Back in September, when the Kansas football team cracked the national polls for the first time during the 2023 season and the second year in a row, KU tight end Jared Casey put the whole thing into perspective.
“We talk about expectations,” he said at the time. “That’s a big deal for us. We expect to win games now. In the past, we were just like, ‘Can we compete?’ We know we can compete now, and we know we can beat anybody.”
After a few months of proving that by recording nine wins in a single season for just the sixth time in program history, Casey and the Jayhawks landed in the final Associated Press Top 25 poll of the season at No. 23.
The final AP poll, which was released Tuesday, included four teams on KU’s 2023 schedule — Texas at No. 3, Oklahoma at No. 15, Oklahoma State at No. 16 and Kansas State at No. 18.
The Jayhawks went 1-3 against those four teams, with the other loss coming to Texas Tech.
It marks the first time since the 2007 season that KU finished a season ranked in the final AP poll and just the eighth time that has happened in school history.
More interesting than that, however, might be the fact that the Jayhawks already are appearing in several far-too-early preseason Top 25s for the 2024 season.
The Athletic has the Jayhawks at No. 17. CBS Sports put Kansas at No. 20. Pro Football Focus dropped the Jayhawks in at No. 21 and ESPN slotted Leipold’s team at No. 23.
One more note to put a bow on the whole bowl experience for the Jayhawks in 2023: KU quarterback Jason Bean wound up as the top passing QB of this bowl season, with his 449 yards in the win over UNLV at the Guaranteed Rate Bowl in late December going down as the most in a bowl game by any QB in the country.
On to 2024…
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