Kansas football: The Jayhawks are still widely disrespected, and that’s good

Kansas football (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)
Kansas football (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images) /

Despite a win over Texas Tech last Saturday and a near win over Texas on the road two weeks ago, Kansas football still isn’t getting the respect it deserves.

Look, Kansas football has been awful for the past decade and everyone knows it. A winless season, an inability to beat FCS and Group of Five teams consistently, and terrible coaching have all led to the perception of Kansas being inferior.

When athletic director Jeff Long hired Les Miles to be the fifth head football coach in 10 years, it brought some much-needed excitement to the program. The Jayhawks started the season 2-1, including an embarrassing home loss to Coastal Carolina, and then an astonishing win on the road against Boston College. Then, the Jayhawks limped into their first bye-week having started Big 12 play 0-3.

During the bye week, Les Miles made a coaching change that could very well turn the entire program around. Miles promoted up and comer Brent Dearmon to the offensive coordinator position, in what would be the best coaching decision Miles has made in his time with Kansas football.

Kansas took on Texas in Dearmon’s division one offensive coordinator debut, and he did not disappoint. The Jayhawks scored 48 points and totaled 569 yards of total offense against the Longhorns, nearly coming away with the win.

After Texas, Kansas got it done the following week against the Red Raiders. Once again, the Jayhawks racked up over 500 yards of offense, scoring 37 points on Texas Tech.

In his two games as the offensive coordinator, Dearmon has the Kansas offense averaging 548 yards and 43 points per game. Yes, it’s a small sample size, but there’s been nothing lucky about the way Kansas offense has played under Dearmon. The change is real.

Despite an obvious shift, Kansas football still isn’t getting the respect it deserves. Maybe it’s because the Texas game was on Longhorn Network and nobody saw it, or maybe people just don’t care to watch Kansas football based on their perception of the team over the past 10 years.

Look at Twitter, Facebook, or other platforms of public opinion. You’ll see lots of folks that still don’t buy the Jayhawks as being a threat, but that’s not a bad thing. Based on the unique access of ESPN+’s Miles to Go, this team has a tough-minded “us against them” mentality.

For example, Kansas felt disrespected by a particular quote from Texas head coach Tom Herman. In Herman’s press conference before playing the Jayhawks he said: “We actually play a game this week?” While the quote was partially taken out of context if that’s what it takes to get this team motivated then so be it.

The Jayhawks are on the verge of becoming a decent team in the Big 12, and let’s face it, that’s good enough for Kansas football fans (for now). A win this week against in-state rival Kansas State in the Sunflower Showdown would go a long way in the development of the program, as well as help legitimize the program.

Related Story. Three takeaways from Jayhawks’ first Big 12 win. light

“[Kansas football] can handle significant emotional games.” – Les Miles

With Kansas natives playing on both sides of the ball, this game is personal for some players, and it certainly matters to the fans. Both teams in transitional phases, so the winner will have taken the first step in becoming the dominant team in the state of Kansas. The winner will also have an edge in recruiting in-state athletes since both coaches are new to the state. The game is rumored to be a sellout and is set to kickoff at 2:20 and be broadcast on FS1.