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Posts tagged with 2020 College Football

KU football could finally be bowl eligible in 2020, but postseason berth is far from automatic

Kansas head coach Les Miles walks off the field after a timeout during the fourth quarter on Saturday, Nov. 2, 2019 at Memorial Stadium.

Kansas head coach Les Miles walks off the field after a timeout during the fourth quarter on Saturday, Nov. 2, 2019 at Memorial Stadium. by Nick Krug

As if 2020 weren’t already bizarre enough, it could conclude with the ever rebuilding Kansas football program bowl eligible — technically.

The Jayhawks haven’t won enough games to be automatically considered for a postseason invite since 2008, but the Division I Football Oversight Committee is recommending waiving bowl eligibility requirements for this muddled college football season.

The Division I Council would have to approve the idea when it meets in mid-October, but the waiver is expected to pass, making every FBS team bowl eligible — just for this year — thanks to the complications that surfaced as conferences took different approaches to playing during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Jayhawks haven’t sniffed the postseason since going 5-7 and missing out on a bowl berth in 2009, Mark Mangino’s final year with the program.

In the 10 years since then, neither Turner Gill, Charlie Weis, David Beaty nor Les Miles has been able to guide the team to any better than a 3-9 season.

While it will be exceedingly easier for teams to receive a bowl invitation this year, that doesn’t mean it’s time for KU to pop the champagne. It’s unlikely any bowl will have to get desperate and bring in a team that only won one or two games, or worse, went 0-for-the season.

That might have been the case had FBS conferences such as the Big Ten, Pac-12 and Mountain West stuck with their postponement plans of playing in the spring. Now that there are far more teams in the mix this this fall, it becomes easier for bowls to fill out those spots with winning — or just below .500 — teams.

This blanket bowl eligibility isn’t for the teams that struggle. Rather it helps clear the pathway for solid teams that end up on the wrong side of .500 because of this year’s unusual schedules.

The Big Ten is playing an eight-game conference-only schedule when it returns in late October. Now a Big Ten team with a difficult slate that competes throughout the abbreviated fall but ends up 3-5 can play in a bowl.

The Pac-12, which just reached its decision to return this week, won’t start playing until November, and its teams only get seven regular season games. A scenario where there are multiple 3-4 teams that caught some bad breaks is easy to envision.

And even with the SEC playing a 10-game conference-only schedule, you know there will be 4-6 teams that clearly look and perform better than the teams that finish at the bottom of the standings in other FBS leagues.

The good news for KU is that it doesn’t have to go 5-4 in Big 12 play to reach the typical minimum requirements for automatic bowl eligibility. But the Jayhawks are expected to be underdogs in every game left on their schedule after losing their opener at home to Coastal Carolina.

KU hasn’t won more than one game in Big 12 play since 2008, when Mangino coached Todd Reesing, Dezmon Briscoe and the Jayhawks to a 4-4 mark, and the Jayhawks beat Minnesota in the Insight Bowl to finish 8-5.

This year’s Jayhawks may be bowl eligible on a technicality, but they will have to go out and win at least three or four games, one would think, to end their postseason drought.

None by Ralph D. Russo

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Jayhawks eager to practice again

Kansas football head coach Les Miles wears a mask while walking around during an early August practice in the team's indoor facility.

Kansas football head coach Les Miles wears a mask while walking around during an early August practice in the team's indoor facility. by Photo courtesy of KU Athletics

On a busy Wednesday in the Big 12, University of Kansas Athletic Director Jeff Long spent a portion of his afternoon over at the football team’s indoor practice facility addressing the Jayhawks.

Hours after the conference officially announced its plans to try and play fall sports during the COVID-19 pandemic, Long gave the players an update of sorts while his audience sat spread out 10 feet apart and wearing masks.

Long told reporters during a video conference he left the session certain of one thing: the Jayhawks are eager to get back to practice.

Originally scheduled to open the season Aug. 29 versus Southern Illinois, KU was able to start its preseason camp earlier than many FBS programs throughout the country this summer. But a week into those preparations head coach Les Miles and his staff had to press pause because it became clear the Jayhawks wouldn’t be able to play that soon, with the Big 12 adopting a 10-game schedule and conference games starting later in September.

While all the possibilities got sorted out and the Big 12 ultimately decided to keep playing football after the Big Ten and Pac-12 opted out, the Jayhawks weren’t able to practice.

“They've been doing walkthroughs for the last several days. I don't think they've had their uniforms on,” Long shared. “When that date got moved back there was no reason to move forward with all the padded practices and such. So now we'll get back more to — Coach Miles will put together a plan, and I haven't seen it, but I'm sure he's got a dozen different plans of when they'll come back and when they start practicing in shells and then pads and getting ready for the start of the season.”

As of Thursday the Jayhawks still had five-plus weeks to go before their new season opener, set for Sept. 12 (reportedly versus Coastal Carolina).

NCAA rules limit how many times teams can practice during preseason camp, so KU took the necessary measures to avoid any missteps.

Long said KU football didn’t have to abandon preseason camp, Miles and his staff just had to adjust.

“They went with much more time with walkthroughs and non-padded practices. But again, as we get back to closer to a normal fall camp situation — which I don't know if it's today, tomorrow, this weekend — he'll start that progression of getting into pads and padded practices,” Long said.

Miles has yet to be made available for interviews this summer.

“We had already done the five-day acclimatization period long before. We don't have to start that again,” Long pointed out, regarding a map teams have to follow before going into full-blown practices in the preseason. “We've already passed through that. So really, Coach Miles has some flexibility. And candidly looking in, I think he's given our players a good break, and we'll build them to be ready for that first game.”

On Thursday afternoon, as seen on KU football's social media accounts, the Jayhawks were going through drills without pads.

None by Kansas Football

Long joked that the Jayhawks were more interested in getting back to regular camp practices than listening to him. Still, he said speaking with the team lifted his spirits.

“It made all the work behind the scenes here even that much more worthwhile,” Long said.

KU’s AD considered it a good starting point for a revised season, too.

“It feels good to be able to provide what we believe is a safe path forward for the young men to get to play college football,” he said.

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