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Thursday, July 7, 2022

Kansas football team again projected to finish last as Big 12 preseason poll released

Kansas coach Lance Leipold yells at an official as the team plays against Coastal Carolina during the second half of an NCAA college football game in Conway, S.C., Friday, Sept. 10, 2021. Coastal Carolina won 49-22. (AP Photo/Nell Redmond)

Kansas coach Lance Leipold yells at an official as the team plays against Coastal Carolina during the second half of an NCAA college football game in Conway, S.C., Friday, Sept. 10, 2021. Coastal Carolina won 49-22. (AP Photo/Nell Redmond)

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Although the Kansas football team's players and coaches enter the season with a renewed sense of optimism, those on the outside will apparently need some time to buy in.

The Jayhawks were again picked to finish last in the Big 12 preseason poll, which was released Thursday afternoon. Forty-one people voted in the poll and Kansas received 48 points, meaning not everyone projected a last-place finish.

It's the 12th consecutive season in which they received the fewest votes from the panel of media voters. They have been chosen last every year since 2011, the first season after the conference contracted to 10 teams.

The panel has been correct for most of that stretch, as the only time the Jayhawks did not finish last was in 2014. That season, they went 3-9, including 1-8 in the conference, to finish ahead of Iowa State, which did not win a Big 12 game.

Kansas finished 2-10 last season and went 1-8 in the Big 12, with the stunning overtime victory at Texas on Nov. 13 serving as the highlight of its season. Although the Jayhawks didn't win either of their final two games, they have often pointed to the three-point loss at TCU and the six-point loss at home against West Virginia in recent months as signs that they are improving.

Baylor, which defeated Oklahoma State in the Big 12 championship game in December, was chosen to finish first as it received 365 points and 17 first-place votes. It's the first time the Bears have been selected as the favorite in the Big 12 preseason poll.

Oklahoma, which had been chosen first the last six years, was chosen to finish second under new coach Brent Venables as it earned 354 points and 12 first-place votes.

Last year's runner-up and regular-season champion, Oklahoma State, was third with 342 points and nine first-place votes. Texas was fourth with 289 points and two first-place votes and Kansas State was fifth with 261 points.

Iowa State received the remaining first-place vote and 180 points. TCU was seventh with 149 points, West Virginia was eighth with 147 points and Texas Tech was ninth with 119 points.

Kansas will begin the season, its second under coach Lance Leipold, with a home game against Tennessee Tech on Sept. 2.

Jayhawks' transfers highly regarded

Kansas has reached No. 66 in 247Sports' overall class of 2022 recruiting rankings — an evaluation that is essentially final as the start of preseason camp draws near.

The Jayhawks' ranking is bolstered by what the site considers the No. 21 transfer class, although it does not include junior college players in that category. Kansas has had 18 players decide to transfer in since the end of last season, five of whom are from junior colleges.

Four players tied for the team high with a grade of 0.88: running back Ky Thomas from Minnesota, safety Marvin Grant from Purdue, middle linebacker Lorenzo McCaskill from Louisiana and defensive end Lonnie Phelps from Miami (Ohio).

Kansas' high school recruiting class was ranked No. 116, but it added just seven incoming freshmen during the last cycle as coach Lance Leipold and his staff tried to balance out the distribution of scholarships among the classes and add experienced players to a young team.

At No. 66, Kansas still has the least-regarded recruiting class in the Big 12, according to 247Sports, but it ranks ahead of Pittsburgh, Oregon State, NC State and Wake Forest.

Comments

Brett McCabe 3 months ago

We will not finish last this season. We may be 9th, but we won't be 10th. If your team evolves to a competitive level, then your team is capable of creating an upset on any given Saturday, which we will have to do in order to win a Big 12 game. I think that we do it twice. Put me down for four wins - crazy talk I know - but I think that this staff moves us forward significantly in year two. The QB position is solidified, the roster is nearly full, we had a full spring season and it is year two for the system. And we have proven winners running the program. All signs are pointing up.

As far as the future, recruiting has already shown signs of significant improvement. I think that the bleeding has effectively been stopped, now it's time to start working towards recovery. You need 3-star classes to compete in this league, it's been proven over and over. Right now we have a 3-star class. If they can keep it at that level through signing day, we'll be on our way. As much as I want the Big Ten to come calling right now, I'm confident that this staff will move the football program forward far enough for us to be well positioned in the future.

Dirk Medema 3 months ago

The ranking is to be expected until we prove otherwise.

Brett - I like your measured optimism, though 4 Ws and 2 in conference doesn’t necessarily get us out of the basement. If we had beaten TCU for our 2nd conference W last year, we still would have been last.

We should have a few of early games to measure our growth - WVU (2), Duke (4), TCU (6). The schedule also gets significantly harder after that.

Andy Godwin 2 months, 4 weeks ago

Wow only 48 votes versus the projected next worst team with 119. The Jayhawks have many sports experts to disprove. Everything up to now is lip service, so the time is approaching for the Jayhawks to prove their worth on the field. Rock Chalk.

Randy Bombardier 2 months, 4 weeks ago

If I was single I'd put big money on this. No way. Never again.

Micky Baker 2 months, 4 weeks ago

It's difficult to predict, but the last three games of last season would seem to be a sign that there is a chance to get to 4, maybe even 5 wins this season.

Conference Foes that we could have a chance to win. TCU, West Virginia, Texas(we beat them last year in Austin), and there could be chance to be competitive and have a chance to win against K-State and maybe Texas Tech. 3 wins in the conference will probably be enough to not finish in last place, but I think a realistic goal for this season would be 5 wins, and it is also aggressive. I think it is necessary to be aggressive.

Dirk Medema 2 months, 4 weeks ago

Randy - “No way. Never again.”

Is that a comment on your marital status, betting, or the team’s performance? 😉

Edward Daub 2 months, 4 weeks ago

Preseason predictions are unpredictable. Baylor was predicted near the bottom last year.

Jeff Coffman 2 months, 3 weeks ago

All I know is if TX loses to KU...Sark will be fired and might not be on plane back to Austin.

Rodney Schulz 2 months, 3 weeks ago

The big positive figure that jumps out at me on this article is having a transfer class that is ranked number 21 in the country. That is in the top 10% of all colleges and in the upper top quartile of power five conference schools. That is a phenomenal achievement for this coaching staff and a big part of college sports is recruiting good athletes.

I’m not going to try to extrapolate those figures into a number of wins for the season. However, this is a big move in the right direction. We have reason to be cautiously optimistic, but we must temper that with the perennial consistency of KU‘s ability to mess up its football program.

Rodney Schulz 2 months, 3 weeks ago

I meant division one colleges end top quartile of power five conference school transfer classes.

Dirk Medema 2 months, 3 weeks ago

Quartile? Is that a new type of flooring?

😉

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