Realistic expectations for Kansas football in 2024

Kansas redshirt junior quarterback Jalon Daniels (6) fires off a pass during Friday's Spring Preview at Rock Chalk Park.
Kansas redshirt junior quarterback Jalon Daniels (6) fires off a pass during Friday's Spring Preview at Rock Chalk Park. / Evert Nelson/The Capital-Journal / USA

What Lance Leipold has done in a short time with Kansas football is nothing short of remarkable.

The Jayhawks were one of the worst teams in college football for years before Leipold took over and not even national title-winning coach Les Miles could turn them around. But he took over and all he's done since has been turn the program into one of the best in the Big 12 and a legit dark-horse candidate to make the College Football Playoff.

Kansas is actually coming off its best season under Leipold in 2023 and that was with star quarterback Jalon Daniels sidelined for most of the year. In fact, he attempted just 75 passes for 705 yards before Jason Bean took over after his injury.

Well, Daniels is back under center and the offense also returns six other starters, including star running back Devin Neal who had 1,280 yards and 16 touchdowns in 2023.

On defense, five starters are back, but that might not be the worst news because they had the 64th-ranked scoring defense and the 62nd-ranked total defense last year. The Jayhawks can't get much worse than that and they added some key transfers to supplement the returning starters.

This team is built to compete in the Big 12, especially without Oklahoma and Texas.

So what are the realistic expectations for this team in 2024?

Looking at the schedule, Kansas should start the season 3-0 with a tough win at Illinois before going to West Virginia in Week 4. I think the Jayhawks drop a tough one there and beat TCU the following week before taking down Arizona State in the desert. They'll then beat Houston to improve to 6-1 before finally dropping another game at Kansas State and then beating Iowa State. I see a slight slip-up against either BYU or Baylor in the final three games, but they will beat Colorado at hime.

A 9-3 regular-season record cannot be scoffed at and this team should be in the mix for the Big 12 title at the end of the year. A 10-win regular-season with that easy schedule is not out of the question.

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