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Has the definition of success for Kansas football in 2022 changed? For some it has, for others it hasn't…

Kansas wide receiver Lawrence Arnold (2) runs for a first down against Oklahoma during the second half of an NCAA college football game Saturday, Oct. 15, 2022, in Norman, Okla. Oklahoma won 52-42. (AP Photo/Alonzo Adams)

Kansas wide receiver Lawrence Arnold (2) runs for a first down against Oklahoma during the second half of an NCAA college football game Saturday, Oct. 15, 2022, in Norman, Okla. Oklahoma won 52-42. (AP Photo/Alonzo Adams)

The Kansas football team has reached the point of the season where people have started to re-ask the question of what defines success in 2022.

It’s a good question.

The answer has likely changed for many of you. And there’s no doubt that the Jayhawks’ thrilling 5-0 start to the season has played a role in your thinking.

Still, there seem to be two schools of thought here.

The first group — and this one might be the biggest and loudest — is the group that likes to remind people that many of us thought that this Kansas squad was a 2-, 3- or 4-win team before the season began and that they already have exceeded those expectations.

The second group is made up of people who believe that the 5-0 start reset the bar and that determining whether the 2022 season was successful or not will be based largely on how the Jayhawks follow up the 5-game winning streak they opened the season with.

Is it possible that both sides are right?

There’s no doubt that what Kansas has done so far this season has been nothing short of spectacular. And winning five games in a row to open the season is only the half of it.

KU sold out three consecutive home games and won back-to-back games on the road. Lance Leipold’s Jayhawks jumped back into the national polls and were bona fide media darlings for a few weeks. Heck, ESPN’s College GameDay preview show even made a stop in Lawrence for football for the first time ever.

All of those accomplishments — and others — scream success for most programs during any season. And KU achieved them by the midway point.

So, yeah. Forgetting about what happens from here — good or bad — and committing to calling this season a huge success is OK in my book.

It’s also OK, though, if you expect more.

After all, Kansas football has been chasing its next bowl appearance for more than a decade, and during most seasons in that stretch, KU fans’ hopes of reaching a bowl were dashed by Week 2 or 3.

Getting to five wins — one win shy of bowl eligibility — and then coming up short would be a tough pill to swallow and certainly would skew the way some people look at the 2022 season. They’re not crazy. Perhaps with time, they, too, will be able to look back at the current season and view it as a serious success and clear step in the right direction.

But if disappointment is due and this team can’t get that sixth win this season, it seems fair — at least in the here and now — for the group that hoped for more after that hot start to be a little bummed.

None of this matters in the grand scheme of things, of course. It’s the players and coaches who determine the outcome of these games, and this Kansas roster is dealing with more than its share of significant and super-unfortunate injuries at the moment.

So you have to toss all of the factors into the equation when you’re deciding which camp you want to live in for the next month and a half.

Just don’t feel bad for picking one over the other. In fact, you probably shouldn’t even feel bad if you hop back and forth between the two.

It’s uncharted waters for Kansas football and its fans right now, and these Jayhawks, as banged up as they may be, still have at least five games to go to finish the story of the season.

Maybe it’s best to just wait until then to decide how successful 2022 was. Something tells me that will be much easier.

Comments

Armen Kurdian

We will get that sixth win if defense tightens up. We'll get to 8 wins.

1 month, 2 weeks ago

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Dirk Medema

It’s really not uncharted waters for Kansas football and its fans. We’ve been in similar situations before. The real question is how will the team and fans respond?

The last time we were 5-0, we also dealt with some unfortunate injuries, and began a decade long tailspin. The huge difference though was that coach didn’t talk with his top players when they were obviously upset. The witch hunt was just an excuse. I believe there have also been other times when we’ve gotten close but no cigar.

I’m recalling the primary criteria for success was being competitive in most games. I don’t think that’s changed and is still very much in play.

ESPN GameDay was not only in Larryville, it was also a HUGE success both on the hill and over the airwaves.

1 month, 2 weeks ago

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Edward Daub

The KU Defense took a giant step backwards last Saturday. The Oklahoma passing game was sharp. To make matters worse, the Oklahoma running game was powerful. Their "hurry up" offense gave us fits, KU defenders were scurrying to get lined up before the snaps.

Brian Borland and his defensive coaches have their work cut out for them. It also hurts that Gavin Potter quit the team. It also hurts that Cobee Bryant was injured when KU elected to guard the goal line. It also hurts that #7 Lorenzo McCaskill got his helmet knocked off three times.

I watched the Baylor at WVU game, won by WVU 43-40. The turning point was a cheap shot on the Baylor QB knocking him out of the game. Baylor showed me they have a high powered offense too. So, will the KU Defense be better prepared to handle the Baylor Bears? Time will tell.

Rock Chalk!

1 month, 2 weeks ago

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Matt Gauntt

Matt - in general I agree, but some of the comments/stances have just gone too far.
A couple days ago someone posted a comment "oh no, we suck again" from the movie "The Waterboy". Sorry, that's just ignorant. The team has commented on several occasions how much it means to them to have the fans support, and we need to keep giving that to them. Yes, it's OK to want more now, but when it goes to trashing the team for a bad day, that is another level. Every team has a bad day. The Dodgers owned the Padres all year long and then when they get to the playoffs, they drop 3 of out 4 to them. It doesn't mean the Dodgers "regressed", it means they had a bad run (well, and Clayton Kershaw can't perform in the playoffs, but that's another story).

The team is doing fine, and next year, yes, my expectations will definitely be to get to a bowl game. Let's not expect them to go from doormat to the BCS Championship in a year.

1 month, 2 weeks ago

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Jonathan Allison

ahh yes, the BCS championship. A relic of a time before the dark ages.

I think that the new thing is called something like the FBS College Football Playoff.

You're right though, we should probably focus on winning in the Big 8 before we dream of national success.

1 month, 2 weeks ago

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Matt Gauntt

Don't care what they call it now. Didn't look it up because again, I don't care

1 month, 2 weeks ago

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Doug Roberts

As it stands today, two more wins makes this a successful season for me. And I pray one of those wins is against K-State.

1 month, 2 weeks ago

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Garry Wright

After what we've been through for the past 13 years, how in the world can anyone's attitude truly turn to sour grapes for our guy's two losses in a row? My goal for this year was at least four wins with a very small smidgen of hope that we might even become bowl eligible. We've exceeded the one and there's still hope for the second. We haven't experienced that for 13 years! And we still have a tremendously great coach who has the right attitude, has a great connection with his players, knows what he is doing, and is giving us great hope for the future! We all knew that the second half of our season would be tougher than the first half. Do I want us to win more games? Of course, absolutely! If we don't win any more games, am I going to write my Hawks off? NO! I'm going to continue to boost them, and stick with them, hoping for at least one more win. But I'm also looking to the future. With Leipold as our coach and the staff that he has around him, I'm optimistic that next year will be even better as well as beyond that. People that keep jumping on the bandwagon and off of the bandwagon make me sick. They're not true Jayhawk fans. I've stuck with them through thick and thin for 70 years. I'm certainly not going to turn sour grapes now. I could have easily done that several years ago, but didn't.

1 month, 2 weeks ago

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Dirk Medema

Edward - Thanks for the Baylor info. Hadn’t seen that. Wonder what the chances are we’re both playing with backups?

Garry - Thank you for your perseverance. It’s cheap easy weak to be negative and quit on the team. Positive perseverance helps the team.

As I saw the title today, it reminded me of a couple comments that seem to me to be the most important. One was from Coach to Kelly after he got a standing ovation following the loss to ou last year. “We have to change that (losing being okay).”

The other was from Coach to the players earlier this year. “We’re going to coach you just as hard, if not harder, when we win all our games as when we don’t.”

Coach’s expectations are still the same. The more in line with Coach we can be, the better off we all will be.

1 month, 2 weeks ago

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Dale Rogers

It's already a successful season for me. It has already exceeded my pre-season expectations. Anything from here on is pure gravy. Still, I want one more win. Competitveness in each remaining game. Bowl eligibility. And bowl selection. And a bowl win. That would top this season for me. It also has upped my expectations for next season.

1 month, 2 weeks ago

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Ryan Mullen

Well if we lose all the rest of our games I don't think any teams will be looking at Lance anymore, that would be a hard sell to the fanbase. So that would be 1 positive.

1 month, 2 weeks ago

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Jonathan Allison

I'll be disappointed if we don't win one more. Ignoring the fact of what happened in 2009 and the seasons that followed that, and regardless of the incredible 5-0 start, ending the season on a 7 game losing streak would make it hard to get too excited about KU football.

The 5-0 start to me showed what this group is capable of, and simply put, they should be able to win again before the season's end. That said, I also understand the reality that the opponent will be favored to win in each one of the remaining games. So, I will be disappointed if KU ends up at 5-7, I will consider the season to be not really a success, but definitely not a failure. To be fair, they have already exceeded my expectations. Or more accurately perhaps, they recalibrated my expectations. Beat anyone left on the schedule and end up with 6 wins and I'm quite happy with that. Lose out and end up at 5-7 and I'm bummed about it. however, had they gone 3-9 or 2-10, I wouldn't even be talking about them at this point in the season. It'd be on to basketball as though football season had never even happened.

1 month, 2 weeks ago

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Dale Rogers

Going out on a negative like losing the rest of our games would be very hard on recruiting. We need to at least be competitve in the remaining games. Getting that bowl game would be very positive for recruiting, too.

1 month, 2 weeks ago

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Patrick Bryant

Does the Tenn Tech win help or is a non factor in bowl eligibility? I can't keep up with all the rule changes regarding bowls, playoffs, etc.

1 month, 2 weeks ago

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Charlie Gaughn

If the Hawks continue to play competitive football I'll be good regardless of the wins and losses. What I really hope comes out of this season is showing local recruits that they don't have to leave the area to play an exciting brand of football. This is a fun team to watch and, if they can clean up some mistakes, I'm fairly confident they'll get that sixth win and possibly more.

1 month, 2 weeks ago

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Garry Wright

Patrick, the Tenn Tech win counts as a win. We only need one more to be bowl eligible.

1 month, 2 weeks ago

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Jonathan Allison

I believe that they are able to count 1 win per year over an FCS division opponent toward their bowl eligibility.

1 month, 2 weeks ago

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Micky Baker

If the fans are honest, their expectations have already been exceeded. There wasn't anyone on here saying they could win 5 games this year. KU has the toughest road, top rated SOS the rest of the way. We can win a couple more. It is irrational to say the last two are irrational. TCU just beat OSU right after they beat us. THey're for real. We could maybe 3 if the chips fall right. Then we could also lose the rest of them but if we lose by 7 or 10 pts instead of by 40 or 50, it's real progress in the right direction given the major injuries we've experienced.

1 month, 2 weeks ago

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James Miller

I cannot lie, I will be a little disappointed if we miss a bowl game. But that is only because of the awesome way we started the season, so I won't be mad at our players or coaches. I will just be upset that we could not maintain that level of play for the entire season, but I know that requires depth that we do not posess right now. One more win and a bowl appearance will feel like a basketball Final Four appearance, however!!!!

1 month, 2 weeks ago

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"regression" after a decade of dormancy lol #bebest

1 month, 2 weeks ago

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Bryce Landon

Let's be realistic - the second half of KU's schedule is murderer's row for sure. I feel hard-pressed finding another win anywhere in there. Even so, considering how absolutely abysmal this program has been over the previous twelve seasons (twelve-and-a-half if you go back to the midpoint of the 2009 season), this season is still a successful season. And that will be true even if the Jayhawks don't win again the rest of the season. They have already won more games this year (5) than they did during any of the past twelve seasons (3 or less). Their two Big 12 wins are already the most for the program since winning four Big 12 games in 2008. So even if the Jayhawks finish 5-7, it will still be a success, because it means that Lance Leipold has done what Turner Gill, Charlie Weis, David Beaty, and Les Miles all failed to do - he has made real, legitimate, tangible progress with the football team and has them trending in the right direction.

1 month, 2 weeks ago

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Dale Rogers

Shoot, he's already done what those guys couldn't do. Win FIVE games in a season. And the first five, no less. I agree the remainder of this season is "murderer's row." But this team has heart. If we can avoid more injuries and get a few things to break our way (and get decent officiating) then that sixth win will likely come.

1 month, 2 weeks ago

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Steve Hilker

I see comments that they'll be disappointed if we aren't bowl eligible. If we slide into a bottom tier bowl with six wins, are you making the trip? In my opinion, it isn't which bowl we make, it's the extra weeks of practice. We were picked as a 2.5 win on the over/under preseason. Rock Chalk.

1 month, 2 weeks ago

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Jim Stauffer

I am very happy with the progress of the rebuild. We have more developed players this year than last due to Sleeve the coaching staff and the portal.
It was so obvious the players for OU were physically bigger and faster than ours.
Can't criticize the kids for that.
May be a couple of chances for the 6th win.
4 of the last 6 games on the road is as difficult as the teams we are playing.
Our program is obviously on the rise and that makes me happy,.

1 month, 2 weeks ago

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Brad Watson

we have had 5 great weekends in a row this fall...when was the last time that happened for deep ..loyal fans....years of bad weekends....I have heard a lot of pundits say we are playing with house money...WE ARE!!!! If you lose every game it is still a great year...but guess what?...this team isn't going to lose every game...I see multiple wins ahead this year!...They might win the rest of their games...they are a scrappy bunch and I have total faith in them!!!

1 month, 2 weeks ago

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Brett McCabe

Giving up 700 yards and 36 first downs is the stat of losers. That was a defensive effort that only a combination of Gill-Weiss-Beaty could have created. Except none of those people work here anymore.

First, don't group things that aren't the same. A competitive, thanks to Bean, game vs. TCU doesn't equal the mauling we took in Norman. Which of these things is not like the other?

Leipold is right in that there were a lot of high-level recruits at OU, but we are the only team in the Big 12 who seems to be impacted. And I don't like hearing excuses. Here's some shocking news Lance, this ain't the MAC. Texas spent about a $Billion to bring three recruits in because one of them was named Manning. Ask Matt Campbell how hard it is to compete while recruiting below others in your own conference

Many years ago, a kid named Johnny moved from one town to the next. His former school sent over his records, which showed that he was poor reader. Johnny's new teacher noticed that Johnny was reading at a much higher level than she expected. Then, suddenly, Johnny couldn't read or spell the word C-A-T if you didn't give him the C and the T. The teacher decided that Johnny was just a nimrod after all, a republican-in-short, and she decided that Johnny's original assessment was right: he was just below average. Nevermind that Johnny had shown that he could actually read, write and ignore JFK, Jr. conspiracy theories.

If you want to start making deals with yourself, go ahead. If not for an awful first-half by our offense, we would have won vs. TCU. Don't evaluate the team by what you thought three months ago. The program doesn't get to have it all. It went 5-0. It showed that it could compete, even in the TCU game. That monstrosity that we witnessed at OU gets the same weight as the wins. It was an embarrassment of David Beaty proportions. Quit making excuses. Get your act together. Earn your millions. Win the friggin' game in wackville Waco. BTW....they also have good players. I know, it sucks, but a lot of teams have good players in this conference.

1 month, 2 weeks ago

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Dale Stringer

I hope we don't get our sixth win today. Any team wearing Carolina Blue deserves to lose.

1 month, 2 weeks ago

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