Kansas made me take notice last week with its impressive offensive display against Northern Illinois.
I suspect N. Illinois’ defense was a big part of that Jayhawks’ explosion and we should find out more about the Huskies on Saturday
when they are at home against a really good Wisconsin.
But if KU’s offense is the real deal this is going to be a better season for the Jayhawks than I anticipated. And I didn’t anticipate a lot.
There is no doubt that Kansas has questions defensively. Northern Illinois rolled up and down the football field last week against KU.
But I will be front and center today, watching the Kansas-Georgia Tech game from Atlanta. Last season, you’ll recall, the Jayhawks upset the Yellow Jackets a week after dropping their home opener against North Dakota State. It was one of the most shocking wins of the season, a result no one could have ever predicted.
Now, I presume, Georgia Tech is all about revenge. And the Yellow Jackets have been even more impressively offensively than Kansas, rolling up 112 points and 1,258 yards of offense in beating Western Carolina and Middle Tennessee State. That’s a couple of patsies, for sure, but remember that KU’s defense hasn’t looked good yet, including allowing McNeese State a bunch of yards.
It looks like a shootout is on tap today, although I’m sure one of the emphasis points for Kansas this week has been to improve defensively. I wasn’t impressed with any element of the Jayhawks’ defense last week and I’m not sure how much room there is for growth. It looks to me like KU has made it a priority to improve offensively – which so far it has – and has not been as focused on defense.
Georgia Tech, I suspect, will score a lot of points. The question becomes: Can Kansas match the Rambling Wreck’s offensive output?
KU quarterback Jordan Webb looked like a legitimate Big 12 quarterback last week, making all the throws. He was pinpoint from the pocket and when rolling out and scrambling. He’s had games like that in the past, only to battle with consistency. I’m saying Webb is close to establishing himself as one of the fine quarterbacks in the the Big 12, which has a lot of good ones.
I also like KU’s running game, led by sophomore James Sims with the help of three exciting freshmen. Junior D.J. Beshears is a real weapon as a runner, receiver and returner. And the Kansas offensive line is experienced and talented. There’s no reason to think the Jayhawks won’t be a good to very good offensive team in 2011.
But the defense and a challenging Big 12 schedule will probably keep KU from winning more than four or five games. Considering that just a week ago most people were predicting two or three, that’s a vast improvement. A win at Georgia Tech would force us to re-evaluate, again, what Kansas is capable of accomplishing this season.
My weekend college picks
(I’ll keep my record both straight up and against the spread)
Georgia Tech 40, Kansas 31
Kansas State 24, Kent State 10
Boise State 40, Toledo 21 (Friday night)
West Virginia 24, Maryland 21
Auburn 27, Clemson 20
Texas 28, UCLA 17
Florida 30, Tennessee 20
Michigan State 27, Notre Dame 24
Wisconsin 47, Northern Illinois 20
Arizona State 28, Illinois 13
Miami (Fla.) 24, Ohio State 21
Florida State 20, Oklahoma 17
Stanford 41, Arizona 21
And the NFL
Pittsburgh 27, Seattle 10
Buffalo 24, Oakland 21
Arizona 20, Washington 14
Tampa Bay 28, Minnesota 24
New York Jets 28, Jacksonville 13
New Orleans 21, Chicago 17
Green Bay 31, Carolina 14
New England 30, San Diego 24
Baltimore 26, Tennesssee 7
Detroit 31, Kansas City 17
Cleveland 28, Indianapolis 17
Dallas 24, San Francisco 21
Denver 20, Cincinnati 17
Houston 34, Miami 24
Atlanta 24, Philadelphia 23
New York Giants 20, St. Louis 13