No game for Kansas football this week. Just another week-one bye. Charlie Weis sounds happy about the extra week of preparation, especially considering the rash of injuries during fall camp. But here’s guessing — if Weis could substitute this bye into the Big 12 season — he would probably take that as well.
The extra week of waiting does allow for one thing: Predictions!
After winning just six games over the last three seasons, there’s a rather imperative question hanging over Kansas football: Is this the year for a breakthrough? It’s impossible to know how it will all shake out, but that didn’t stop us from using our super-official (and accurate) crystal ball to evaluate the Jayhawks’ schedule.
Here’s a look at Kansas’ schedule — and the likelihood of victory for every game:
Southeast Missouri State, Sept. 6, Lawrence
2013 Record: 3-9
The breakdown: Southeast Missouri, an FCS program, notched just three victories last season — the wins came against Murray State, Urbana (Ohio) and Austin Peay. They also faced Ole Miss last September, falling 31-13. This year, the Redhawks are going with senior Kyle Snyder at quarterback. In four starts last season, Snyder completed just 49 of 105 passes for 617 yards. The good news for Charlie Weis: This is a victory.
Likelihood of victory: 91 percent
At Duke, Sept. 13, Durham, N.C.
2013 Record: 10-4 (Lost to Texas A&M in the Chick-fil-A)
The breakdown: No, this is not the game Kansas was expecting when the two schools agreed to a series in 2006. The Blue Devils have been steadily rising under coach David Cutcliffe, culminating in an ACC Coastal Division championship last season. Duke lost All-ACC performers Kelby Brown (linebacker) and Braxton Deaver (tight end) to knee injuries during fall camp. But the Devils return a strong nucleus from last year’s team. A bonus: The Jayhawks haven’t won a road game since 2009, but they should be comfortable playing inside Duke’s Wallace Wade Stadium, the last major-college venue to feature a track around the field.
Likelihood of victory: 32.7 percent
Central Michigan, Sept. 20, Lawrence
2013 Record: 6-6
The breakdown: Central Michigan returns 11 starters on offense, including quarterback Cooper Rush (56.7 completion percentage; 2,349 yards) The Chippewas also return eight starters on a defense that allowed 28.6 points per game last season. In college football, schedules are often about timing. And Kansas isn’t catching Central Michigan at the best time.
Likelihood of victory: 66.5 percent
Texas, Sept. 27, Lawrence
2013 Record: 8-5 overall, 7-2 Big 12
The breakdown: Charlie Strong replaced Mack Brown, and the Longhorns are a program in transition. Perhaps it’s advantageous that Kansas catches Texas early. Still, KU has yet to beat Texas since the creation of the Big 12.
Likelihood of victory: 28 percent
At West Virginia, Oct. 4, Morgantown, W.V.
2013 Record: 4-8, 2-7 Big 12
The breakdown: A year ago, Kansas picked up its first Big 12 victory since 2010 with a home victory over the Mountaineers. Now they’ll head to Morgantown and face West Virginia and returning quarterback Clint Trickett.
Likelihood of victory: 38.2 percent
Oklahoma State, Oct. 11, Lawrence
2013 Record: 10-3 overall, 7-2 Big 12
The breakdown: Reloading time in Stillwater. The Cowboys lost a starting quarterback, a second-leading rusher and a big chunk of their receiving corps.
Likelihood of victory: 31 percent
At Texas Tech, Oct. 18, Lubbock, Texas
2013 Record: 8-5 overall, 4-5 Big 12
The breakdown: Kliff Kingsbury returns for year two at Texas Tech. After juggling quarterbacks last year, he’ll rely on starter Davis Webb.
Likelihood of victory: 21 percent
At Baylor, Nov. 1, Waco, Texas
2013 Record: 11-2 overall, 8-1 Big 12 (Lost to Central Florida in the Fiesta Bowl)
The breakdown: New stadium for Baylor, same quarterback in Bryce Petty. Kansas will likely have a tough time matching points with the defending Big 12 champions.
Likelihood of victory: 7 percent
Iowa State, Nov. 8, Lawrence
2013 Record: 3-9 overall, 2-7 Big 12
The breakdown: KU keeps looking like it has the horses to beat Iowa State, and the Cyclones keep thrashing the Jayhawks. This year, circle your calendar. Mark Mangino returns to Memorial Stadium as Iowa State’s offensive coordinator.
Likelihood of victory: 44.8 percent
TCU, Nov. 15, Lawrence
2013 Record: 4-8 overall, 2-7 Big 12
The breakdown: Lots of questions for TCU and coach Gary Patterson, who have struggled during their transition to Big 12 football. For Kansas, this looks like one of a handful of winnable home games.
Likelihood of victory: 41 percent
At Oklahoma, Nov. 22, Norman, Okla.
2013 Record: 11-2 overall, 7-2 Big 12 (Beat Alabama in the Sugar Bowl)
The breakdown: Two years ago, Oklahoma dropped a 52-7 hammer on Kansas in Norman. This year, the Sooners are a Big 12 favorite and likely candidate for the four-team playoff. In other words: Not a win.
Likelihood of victory: 3.1 percent
At K-State, Nov. 29, Manhattan
2013 Record: 8-5 overall, 5-4 Big 12 (Beat Michigan in the Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl)
The breakdown: It’s been six years since Kansas’ last victory over its in-state rival. And the last four losses have been quite ugly. Will Kansas have any life left for the season finale in Manhattan?
Likelihood of victory: 17 percent