Monday, September 13, 2021

Lance Leipold: Big 12 adding ‘highly successful’ football programs in BYU, Cincinnati, UCF and Houston

Kansas head coach Lance Leipold signals to an official during the second quarter on Friday, Sept. 3, 2021 at Memorial Stadium. (Photo by Nick Krug/Special to the Journal-World)

Kansas head coach Lance Leipold signals to an official during the second quarter on Friday, Sept. 3, 2021 at Memorial Stadium. (Photo by Nick Krug/Special to the Journal-World)


Lance Leipold won’t have to worry about his Kansas football team taking on BYU, Cincinnati, UCF or Houston any time soon, but Leipold expects the four future Big 12 programs will be “fine additions” to the conference.

Asked during Monday’s Big 12 media teleconference to share his thoughts on the league expanding, Leipold noted the four schools “from a football perspective have all been highly successful” and have played in “big ball games nationally in the last few years.”

BYU entered this fall coming off three consecutive winning seasons, and the Cougars’ 4-9 mark in 2017 was the program’s only losing campaign since 2004.

Cincinnati has won nine or more games each of the past three seasons. Head coach Luke Fickell, now in his fifth year leading the program, had the Bearcats in the Peach Bowl last year.

UCF has gone to five consecutive bowl games and went a perfect 13-0 in 2017. In the past nine years, the Knights have appeared in eight bowl games.

Houston went 3-5 in 2020 after finishing 4-8 in 2019, but the Cougars have gone to eight bowls in the past decade.

During Leipold’s six-year run as the head coach at Buffalo, Leipold and his staff ended up being around Fickle and some Cincinnati assistants while working on the summer camp circuits.

“Coach Fickle is an outstanding coach,” Leipold said. “I have great respect for them.”

KU’s head coach said he hasn’t yet gotten a chance to know BYU head coach Kalani Sitake and his staff, but said “their name and their brand speaks for itself.”

The three current AAC schools — Cincinnati, UCF and Houston — play in areas where coaches in the Big 12 will want to recruit, Leipold added.

“I think they’re going to be fine additions,” Leipold said of the future Big 12 teams.

Although Texas and Oklahoma making exit plans for the SEC and the Big 12 expanding as a result have been big stories in the college football world the past couple of months, Leipold said with everything he and the KU staff had going on in trying to prepare for their first season in Lawrence, he didn’t spend much time worrying about those developments.

“But at the same time, I think with the departure of two schools, I think the uncertainty of our league was definitely at the forefront of a lot of people’s thoughts,” Leipold said, “and to see us act this quickly for the future I think gives everybody a chance to know that there will be stability. And we can get back to focusing on this season.”

No worries with Bean

As KU quarterback Jason Bean indicated after the Jayhawks’ loss at Coastal Carolina on Friday, the hit he took in the fourth quarter that hurt his wrist isn’t expected to keep the QB off the field for KU’s Big 12 opener this week versus Baylor (2:30 p.m. Saturday, ESPN+).

Bean said on Friday he was just experiencing “a little soreness.” Leipold said Monday he thinks the starting QB is “feeling all right,” noting KU practiced Sunday and Bean “was out there.”

“I think he’s bouncing back. I don’t feel any reason why he won’t be able to go this week,” Leipold said.

KU at Duke set

After dipping into Big 12 action this week, the Jayhawks will play one more nonconference game on Sept. 25 at Duke.

The ACC and Big 12 announced Monday the game in Durham, N.C., will kick off at 3 p.m. (central) and air on the ACC Network.

KU is 1-1 versus the Blue Devils all-time, and the programs haven’t met since 2014. The last matchup also came at Duke, where KU lost, 41-3, under head coach Charlie Weis. The Jayhawks won the first meeting the series, 44-16, in 2009, when Mark Mangino was still the head coach.


Dale Rogers 1 year ago

As a side note, I just read an article with stats from the first two games for all Big 12 teams, ranking each team in each category. Kansas is not dead last in any category. Far from it. And that, to me, is encouraging. Interesting. Jason Bean has the 7th highest total rushing yards in the conference! Here is the link to the article:

Dale Rogers 1 year ago

I was wrong on one note. We were dead last in number of sacks against the opponent and Points Against. For whatever it's worth, our average ranking in that article is 7.5.

Dale Rogers 1 year ago

I discovered we have the ACC Network on Cox (on the west coast). It's probably in the sports package we have. So anyone thinking they can't watch the game on tv without subscribing to ACCN, check your cable carrier.

Spencer Goff 1 year ago

While I would like more than 2 total sacks, it should be noted that both teams we have faced barely threw it over 20 times. As a comparison, Texas Southern threw it forty times against Baylor alone.

But I do agree with you Dale, we are better. Just not sure how many wins we'll have to show for it this year. We'll see.

Edward Daub 1 year ago

I guess what "Sir Lancelot" is saying about Luke Fickell is that "he is fickle on the details". Luke dots the i's and crosses the t's in Bearcat country.

Rock Chalk!

Kevin Woods 1 year ago

“ adding 'highly successful' football programs in BYU, Cincinnati, UCF and Houston” I literally LOL’d

Dale Rogers 1 year ago

Current national rankings:

8 - Cincinnati

23 - BYU

"others receiving votes" - UCF

That seems to be pretty successful to me.

Kevin Woods 1 year ago

I’d bet $1 that the 4 teams combined average record , for the last 10 years was not much better the. .500

Dale Rogers 1 year ago

I haven't checked the numbers but do know that for FBS teams playing a 12-game schedule, .500 makes them bowl eligible.

Dale Rogers 1 year ago

That made me curious. Here are the numbers according to sports-reference dot com. This covers 10 seasons from 2011 through 2020.

BYU 81-48 .628

CFU 83-43 .659

Cinc 84-42 .667

Hou 78-46 .629

Total 326-179 .646

Kevin Woods 1 year ago

So average 7 + wins a season and go to the bowl.

Dale Rogers 1 year ago

Using a simple calculator, average W-L per year is 8.2 - 4.5. Just checked BYU. 9 bowls in 10 years. Cincinatti, 7 in 10 years. UCF 8 in 10 years. Houston, 8 in 10 years. Kansas, 0 in 10 years. You can check for yourself which bowls.

Kevin Woods 1 year ago

Mid-December bowls don't count .

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