The Jayhawks went 12-1 a year ago and won the Orange Bowl. That won’t happen again in 2008.
After the “diet” menu (no poke at Mangino, I assure you) of Big 12 South opponents (Baylor, Texas A&M, and Oklahoma State), KU now must host Texas and Texas Tech and travel to Norman to face the Sooners. An 0-3 record against the South is a definite possibility. South Florida on the road is a far tougher game than any game on the nonconference schedule a year ago and the Jayhawks haven’t won in Lincoln in close to 40 years.
Then factor in the losses of star cornerback Aqib Talib, All-American offensive tackle Anthony Collins, 1,000-yard rusher Brandon McAnderson and 1,000-yard receiver Marcus Henry, along with assistant coaches Bill Young and Tim Beck and you realize that this is a team that could take a step backward even without a tougher schedule.
The Jayhawks still have a very sound quarterback and some quality coaches. Their defense also appears sound and should keep them in games. But with Colorado, Nebraska, and Iowa State all seemingly improved (and maybe Kansas State as well) the question for KU is whether the program will take a small step backward or a big one. It’s not inconceivable that this team may not even become bowl eligible.
Last year, this team was a contender. But this year, forget it.