What Week 1 taught us about the Kansas football program's early-season schedule
It’s been years since Kansas football fans looked ahead at the Jayhawks’ schedule with any kind of optimism and anticipation, so let’s take advantage of it while it’s here.
Who knows how long it will last?
Week 1 was kind to the Jayhawks, who blasted visiting Tennessee Tech the way they should have and looked good doing it.
But there was more to the Week 1 schedule than just that 56-10 final score in Lawrence that caught the attention of KU fans. Kansas’ next two opponents also put up noteworthy efforts in the 2022 season’s opening week, one of them a loss and the other a triple-overtime squeaker.
The loss belonged to West Virginia, which traveled to Pitt to renew The Backyard Brawl rivalry and wound up losing in the final minutes.
WVU played well at times and looked particularly good running the ball, but the Mountaineers also showed they were capable of beating themselves. Mistakes and missed opportunities were a big part of the game, which WVU lost by a touchdown.
There are two ways to look at the outcome if you’re a Kansas fan. The first is that West Virginia is vulnerable and they’ve proven they can be beaten and may be dealing with a lack of confidence entering Week 2. The second is that the Mountaineers are pissed. And who better to take out all of that opening-week anger and frustration on than the Kansas Jayhawks in your home opener.
Either is entirely possible, but neither makes this game an easy challenge for Kansas. Oddsmakers in Las Vegas put the point spread at West Virginia -13 when the Week 2 lines came out, and the line moved up from there.
It seems fair to say this is a game in which Kansas can compete but we don’t know yet if it’s fair to call it a game Kansas can win. If the Jayhawks do pull off the upset, that in itself will change a ton about the way we look at the rest of the season.
For now, though, even with the loss at Pitt in WVU’s rearview mirror, it seems like a situation where we have to see KU pull off a win like this to believe it’s possible.
The other Week 1 result that was interesting to say the least came in Houston and with the 24th-ranked Cougars, who needed three overtimes to hold off UT-San Antonio, 37-35, in their season opener at the Alamodome.
KU travels to Houston in Week 3 and many have pegged that one as a potential blowout win for Houston. It still might be. But there’s no doubt that UH’s Week 1 struggle at least raised some eyebrows.
Before you get too excited about UTSA’s near upset, let’s take a closer look at the Roadrunners.
They were coming off of a 12-2 season in 2021 during which they won a Conference-USA title. In addition to that, they received one vote in the 2022 preseason coaches poll, making them “ranked” higher than either KU or West Virginia.
There’s more. UTSA was the preseason favorite to win Conference-USA and seniors Frank Harris and Rashad Wisdom were voted as the C-USA Offensive and Defensive Players of the Year.
So, it’s not as if Houston was playing some chump last week. The Roadrunners, which have Jalen Wilson’s younger brother Jace, a freshman, on the 2022 roster this season have talent and are a pretty veteran team with a culture of winning.
Judge Houston by its Week 1 barnburner at your own risk.
KU will play at West Virginia at 5 p.m. Saturday and will travel to Houston on Sept. 17 to face the Cougars at 3 p.m.
Just for fun, here’s a quick look at how KU’s nine other 2022 opponents fared in Week 1:
Duke – Blanked Temple 30-0 at home, cruising to a 24-0 halftime leading and coasting from there.
Iowa State – Rolled to an efficient and methodical 42-10 win over Southeast Missouri at home.
TCU – Traveled to Colorado and used a big second half to hammer the Buffs, 38-13. TCU led just 7-6 at halftime but outscored CU 31-7 in the final two quarters.
Oklahoma – Rocked UTEP 45-13 at home, winning the first and third quarters by the combined score of 35-0.
Baylor – Pounded Albany 69-10 in Waco, Texas.
Oklahoma State – Topped Central Michigan 58-44 at home after building a 44-15 halftime lead and getting outscored 29-14 in the second half.
Texas Tech – Rolled past Murray State at home, 63-10, behind the firepower of first-year coach Joey McGuire’s high-octane offense.
Texas – Cruised to an easy home win over Louisiana Monroe, 52-10.
Kansas State – Blanked South Dakota 34-0, scoring 20 points in the first quarter to set the tone for the easy victory.