A continuation of questions I received on Twitter:
Q: Is this Bill Snyder’s last year to coach KSU, and do they make a bowl game this year?
A: The Wildcats football team will go bowling, without a doubt. In fact, they’ll probably finish in the top-third of the conference and, with a good break here and there, might challenge for a conference championship.
K-State returns a lot from last year’s team that went 9-4 and the Big 12 doesn’t have a clear powerhouse in 2017. The Oklahoma Sooners are going through a late coaching change, so that leaves things up in the air in Norman. Texas always has a roster thought to be high in quality, but I’m a non-believer until they start winning games, plus they have a new coach, too. Oklahoma State will score a lot of points, but can they stop anyone? KSU fans, mark Oct. 21 (Oklahoma) and Nov. 18 (at Oklahoma State) on your calendars as the biggest dates of the season.
With the potential for a great year forming, this is why I think it’s Snyder’s last ride. The head coach will turn 78 during the season and, with KSU’s changes in the athletic department – the school has a new athletic director – Snyder will take one last crack at a conference championship and then call it a career.
Q: Kansas football over/under on wins is 2, what’s your bet?
A: I’ll take the over, and I think the Jayhawks meet that two-win mark with a 2-0 start to the season. With just one more needed out of 10 games, I think KU gets it done.
It’s easy to imagine KU football improving. They won a league game last year and will have more talent and depth on this year’s roster. Transfers at the quarterback and wide receiver positions to go along with a new offensive coordinator should mean more points. It should also mean offensive possessions last longer – instead of three plays and a punt, maybe the Jayhawks pick up a first down or two – which means the defense will be better rested.
The next hurdle KU needs to hit is winning a road game; the Jayhawks are winless on the road since September 2009. Games at Ohio, Iowa State and TCU are probably the best for it to happen this year.
Q: When will KU finally leave the Big 12?
A: Conference realignment is a topic brought up every summer, partially because the summer is a slow period and people want to talk about something, and partially because it’s inevitable that more schools are going to make a move. Football is the sport that really drives realignment, so KU’s recently announced $300 million stadium renovation is big in that it shows conferences they are willing to “be a big boy.”
By 2020, I think we’ll know what KU’s future conference is, and I’m guessing they’ll head to the Big 10.