2022 Kansas Jayhawks Preview

by Matt Fargo

Kansas Jayhawks

2021-22 Season Record 2-10 (1-8 Big 12) - 4-8-0 ATS - 7-5-0 O/U

Returning Starters

Offense - 9
Defense - 8

Overview

Kansas has been the doormat of the Big 12 for 13 straight years as it has gone 8-106 in the conference over that stretch and has never won more than one game in a season. The Jayhawks last bowl game was in 2008 when they finished 8-5 and it seems like forever ago when they went 12-1 in 2007 that included a win in the Orange Bowl that resulted in a ranking of No. 7 in the final AP Poll. They are coming off a 2-10 season, the first for head coach Lance Leipold but things were different toward the end. After defeating South Dakota in the opener, it was blowout after blowout after blowout, eight straight by double-digits to be exact, but then something happened. Kansas defeated Texas in a wild 57-56 overtime upset and then lost its final two games by just nine points combined. It now has an opportunity to carry that positive energy into this season and see where it can go. And there is nowhere to go but up.

Offense

There was nothing good about the offense as Kansas finished No. 113 overall and No. 111 in scoring. It put up 17 points or fewer in half of their contests but the Jayhawks had three of their four highest point totals in the last three games. Now with nine starters back and with a second straight decent recruiting class, things have a chance to improve. Quarterback Jalon Daniels played sporadically in two September games but came in against Kansas St. and showed promise and started those final three games where he completed 69.2 percent of his passes for 860 yards with seven touchdowns and three interceptions and he is the man going forward. There is not much star power at receiver but there is talent and plenty of experience that came late in the season. Four starters are back on the offensive line which will improve the running game and create some balance as leading rusher Devin Neal and his 707 yards is back.

Defense

As bad as the offense was, the defense was worse as the Jayhawks were No. 129 in total defense, scoring defense and rushing defense and the only reason they were No. 80 in passing defense was because teams did not have to throw. Like the other side, the defense has a chance to be a lot better with eight starters back and increased depth with a lot of key transfers that will get a ton of time. The three top tacklers are back, two from the linebacking corps with Rich Miller, Jr. and Gavin Potter combining for 157 tackles to form a solid nucleus. The secondary should be greatly improved as safety Kenny Logan who led the Jayhawks with 111 tackles returns and they get two transfers who played big roles on their old teams to solidify the backfield. The defensive line was not good but three starters are back along with another key transfer so experience should make improvements up front and get a better pass rush.

2022 Season Outlook

There have been seven coaches on the Kansas sideline during this putrid 13-year stretch and while a 2-10 season is not going to instill much confidence into the fanbase, good things happened down the stretch and if Leipold was able to turn things around in Buffalo, he has a chance to do it here but it will be small steps. Kansas opens with Tennessee Tech and while this is an easy game for most teams, typically that is not the case here but a blowout could do wonders with two road games on deck. The Big 12 schedule is difficult as usual but there are games to keep close. Betting a Kansas over usually came down to the final two or three games and most of the time it did not turn out good but this could be the year where there is no sweat in November. The O/U win total this season is 2.5 and this team could feasibly be 3-1 in its first four home games and an upset on the road could cement the over for a stress free November. 

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