Kansas primed for three football victories
Once Las Vegas sets a line on “college football win totals” for those wishing to wage a guess as to how many games a particular college football team will win in a given season: Guess the over, guess the under, abstain.
In 2015, I advised guessing the under when Las Vegas set KU’s total at 1.5 and the Jayhawks went 0-12. In 2016, I advised abstaining when Vegas kept the total at 1.5. The come-from-behind, upset victory against Texas sent the “over” guessers home winners, giving me a 1-0-1 mark in two seasons of guessing.
Vegas has set the number at 2.5 for Kansas. Take the over, even against an extremely difficult schedule. The beauty of such a guess is that you don’t have to correctly pick which games, just the total.
The season-opener against Southeast Missouri State should not be in question. The Redhawks went 3-8 last season, their only victories coming against Murray State, Eastern Illinois and Austin Peay. Although SEMO remained competitive in every game, its biggest margin of defeat coming at the hands of Memphis, 35-17, in Week 1, KU should be beyond stumbling against a so-so FCS foe.
Week 2, provides the next-best chance at a victory. Central Michigan must replace Cooper Rush, a four-year starter at quarterback. Michigan transfer Shane Morris is a candidate for the job.
The Chippewas won’t lack confidence against Kansas in Lawrence, having defeated Oklahoma State, 30-27, in Stillwater last season and riding a two-year streak of making it to bowl games.
Even so, Kansas should be a slight favorite, maybe as much as a field goal, if impressive enough against SEMO.
Finding a third victory on the schedule is where it gets a little sticky. Then again, a year ago not many would have picked Kansas to score its first victory against Texas since 1938.
Week 3, a road game against Ohio, offers a decent shot at victory, but I’ll skip to Week 4 in guessing at the opponent for the third victory: Texas Tech.
Nic Shimonek threw for 271 yards and four touchdowns on a night Patrick Mahomes also threw for four touchdowns against the Kansas defense and Shimonek will have a whole game to see what he can do against the Jayhawks in Lawrence, a scary proposition.
Kansas didn’t have what it took to get into a shootout with the Red Raiders last season and punted on its first six possessions against a defense most of the rest of the Big 12 shredded.
KU has more playmakers and Tech's defense won't be any better, maybe even a little worse.