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KU Kickoff 2018: Why the Jayhawks could win only 1 game — or none

Kansas head coach David Beaty shows his frustration after a West Virginia touchdown during the fourth quarter on Saturday, Sept. 23, 2017 at Memorial Stadium.

Kansas head coach David Beaty shows his frustration after a West Virginia touchdown during the fourth quarter on Saturday, Sept. 23, 2017 at Memorial Stadium. by Nick Krug

Earlier this week, Journal-World sports editor Tom Keegan officially made his win/loss prediction for the 2018 Kansas football team, picking the Jayhawks to finish David Beaty's fourth season with a 3-9 record. Clearly, that's not the only possibility for the Jayhawks, who, with a veteran group mixed with some new faces, could finish with more or certainly even fewer victories than the three Keegan's predicting. That's where the rest of us come in. Over the next three days we'll look at three more possible win totals for the 2018 Kansas football team, which opens the regular season at 6 p.m. Saturday night at home against Nicholls.

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The case for 0 or 1 win for the University of Kansas football team during the 2018 season can be best made by using historical evidence.

Since David Beaty took over as head coach, the Jayhawks have gone 3-33 over the course of three years. In that time they have defeated just one FBS opponent and even lost to an FCS foe in Beaty’s debut.

That recent track record tells us that it will be tough to expect Kansas to beat an FBS team in 2018. Nicholls State, which is ranked No. 17 in the FCS preseason poll, is no cakewalk in the season opener, either. In fact, Nicholls State was tied with Texas A&M in the fourth quarter when the two teams met last year.

Kansas also lost every conference game in 2017 by an average of 32 points per game. The program still hasn’t won a road contest since Sept. 12, 2009, a streak that now spans 46 consecutive road losses.

All of this would indicate that it will be difficult for the Jayhawks to make a monumental leap this fall. The season opener will be tougher than expected, the Big 12 schedule will be daunting once again and any road contest will prove to be a tall task.

On paper, Kansas has an improved team with several returning starters and an exciting group of newcomers.

Yet the Jayhawks only have a favorable win probability in two games, according to S&P+ ratings, which Bill Connelly highlights in his preview for SB Nation. Per S&P+, Kansas has a 82 percent win probability in the season opener and a 53 percent win probability at Central Michigan in the second week of the season.

In addition, Kansas has just one other game with a win probability higher than 28 percent, and that is against Rutgers (44 percent) in the final game of nonconference play.

The schedule doesn’t bode well for the Jayhawks to win more than three games for the first time since 2009. Since then, they also have only won three games in just three of those years. And finding a second win isn’t even a lock for a team currently on an 11-game losing streak.

Because of all that, I find it hard to predict more than one win for the 2018 season.

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