Campus Corner

Season projection: KU

Sept. 1 South Dakota State

The Jackrabbits are the sixth choice in the Missouri Valley preseason poll. The Turner Gill regime got off to an embarrassing start with a loss to North Dakota State two years ago, and KU never was comfortable in putting away McNeese State in last year’s opener. Charlie Weis has done a terrific job selling the program around Kansas and in the Kansas City area. He’s had about as solid a run-up to a season as a new coach can have. But fans took to Gill as well, until the the opening game debacle. W

Sept. 8 Rice

The competition improves in the second week. Rice of Conference USA beat Purdue last season. Still, if Kansas is to turn the corner, it wins here by pulling away in the second half. W

Sept. 15 TCU

No doubt Weis has thought about this weekend. Plenty of firsts here. It’s the Big 12 opener, the first Big 12 game for TCU and for Weis, who knows impressions can be made with a good showing. The Frogs had plenty of off-field issues since the end of last season, and the program steps up in class in the new conference. But like the Jayhawks, TCU will want to get off to a fast start in league play. L

Sept, 22 at Northern Illinois

Former KU assistant Dave Doeren gets revenge after the Huskies fell 45-42 loss in Lawrence last season.

Oct. 6 at Kansas State

The Jayhawks were smashed by the in-state rival in Lawrence each of the last two years. There would be no better way for Weis to win over the fan base than to keep this one close. L

Oct. 13 Oklahoma State

The trip to Stillwater was such an embarrassing afternoon for Kansas last season. At Memorial Stadium, the Jayhawks were competitive for three quarters against Oklahoma and had Baylor beat before falling in overtime. This could be an upset victory opportunity. L

Oct. 20 at Oklahoma

No chance here. L

Oct. 27 Texas

Again, keeping games competitive is the sign of progress. When Mark Mangino took over in 2002, Kansas was blown out almost every weekend. The next season KU played in a bowl game. Weis isn’t expected to get this KU team to a bowl, but no more losses like the ones at Texas, Oklahoma State and Georgia Tech last season. L

Nov. 3 at Baylor

Check out the Charlie Weis profile by KU beat writer Rustin Dodd in The Star’s 58-page football section in Sunday’s editions and how a near-death experience changed Weis’ life. The Jayhawks should be playing better by this point of the season, but the competition doesn’t get easier. L

Nov. 10 at Texas Tech

The Red Raiders are coming off a 5-7 year and didn’t qualify for a bowl game for the first time in the Big 12 era. If there’s a Big 12 coach on the hot seat, it may be Tommy Tuberville, who will need this one. L

Nov. 17 Iowa State

It happens here. Kansas, which hasn’t won a Big 12 game since the remarkable comeback over Colorado in 2010, breaks the string against the visiting Cyclones. W

Dec. 1 at West Virginia

The Mountaineers could be playing for the Big 12 title and a BCS bowl berth. L

Add it up, and the victory total (three) is merely a one-game improvement over last year. But Kansas has a grand opportunity to answer the doubters. Weis assembled what appears to be a first-class staff and quarterback Dayne Crist, the Notre Dame transfer, is a proven veteran. One or two more conference victories could easily happen.