Here we go. Kansas. Rutgers. And a college football tilt that has gotten loads and loads of attention for reasons inglorious to each program. But he we are. Somebody is going to win. I’m en route to High Point Solutions Stadium in Piscataway, N.J., where The Weis Bowl will kick off at 11 a.m. Saturday (Big Ten Network).
In the meantime, let’s get to the weekly KU Mailbag.
No. OK, that concludes the mailbag. Thanks for your questions.
In all seriousness, Kansas is still waiting for word on freshman big man Cheick Diallo’s NCAA eligibility. At the moment, Bill Self has said he will stop commenting on the matter until it is resolved. That’s perhaps not the best news for KU, but then again, I wouldn’t read too much into it. 1. Self is waiting just like everyone else, and 2. He’s probably tired of media people like me asking about it.
We’ll keep asking, though. Just the way it works.
Kansas did not rip the redshirt off true freshman quarterback Ryan Willis to have him throw two passes in the season opener and then never use him again. I still suspect Willis will get an opportunity to play when the coaching staff deems him ready. When will that be? I’m not sure. Beaty has been pretty coy about Willis and how he will be used.
Of course, the process of Willis getting on the field could be sped up if starter Montell Cozart continues to struggle.
I don’t know who will start against K-State. That’s KU’s season finale, and it’s on Nov. 28. That’s a long ways from now. But I think we’re going to see a lot of Wills during conference play — if he can perform at least at the level of Cozart.
Let me say: Love your work, Hulk. The first answer is quarterback. The second answer is quarterback. Listen, KU’s defense is young and inexperienced, and it’s probably going to take its lumps this year. We know this.
But if Kansas could find an answer at quarterback, that could really jump-start up this whole David Beaty rebuilding project. Two years ago, Cal finished 1-11 in Sonny Dykes’ first year, but they also started a freshman quarterback named Jared Goff. Two years later, Goff is a likely first-round pick, and Cal is good again. That’s how these things work. Could Ryan Willis eventually be Kansas’ version of Goff? KU fans can dream, I suppose.
Anyway, I know college football offenses are so much different than they were 20 and 30 years ago, and teams pass more than ever, and so on. But these KU career passing stats still always blow me away:
Todd Reesing threw for 11,194 yards in his career; the next closest passer is Frank Seurer (6,410 yards); and the following quarterbacks are in the top 10 on KU’s career passing yards list: Dylen Smith (3,562), Jordan Webb (3,079), Adam Barmann (3,020).
Other than ISU? I guess you would take Rutgers this week. You’d have to, right?
Let’s go to the numbers. According to ESPN’s Football Power Index stat, here are the chances for a KU victory in the Jayhawks’ remaining games:
Opponent, Chance for a victory
At Rutgers, 18.5 percent
At Iowa State, 11.2 percent
Baylor, 1.5 percent
Texas Tech, 5.3 percent
At Oklahoma State, 2.3 percent
Oklahoma, 2.4 percent
At Texas, 4.6 percent
At TCU, 0.9 percent
West Virginia, 3.9
K-State, 7.4 percent
There you have it. When you add all the projections together, Kansas is projected to finish the year with average of 0.6 victories and 11.4 losses. In other words: The FPI is not sold on Kansas’ chances for a win.