Updated: Apr 12, 2022
College football is still a little over 4 months away, but this past weekend many programs had their spring game. Two of the teams having their game were local rivals Kansas and Missouri. Both are programs that have more or less underwhelmed (for sugarcoating's sake) over the past couple of years. However, 2022 brings silver lining for both programs.
For Kansas, Lance Leipold, Jalon Daniels, and the Jayhawks showed some promise toward the end of the year, getting an upset win over Texas and playing both TCU and West Virginia close to cap off the season. It's been well over a decade since KU has been worth their salt in football, however many believe that this year feels...different compared to years' past. I would tend to agree. The Jayhawks seemed to come into their own under Leipold in the back half of 2021, showing flashes of brilliance and competitiveness, something that was VERY few and far between before. Now, that is not to say they're going to be great this year, but this is the first year in a very long time where I believe Kansas notches more than 3 wins. Bowling may not be in the cards this year barring a miracle, but it's not out of the question. Expect the Jayhawks to shock the Big 12 this year with a few signature wins.
The same can honestly be said for Missouri, as a big recruiting class and Eli Drinkwitz building a solid base could spell big things for the Tigers. Wide receiver Luther Burden tops off a stout class of incoming freshmen, and returning players show a lot of promise with a chip on their shoulder to show the SEC that Mizzou is worth talking about. We've seen greatness out of the Tigers in the SEC before, the Tigers made it to the SEC championship game in 2013 and 2014. It's been a rough go of it since then however, as the Tigers have struggled to get back to greatness. They're not their basketball team, but if a turnaround does not happen soon they risk that apathy setting in. I believe this year the Tigers will make that turnaround, and be a force to be reckoned with.
So if and when one or both of these teams turns the corner to excellence and end up shocking the world, which is the more surprising turnaround? In terms of surprise, if the Jayhawks can pull something out of their hat and deliver a bowl game, that will be the kicker. The Jayhawks will be my most surprising team in the entirety of college football if they can manage that, otherwise I believe the Tigers have more potential to do significant damage to any predictions or analyses of college football this year. Talk to me next year where we see where this Jayhawks team is going, and the prediction may be different however... For now I will keep my way too early predictions modest.
Burn Notice: 5/10 Much like the weather today, modest and mild.