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Kansas Jayhawks

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The expectations remain low for Kansas in David Beaty’s third season in charge after two wins the past two years, although there was some hope after upsetting Texas late in 2016. Offense is the main reason for hope with new offensive coordinator Doug Meacham (from TCU) expected to open things up.

But before any of that happens, a quarterback has to be decided. Carter Stanley took over last season (59.6% completion, 6 TDs, INTs), but he has competition with transfer Peyton Bender, who spent time at Washington State. The two will battle into the fall for the spot under center. A lot of the offensive hope will fall to quarterback in what is expected to be a pass-heavy group with the help of experience at receiver. Leading WRs Steven Sims (859 yards, 7 TDs) and LaQuvionte Gonzalez (729 yards, 3 TDs) are back and joined by Alabama transfer Daylon Charlot. The running game will have Taylor Martin (324 yards, 4 TDs) and Khalil Herbert (189 yards, 3 TDs) leading the way, but the line is the biggest question. If the front can’t figure it out around stud sophomore Hakeem Adeniji, this offense will struggle to get much better. There’s seemingly more talent there than previous versions, but it’s been awhile since this offense has been relevant.

The same can be said on the defensive side after the Jayhawks gave up 37.3 points per game a year ago. They were much better in the final few weeks, highlighted by the Texas win, but they’ll need to carry that performance over. The biggest thing will be improving a run defense that was gashed for almost 240 yards per game a year ago. There are pieces, but stud end Dorance Armstrong is more of a pass-rusher, while Daniel Wise is solid in the middle. There needs to be help in addition to those guys, though, and it will help that linebacker Joe Dineen returns to the mix after injury last season. The secondary is young, although a lot of those guys helped this unit get a tad better a year ago. Safety Mike Lee and juco transfer cornerback Hasan Defense will be looked at to keep this group from flailing, even with both being sophomores.

From the outside, the Jayhawks look to be in better position to win more games than the last five-plus years, but what exactly does that mean? This is still a Kansas team that hasn’t done anything relevant since 2008, having not won more than one conference game since then. To help, the schedule is extremely favorable and it wouldn’t be a stretch to suggest the Jayhawks could open the season at 3-0. While they lost at home to Ohio last year, that’s still a winnable game on the road. The Big 12 slate is a bit different, although getting an upset over WVU or Tech in their first two would be nice. Otherwise, the best chances for Jayhawks wins would either be at Iowa State or home against teams like K State or Baylor.

Kansas is a team no one wants to bet on because of what’s transpired over the last decade. The Jayhawks could reach four or even five wins with improved quarterback play and a better offense, but this team is still some ways out of a bowl appearance. As expected, KU has the worst odds in the Big 12 to win the title at +25000 (at 5Dimes Sportsbook).


2017 Kansas Jayhawks Football Schedule

Sept. 2 vs. Southeast Missouri State
Sept. 9 vs. Central Michigan
Sept. 16 at Ohio
Sept. 23 vs. West Virginia

Oct. 7 vs. Texas Tech
Oct. 14 at Iowa State
Oct. 21 at TCU

Oct. 28 vs. Kansas State
Nov. 4 vs. Baylor
Nov. 11 at Texas
Nov. 18 vs. Oklahoma
Nov. 25 at Oklahoma State

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