It’s finally here. It’s been a slow offseason with most KU players staying out of the news, Brock Berglund notwithstanding. Most position battles came and went just about expected and it seems to me that the Jayhawks fanbase is seemingly taking expectations for this season in stride. With Berglund most decidedly not seeing playing time this year, it opens the door for Jordan Webb to really grab a stranglehold on the starting position. However, this also opens up the door for Mike Cummings to possibly see some time at QB if Webb starts to falter.
That said, going in to the start of this season this weekend we know what product KU is going to be putting on the field. That’s why we’re going to take a look at the entire schedule and try to assess KU’s shot of coming away with a victorious. It’s hard to say one way or another which way this season will go coming off of last season and having so many uncertainties, but that’s why prognostication is fun, because nobody knows how things are going to go until they go, you with me? Alright, let’s take a look.
9/3/2011 – McNeese State – Season opener, home game, FCS opponent, this all makes for a game that SHOULD be a clear victory. Now, normally I would just chalk this up and move on, but if KU comes out and is as hapless as they were last year against North Dakota State, then they are in for some trouble. My guess after some continuity issues, KU will likely find a way to get a victory and start the season off right.
9/10/2011 – Northern Illinois – This is a game that most people probably don’t think will be as hard as it will be. NIU has put out a good product here over the last decade and they could easily take a victory from KU, in fact, I think that they will. I imagine that this will turn out like the Southern Miss game, KU will stick around for a half or 3 quarters, and then NIU will pull away.
9/17/2011 – @ Georgia Tech – This was a HUGE victory for KU last year in the second game of the season. Without this victory, KU has double digit losses and the season has a much worse outlook. I don’t imagine the same scenario to play out again, I expect GT to be pissed about what happened last year and this will most likely end in a loss.
10/1/2011 – Texas Tech – Tech has quietly but together a good squad. People need to remember that Tommy Tuberville didn’t get fired from Auburn because he was a bad coach, he can coach and recruit. TTU is just better than KU on a program level right now, and assuming they don’t overlook the Jayhawks, playing in Lawrence, they should easily come away with a victory.
10/8/2011 – @ Oklahoma State – OK State has a REAL good top 10 squad this year and KU has about as little of a chance as anyone can have taking this game in Stillwater. Not much to say here, KU will look overmatched in this game.
10/15/2011 – Oklahoma – The #1 team in the country (at least right now) will come to Lawrence most likely undefeated and the Jayhawks will have their work cut out for them. I don’t see any plausible scenario in which KU would come away with a victory. Oklahoma overmatches just about any team in the country, let alone the Jayhawks, so there isn’t much more to discuss now.
10/22/2011 – Kansas State – Kansas State will most likely have a better team than the Jayhawks, but being in Lawrence and a rivalry game, I give Kansas a good shot at this one. Matter of fact, I think that they will come away victorious. K-State is going to be looking past this as KU will most likely be 1-5 at this point, and the Jayhawks will use their homefield advantage to make this one count.
10/29/2011 – @ Texas – Texas had a down year last year, but I don’t expect that continue. Being in Austin I see this as almost certainly a loss for the Jayhawks.
11/5/2011 – @ Iowa State – This is another winnable game for the Jayhawks. While the Cyclones took home a victory last year in Lawrence, I don’t think they are the team they were last year and I think KU will have improved enough to grab another victory from ISU.
11/12/2011 – Baylor – Baylor had a good year last year and Robert Griffin is a special talent at QB. As goes Robert Griffin, so go the Bears. I don’t imagine that Baylor is going to be a force this year, but I also think they will probably be better than KU. That said, I do think that KU has a chance. Ultimately though, chalk this one up as a loss.
11/19/2011 – Texas A&M – A&M is primed for a big year and if they are that means they have to win the games in which they overmatch their opponent and this is one of them. TAMU has quite a bit more talent than the Jayhawks and will likely have a lot of momentum as they continue to fight for the Big XII crown at this point in the season. Another loss for the ‘Hawks.
11/26/2011 – Missouri – The annual Border War Showdown at Arrowhead. MU is another team that outmans the Jayhawks and I don’t see this turning out well for the Jayhawks. While you never know what can happen with a rivalry game, the talent disparity is too much to hope for much more than being competitive.
Now, while this may seem overly pessimistic, I’m really just trying to be realistic. I have faith in Turner Gill and I like where he is trying to take this program but they just are not where they need to be right now. Another year or two and things should start to take shape for Gill, I imagine this year the wins won’t be a lot more, but the team should be competitive. The 50 point blowout losses to the likes of K-State and Baylor shouldn’t be happening and I would imagine those games turn into 30-21 type losses where the ‘Hawks are in those games for much longer.
For those keeping track my prediction leaves the Jayhawks at 3-9 with a 2-7 conference record. While this is the same record as last year, I expect us to see a lot more positive things from this team this year. I think it’s important to keep in mind, this is not a year where winning games is the measuring stick, this is a year in which we will measure this team by how competitive they are and how much they improve from McNeese State to Missouri. Hopefully those things will look positive and the Jayhawks can find themselves competing for a bowl game in 2012 and set their sights higher and higher after that.