7 Kansas opponents ranked or receiving votes in first college football coaches poll of 2022
Polls are a pretty unscientific way to rank teams but they’re always good for sparking a little discussion.
That’s what made Monday’s college football coaches poll — the first one released for the 2022 season — interesting even for fans of a program as far down the line as Kansas.
No, the Jayhawks aren’t ranked. Obviously. Nope. And KU’s not receiving votes either. Of course.
But seven of the teams on the Jayhawks’ 2022 schedule are either ranked or receiving votes, and that’s a not-so-subtle reminder of the challenge that lies ahead for Lance Leipold’s Jayhawks in Year 2.
Oklahoma, which could be competing as a member of the Big 12 Conference for the final season, is the highest-ranked KU opponent entering the 2022 season. The Sooners landed at No. 9 in the first coaches poll of the season.
Baylor came next at No. 10, followed by Oklahoma State at No. 11. After opening the season with just one ranked opponent in the first six weeks, KU will play OU, Baylor and Oklahoma State in three consecutive weeks from Oct. 15 to Nov. 5, with the only bye week of the season mixed in on Oct. 29.
Texas, which, somehow, received a first-place vote in the poll, came in at No. 18 and Week 3 opponent Houston, which will be a nonconference game for now but soon will be on KU’s conference schedule, is ranked No. 25.
After that, Kansas State and Iowa State are both receiving votes.
That leaves Tennessee Tech, West Virginia, Duke, TCU and Texas Tech as the only teams on KU’s schedule who are not in the top-25 conversation this preseason.
If that doesn’t remind you how big of a challenge winning football games will be for the Jayhawks this fall, it’s hard to know what will.
While we’re talking about the future, it’s worth noting that fellow-future Big 12 foes Cincinnati (No. 22), BYU and Central Florida (both receiving votes) are also in the 2022 preseason conversation, as well.
A lot was made about the Big 12’s potential struggle to replace Oklahoma and Texas when the two Big 12 powerhouses announced their plans to leave for the SEC. But this year’s preseason poll, when considering the top 25 and teams receiving votes, features eight programs that will be in the Big 12 in 2023.
That’s the same number as the Big Ten and one less program than the ACC. It’s also three more schools in the mix than the Pac-12 has. Again, that’s not counting Oklahoma or Texas, which brings the future SEC’s total to 14.
That’s all as of today, of course. With conference realignment seemingly ongoing and conferences and television networks continuing to kick the tires on reshuffling the deck, that all could change and things could look completely different a year from now.
Either way, one thing is clear: the Jayhawks have their work cut out for them, and it will be no small feat if they’re able to start adding more wins to their record in the coming years.