Sean’s Unreliable Prediction: Kansas Jayhawks
My preview of the 2011 football season for the Kansas Jayhawks.
2nd year Head Coach Turner Gill will be looking to start this season off better than he did last year. After losing your first home game as a Head Coach for the Jayhawks to North Dakota State, things couldn't start much worse.
Kansas was just terrible last year. They only scored 24 points over the final 3 games and only got above 16 points in 3 games in the high scoring Big 12, and that just isn't going to cut it. This team needs major rebuilding and it's going to take time. Don't expect Turner Gill to lead the Jayhawks to another Orange Bowl anytime soon, but he does have some good pieces in place to start things off.
The Jayhawks need to pick a clear starter for quarterback. Last year's QB-ing by committee clearly didn't work; dropping from the 7th best passing attack in 2009 to 103rd in 2010. Jordan Webb is the projected starter this year for the Jayhawks. He threw for 1195 yards, 7 TD's and 8 INT's in 2010, while splitting time with Quin Mecham and Kale Pick. The battle is between Webb and Mecham for the starting job as Pick was moved over to WR during the offseason. However, the QB battle may be blown to pieces with the arrival of freshman Brock Berglund, but that depends on Berglund's legal issues. The Jayhawks will most certainly rely on returning RB Jame Sims, who rushed for 742 last year on this ineffective offense.
The Jayhawks used the 4-2-5 last year, and you could see the growing pains. Now the Jayhawks are breaking in a new DC after Carl Torbush retired after being diagnosed with cancer. Former cornerback's coach Vic Shealy was promoted to the DC and he has one of the few strengths of this team. If anything could be called a strength for the Jayhawks it would be the LB position. Transfers Darius Willis (Buffalo) and Malcolm Walker (junior college) are expected to come in and make an immediate impact. With this strength at LB don't be surprised if you see the Jayhawks switch from the 4-2-5 to the 3-4.
The Jayhawks start the season with 2 legitimate shots to win at home, hosting McNeese State and Northern Illinois, but then they travel to Atlanta to face Georgia Tech. The Jayhawks catch a break the following week, getting a bye before starting conference play with the Red Raiders, giving them time to prepare for the upset. Things don't get easier, having the play the Oklahoma schools immediately following Tech. However, they have a chance to contend for a bowl game getting to host in-state rival Kansas State, Baylor and traveling to Iowa State. Unfortunately, I think they'll need a couple upsets to play in December.
Texas Tech 10/1
If the Jayhawks can pull off the upset against the Red Raiders, then they have a legitimate shot to contend for a bowl game. With the bye week, the Jayhawks are given plenty of time to prepare for Tuberville's Red Raiders and they neeif they start off on the right foot with Tech.
All in All:
The Jayhawks are still a few years away from being competitive in the Big 12. This looks to be another down year for Kansas with very little chance of making a bowl. The fans will have to suffer through another down year with very few bright spots.
Schedule: 3-9 (No Bowl)
9/3 McNeese State - Win
9/10 Northern Illinois - Win
9/17 @ Georgia Tech - Loss
10/1 Texas Tech - Loss
10/8 @ Oklahoma State - Loss
10/15 Oklahoma - Loss
10/22 Kansas State - Win
10/29 @ Texas - Loss
11/5 @ Iowa State - Loss
11/12 Baylor - Loss
11/19 @ Texas A&M - Loss
11/26 Missouri (in KC) - Loss