That is right, Jayhawk Nation, a prediction the Kansas Jayhawks will be bowling this year. With a 1-11 record, 0-9 in conference last year, a bowl game might seem nothing more than a Kansas fans fantasy.
The local media’s predictions are all over the road for Kansas. It seems nobody really knows what to expect but most agree Kansas will be improved. The Jayhawks might be better on the field, but not necessarily in the win/loss column. This is what most want to safely predict.
So what will the final record be? It will be 6-6! This is more than wild speculation or Jayhawk Dreaming, but an actual possibility. If Charlie Weis and staff can pull off a little Memorial Magic along with the hard work they have put in since last season, 6-6 is a realistic possibility. Here are five reasons to get that new big screen TV for Christmas and the KU Football replica jersey out for Bowl Season.
1. The Big 12 is Down. With the stampeding of Kansas State at home in game one, courtesy of North Dakota State, it appears the reigning Big 12 Champs are not as strong as last year. Many, myself included, acknowledge the Wildcats had a fantastic season last year, but it might have been one of the best magic acts of Bill Snyder’s career. North Dakota State is a terrific team, but Snyder rarely loses at home especially with weeks to prepare.
After realignment, the Big 12 appeared be a lock powerhouse football conference but that has not completely materialized to date. WVU, Texas, Texas Tech, and OU simply are not what they once were. The door is wide open for a few “sneaky wins”, which were largely not possible before. Don’t forget Kansas was knocking on the door of several upsets last year and certainly in most every game late, as they lost 5 games by one possession or less.
2. Quarterback. Jake Heaps, by all accounts is a difference maker. He may not be the Texas Gunslinger, Todd Reesing, that KU fans fell in love with, but he is a huge improvement over the inaccurate, immobile, injured, and inept Dane Crist of a year ago
Heaps has appeared to mature considerably since his early days at BYU and has all of the athletic tools to be successful versus Big 12 defenses. Expect a vast improvement in offensive production as opponents will have to prepare a defensive plan for a legitimate Kansas aerial attack.
and everybody knows it. With Kansas having the ability to keep teams honest with the passing game James Sims and company could be even more effective than last year which would be very impressive considering running was the only offense available last year and defenses knew it.
4. Recruiting. Getting what appears to be some of the best junior college talent in the country, Coach Weis will play kids who are proven performers but sill hungry to make a splash on a bigger stage. Weis appears to have has taken a page out of the Bill Snyder handbook with this strategy.
With the multiple highly talented junior college athletes he has, most of them qualified and ready to play at the same time which is no small feat in itself. This crop of recruits are very excited to play for Weis and his staff of highly pedigreed coaches. A frequent saying heard around Lawrence this off season has been “getting ready to shock the world”!
5. Coaching Staff. With the travesty that was the Turner Gill era, the current staff had an uphill challenge in 2012. While there was some talent, it was disorganized, beaten down, and generally lacking in talent. Weis has changed that. After a thorough house cleaning, better players, and a year of Big 12 experience under their collective belts, it could be argued Kansas sports the strongest staff top to bottom in the conference.
What cannot be questioned is Weis and company are talking to kids in recruiting that Gill and Kansas fans could only dream of prior to their arrival. Even at 1-11, Weis and his staff got more out of the 2012 roster than most could have reasonably expected.
Is this prediction overly bold? Maybe. Is it going out on a limb? Not as much as one might think. It is going to be an entertaining year for Kansas Football. There will be some heart breaking losses but some exhilarating wins. Six of them in fact, and the Hawks will be bowling. You heard it here first, Jayhawk Nation.
ROCK CHALK JAYHAWK!