Kansas football: Which conference games are most win-able for Jayhawks?

(Photo by Ed Zurga/Getty Images)
(Photo by Ed Zurga/Getty Images) /

The Kansas football program is riding high after back-to-back wins for the first time in, what seems like, centuries. How daunting does the Big 12 schedule look for the Jayhawks?

The defensive unit for the Jayhawks has largely been overlooked with victories that have displayed a competent offensive unit. And while they certainly deserve their due, the offense has been so dismal during the David Beaty-era, that the production offensively has taken center stage.

A continued quarterback battle, combined with tons of rushing yards from three or four running backs, will fill the news surrounding the football program, but will any of it matter come this weekend and beyond as the conference schedule kicks off?

The Charlie Weis and even Turner Gill led Kansas teams won non-conference games and in fact, they were both fired based of a dwindling amount of success in the non-conference. However, Beaty’s teams have struggled significantly at keeping any sort of positive trends against any opponent, non-conference or other.

Here we will summarize the potential of a Jayhawks victory against its Big 12 opponents this season, beginning with Baylor this weekend.

@ Baylor | Sept. 22nd

Much like Kansas, the Bears are looking to start strong in the Big 12 conference, given their fall from grace last season, which saw the team finish with a 1-11 record.

Baylor comes into this weekend’s contest with a 2-1 record, with their loss coming to Duke, and they are looking to make a statement towards returning to the top of the conference sooner than later.

Kansas certainly has a chance in this contest, but the key will be to continue to limit turnovers and get the ground game going early. The focus of Baylor’s defense will likely be to slow down running back Pooka Williams Co., so the outcome of this game may fall on the shoulders of quarterback’s Peyton Bender and Miles Kendrick.

Oklahoma State | Sept. 29th

OSU’s season outlook is to contend with the likes of Oklahoma and TCU for the conference championship. Coming off of a 10-3 season, in which they landed behind OU and TCU in the conference standings, they will be looking to roll through Lawrence and won’t look back.

As upbeat as Jayhawk fans are, this is a contest that is daunting, but it should not dampen the fire in the team’s eyes if they could pull off a surprise win against Baylor a week prior.

@ West Virginia | October 6th

Another unrealistic game for Kansas. Playing West Virginia in the past has seen some decent production from Kansas, but the travel and talent level of the Mountaineers should spell a second or third consecutive loss for the Jayhawks.

@ Texas Tech | October 20th

Man, can Beaty’s squad get a mid-season non-conference contest against Creighton’s football team* or something??? (Insert laughs here.)

Sure, the Red Raiders are not the team that they once were with Patrick Mahomes forcing college defensive coordinators to question all of their life choices, but they still have an incredibly potent offense.

This could be one of those Texas-type of games that the Jayhawks just stay competitive enough to give themselves a chance to pull together a shocking upset. But, on paper, this contest seems pretty cut and dry. This is a projected loss for Kansas.

*Editor’s Note: Creighton does not have a football team

TCU | October 27th

Not much to discuss here. Unless Bender and Kendrick become Tech’s Mahomes and former Baylor Bear Robert Griffin III, you may want to steer away from any “Beat TCU” hype and go check out a pumpkin patch or something instead.

Iowa State | November 3rd

Here we go. Having the Cyclones into Lawrence for a little scuffle may be the saving grace for Beaty’s flaming coaching seat at this point.

Yes, Iowa State made serious progress last season and was competitive against Oklahoma this past weekend, but they may be out of the race by this point in the season and the Jayhawks might be able to spring on the opportunity to steal a win at home.

@ Kansas State | November 10th

Is Beaty the next Bill Snyder? Admittedly, I have never thought so. But some of the program’s boosters and even Snyder himself have held high praise for the potential and “progress” that Beaty has made at Kansas.

As much as most of us would love a victory in Manhattan, KS *barf*, the Jayhawks may be outmatched by a more consistent and better developed squad.

Now, crazier things have happened in recent memory and Kansas may be able to fight fire with fire against the Wildcats. Given KSU’s offense relies mostly on its rushing attack, Kansas may be able to game-plan for a Kendrick-Williams offensive scheme that will allow the team to limit turnovers and ideally score consistently with Snyder’s offense.

@ Oklahoma | November 17th

How do I describe this? No Bueno.

Unless Kansas pulls a Looney Tunes and gets Gail Sayers to come back in an effort to defeat college football’s “MonStars”, this will be ugly.

Texas | November 23rd

Coming off of a certain loss against OU a week prior, Beaty may need this game to avoid instant termination. This is, of course, assuming that he isn’t replaced mid-season.

Texas has underwhelmed since the Mack Brown-era ended in 2013. Despite the Longhorns win over USC this past weekend, this is more of a reflection of how dismal the immediate future looks for the Trojans and less of the potential of Texas this season.

Don’t get me wrong, Texas should certainly win this game, but other than the Baylor game, this may be the most winnable opportunity for Beaty’s Jayhawks.

My projected Big 12 record for Kansas: 1-8 (3-9 overall)