after so many years! There has to be a statute of limitation on that.

Doug Cramer 6 years, 1 month ago

Bryan - couldn't have said it any better.

I'm still pissed off about it.

Randy Bombardier 6 years, 1 month ago

So what. What a ridiculous concept of ranking all the schools. Terrible analogy but here goes. We had more difficulty with the Viet Cong than we had with a large standing Army in Iraq. Consider the Air Raid offense guerrilla warfare. Perhaps that's why even mighty Texas and Oklahoma have abandoned the old style of warfare. The air raid is the great equalizer. I have confidence that we will have a couple upsets this year.

Doug Wallace 6 years, 1 month ago

Hey it happened for a reason! We did not win a game last season. As Beaty says we have to Earn it. If we want respect we got to earn it!

Not too worried about all that. What I want to see are improvements from last season.Win/Loss total will not matter this season as much as better playing on the field.

I think things will look better and the depth seems to be better. Regardless Win Lose or Draw Im behind you Coach Beaty RCJH!

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