Kansas football: What we should expect from Jayhawks in season opener

Now that we know Kansas football will be taking on the Southern Illinois Salukis, we can set some expectations for the Jayhawks in their season opener.

Kansas football has struggled to beat non-conference opponents in recent years. They nearly blew their season opener last season against Indiana State, they were beaten last season by Coastal Carolina, and they were defeated by Nicholls State in 2018. The Jayhawks will kick off the 2020 season against Southern Illinois on August 29, and Kansas needs to start with a win.

Last year, Southern Illinois finished their 2019 season 7-5, and they are ranked No. 19 in Athlon’s Preseason FCS Top 25 for 2020. The Salukis won’t be a pushover for Kansas, but the Jayhawks should be able to win comfortably considering they are a Power Five conference team and the game is in Lawerence.

Then again, this is Kansas football we’re talking about.

The Jayhawks need to be able to win these “buy games” without any sweat if they’re going to even give themselves a chance at ever making a bowl game or change their image. Schools like Indiana State, Coastal Carolina, and Southern Illinois are teams that no Power Five teams should struggle with, so Kansas must step up.

Since this offseason has been so erratic and both teams have lost a lot of practice time, it’d probably be smart to expect a somewhat sloppy game from both squads. The game is also a week earlier than Kansas was originally going to play against New Hampshire, so that could impact the Jayhawks as well.

Looking at college football as a whole, it’ll be really interesting to see how the teams perform compared to a “normal” year.

While there’s still a chance that COVID-19 could end the 2020 football season, it’s exciting to think that the Kansas Jayhawks will be playing football next month. Perhaps all this chaos will be enough to get Kansas out of the Big 12 basement, and back to respectability. If that’s the case, it all starts on August 29 against Southern Illinois.