No. 1: South Dakota Coyotes at Kansas football: Week 1 in Lawrence, Kansas
Kansas versus South Dakota has so much meaning. To most, either one of these teams would be a good warm up game, but to both these teams it is a statement. South Dakota, who plays in the Missouri Valley Conference, did not get to play a full season last year due to the pandemic.
I would imagine the players are chomping at the bit to get out and play a full season. Some players to keep an eye on in this game from South Dakota are Caleb Vander Esch a wide out along with linebacker Brock Mogensen.
These players were named to 2021 preseason all-Missouri Valley Football Conference. Some others who received honorable mention are Jacob Matthews a defensive lineman, Jack Cochrane, and cornerback Myles Harden.
For the Kansas football program, this game is not only the start to a new season but the start of a new coaching staff, a new culture, and a new identity.
New players are joining up with returning players. Lance Leipold takes over the Kansas program bringing in some new coaches and will be running a new offense. Another reason this is such a big game is because it will be in front of the Kansas faithful in Memorial Stadium located in Lawrence.
The eyes will be on Kansas for multiple reasons.
Like I stated previously, there’s a lot of new we can expect, but with the two biggest teams in the conference leaving for the SEC it will be a good starting point to demonstrate to other conferences the tides are turning in Lawrence.
This will be a game for the players to work off the rust off. Going from a very strange season in which the pandemic created issues for football programs to getting back into the routine of a football season.
I believe the attention that will be on this game goes beyond the football field which is why it comes in at #1 on my list.