There’s no disputing that Kansas is a basketball school, and that football is typically considered to be an afterthought. Despite this, the Kansas football team is trying to prove the doubters wrong. And they’re off to a great start.
In the football-powered Big 12 Conference, Kansas typically finds itself towards the bottom of the standings. Every so often, they’ll reach the national spotlight when they take on the conference powers such as Texas, Oklahoma, and more recently, Baylor. However, something is much different this time around. Kansas is actually… good?
Right now, they’re leading the Big 12. In football.
Fresh off a win over another undefeated team in Duke, Kansas was just left off the rankings, with in-state rival Kansas State taking the 25th and final spot of the Associated Press poll. Only 41 votes separate the two rivals. However, optimism for the team very much exists, and it showed in the school’s first sellout of Memorial Stadium in three years, when they took on Kansas State.
Granted it’s a small sample size. They’ve only played one conference game in their first four games, a road win in overtime over West Virginia. But it’s a rare conference win for the basketball-focused school. But it could be the start of something bigger. Their out-of-conference road victory over Houston remains impressive as well and goes a long way in showing why Kansas is in this position in the first place.
So what does Leipold think?
On the national attention that comes with a 4-0 start, head coach Lance Leipold said, “National recognition, as a whole, is something that we strive for but we don’t control. So, let’s go back to what we can control. If you spend a lot of time worrying if you should or shouldn’t be (ranked), you probably won’t be very long, anyways.”
Despite the 4-0 start, Leipold thinks there’s always room for improvement, adding “I think we’ve got to improve in special teams. Making sure we’re winning that. We’ve done small important things, whether it be onside game and recovery, things like that, but I want to find a way for us to take another step there to help us win a football game.”
How can Kansas be ranked?
Kansas just missed out on being ranked in the Associated Press Top-25 for the first time since 2009 this week. But there lies plenty of opportunities to move into the rankings. A win over Iowa State on homecoming weekend is imperative. But with Wake Forest taking on Florida State this week, one of those teams, who are ranked #22 and #23 respectively, has to lose and ultimately drop out of the rankings.
It’s hard to discredit any of the teams ranked above Kansas in the rankings, but Kansas should definitely be considered to be amongst the teams that are nationally recognized for their performance throughout the first four weeks of the season.
The fifth week of college football in 2022 is shaping up to be an important one for the Jayhawks football squad. The team may be deflecting the attention, but many fans will be tuning in to Kansas football to see if they can attain a football ranking for the first time in thirteen years.
The Jayhawks (4-0) take on the Iowa State Cyclones (3-1) at Memorial Stadium. Kickoff is slated for 3:30 PM and will be televised on ESPN2.
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