The record might not have shown it, but Kansas was actually really decent last year, especially towards the end of the year, where the took Kansas State, Oklahoma, and Texas to the limit three weeks in a row. The Jayhawks didn’t pull the upset in any of those three, but being in a position to win late in three games where they were a 20 point underdog on average showed me some massive improvement from their loss to Nicholls State at the start of the year.
Unfortunately, a lot of the key pieces from 2018 are gone, and the new head coach is Les Miles. The Mad Hatter will try and completely revamp this team with recruiting, but the talent isn’t there to have any goals other than “don’t be the worst team in the power five” this year.
Miles brought in former Texas A&M and Mississippi State OC Les Koenning to take control of the offense. Koenning is that type of coach that still has the old school mentality, and that may work with an offense built around the legitimately great Pooka Williams (over 1,400 yards combined rushing/receiving, nine combined touchdowns, seven (!) yards per carry) who will be back after only a one-game suspension post-avoiding domestic battery charges earlier this year.
His backups, Khalil Herbert and Dom Williams, were solid last year, and three starters return on the line including all-conference left tackle Hakeem Adeniji.
Where we run into trouble is the passing, game, where dual-threat Pitt transfer Thomas MacVittie is the likely starter. Three of the top four receivers are gone, but there is still some talent in the unit there. The QB situation is a complete unknown and Pooka may face regression to the mean after an extraordinary freshman year, but I think the offense will be solid.
On defense, the front seven goes under an entire reboot, with just one guy who started more than three games back, and he was far from impressive. They add Missouri transfer Caleb Sampson at NT and a JUCO transfer at end, but the defense will really struggle.
In the secondary, the good news is they get pretty much everybody back as opposed to nobody, the downside is that the pass defense was really bad last year. This has the potential to be the worst defense in the power five.
I don’t really have any faith in coordinator hire DJ Eliot to turn things around on defense, and the offense is a mixed bag at best. After showing some improvement last year, we may be back to the same old Kansas in 2019, but Miles will try and turn things around as he gets “his guys” in soon.
|Date||Opponent||OPp. rank||Proj. Margin|
|13-Sep||at boston college||64||-7.5|
|16-Nov||at oklahoma state||26||-13.4|
|23-Nov||at iowa state||31||-12.1|
Average Projected Record: 4.3 wins, 7.7 losses (2.2 wins, 6.8 losses)