What’s the ceiling for Lance Leipold, Kansas football in 2024?

Guaranteed Rate Bowl - Kansas v UNLV
Guaranteed Rate Bowl - Kansas v UNLV / Chris Coduto/GettyImages
4 of 4

That kind of year would prove the Leipold hype is just getting started

With the Jayhawks hypothetically experiencing new heights like those previously established in just four seasons under Leipold (each one of which will still have been better than the last), one can’t deny that he’d belong amongst the team’s greatest coaches all-time. Then, by simply maintaining a decent standard going forward, he would be adding to his case for actually being Kansas’s GOAT.

As for where he would be placed amongst today’s college football coaches, what he did for Kansas in just 2022 and 2023 was enough for him to garner attention in higher-profile head coaching hunts (as mentioned at the beginning), which tells us that he’s already viewed as a top coach in the sport.

If two bowl seasons—one of which ultimately donned a losing record—was all it took for him to reach that status, a third one with a superior win count/conference title/playoff appearance would have to hurl him into the top five with ease. I mean heck, at that point, who can we confidently say would do better in his shoes?

Sure, guys like Georgia’s Kirby Smart and Clemson’s Dabo Swinney have résumés that are more decorated and, at least on average, have had to deal with tougher competition. But, they’re also at schools that were in far better shape when inherited and are far more appealing to football talent than Kansas, along with having been in their current positions for longer than Leipold’s been in his.

Then there’s those like Jedd Fisch and Kalen DeBoer who, similarly to Leipold, took their programs from rags to riches overnight. But, while both instances were impressive, it can effortlessly be argued that neither carry the weight of Leipold’s Kansas revamp (especially post-2024).

There’s two reasons for this: For starters, we once again have schools that are easier to win at than KU, more notably in DeBoer’s situation, as he turned around Washington. Due to 2021 being their only losing year since 2009, the Huskies certainly belong in closer quarters with the Bulldogs and Tigers in regards to quality at time of takeover.

Secondly, we have Fisch’s run with Arizona. Though Arizona is convincingly the closest to Kansas on the CFB totem pole when compared to those other three names, the Wildcats did no better in three seasons under Fisch than the Jayhawks did under Leipold (according to wins and bowl berths).

By those criteria, setting the bar at a threshold as broad as “top five” may be a tad too generous—and not for Leipold’s sake.

So let’s recap: Kansas football will be entering its upcoming schedule with the most momentum it’s had in recent memory, and if it puts on the likely display that I’ve envisioned, the program will have a story for the history books while the CFP has a new contender that all of America can get behind. At the same time, Lance Leipold will have forced himself into the running for best coach in the country. All of that has 2024 looking like the year of the Jayhawks.

Way-too-early Top 25 projections for 2024. dark. Next. Way-too-early Top 25 projections for 2024