The Kansas Jayhawks were the talk of college football over the weekend, as Lance Leipold and crew knocked off No. 6 Oklahoma to become bowl eligible and pick up their first win over a top-10 team since 2008 and first win over the Sooners since 1997.
The buzz surrounding the 6-2 Jayhawks continued into Monday morning, when KU was named the Cheez-It National Team of the Week by the Football Writers Association of America.
With KU now a lock to go bowling for a second consecutive season — for the second time in school history — those bowl projections are starting to take on a little added meaning.
On Monday, many of them had Kansas headed to Houston to take place in the Texas Bowl, slated for Dec. 27.
Other options for the Jayhawks, in no particular order and depending a lot upon how the final four games of the season play out, include: the Cotton Bowl (Arlington, Texas, Dec. 29), the Alamo Bowl (San Antonio, Dec. 28), the Pop-Tarts Bowl (Orlando, Dec. 28), the Liberty Bowl (Memphis, Dec. 29), the Guaranteed Rate Bowl (Phoenix, Dec. 26), the Armed Forces Bowl (Fort Worth, Texas, Dec. 23) and a few others.
None of this will be decided for a while, but the one thing that is known is that the more wins KU racks up the better the bowl they’re invited to.
Still, it’ll be fun to track the projections for the next four weeks, sort of like Bracketology in November.
Here’s a look at what else is happening around the KU sports scene this week.
• The Jayhawks returned to the national rankings on Sunday, jumping to a season-best 22nd in the AP Top 25 and No. 23 in the USA Today coaches poll. In case you missed it, here’s how the players feel about being ranked, something which they got a taste of last season while they have been in and out of the polls so far this season.
• There was no major update from Leipold on starting QB Jalon Daniels on Monday. When asked what Daniels’ role was during Saturday’s win over Oklahoma, Leipold said simply, “He was dressed.” When asked what he might have to show or do or prove to regain his starting job once healthy, Leipold made it clear that the junior from California has not lost his status as this team’s QB1. “We’re not at that point yet to decide that,” Leipold told reporters. “He works at it every day. Some days are better than others. When Jalon Daniels is healthy, Jalon is the starting quarterback. But we’re not at that point today.” Leipold was also asked if there had been any discussion about Daniels potentially red-shirting the season and he said, “No. That has never been discussed. Never.”
• Later this week, the Kansas volleyball team will put its four-match winning streak on the line when welcoming Kansas State to town for a pair of matches Friday (6:30 p.m.) and Saturday (3 p.m.). Ranked No. 14 in the latest AVCA poll — for the third week in a row — the Jayhawks swept six sets with West Virginia at home last week, pushing their total to 12 wins in the last 13 sets. KU enters the week at 15-4 overall and 7-3 in Big 12 play, which puts them alone in third place in the Big 12 standings. Kansas State, meanwhile, is 13-8 overall and 7-5 in Big 12 play, good for fifth place in the 13-team conference (Oklahoma State does not have volleyball). It’s worth noting that the Wildcats, who received votes in this week’s AVCA poll, are right there with the Jayhawks as one of the hottest teams in the conference at the moment, having won three consecutive matches, including a pair of home sweeps over No. 8 BYU last week.
• The start of another season of Kansas basketball draws one step closer this week, with the KU men closing out exhibition play on Wednesday night with a home game against Fort Hays State. The KU men will open the regular season, as the nation’s No. 1-ranked team, on Monday, Nov. 6 at 7 p.m. against North Carolina Central. KU dropped its first exhibition contest of the season — a Maui relief fundraiser game last weekend — 82-75 at Illinois on Sunday. The KU women's team, meanwhile, will open the regular season at home at 6:30 p.m. on Nov. 8 against Northwestern State.
• In addition to tracking all of that as the week unfolds, we’ve still got some great golf, cross country, swimming and volleyball features ready to go or close to being finished, along with some fun stuff planned for our continued football and basketball coverage. So keep an eye out for those, too, and tell a friend about all of the content, across all sports, that we’ve got here at Wave the Wheat. Oh, and remember, for a limited time, you (or they or both of you!) can get a 1-year subscription for just $29.95. That’s just $2.50 a month to access every single piece of content we post in the next year.
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