The schedule won't do Kansas any favors from a standpoint in that once Big 12 play starts in October, the Jayhawks will not have a bye week. They will play nine straight games, which if health starts to take a toll down the stretch, it could get dicey.
Aside from that, things shape up nicely for Kansas to start 3-0, which will be key in building momentum. But, as last year proved, nothing is to be taken for granted.
Game 1 - September 7 vs South Dakota
For a second consecutive season, KU will open against a school from the state of South Dakota. Though, no team can be considered an automatic win until Kansas proves otherwise, it's no stretch to see the Jayhawks getting off to a positive start like did a year ago.
Game 2 – September 14 at Rice
I know, I know, Kansas lost to Rice at home last year, but it was a game they should have won and they would have done so without any consistent offense. With Sims and Pierson clicking at high levels and if the pass game is taking shape, they should stand a good chance at revenge. The only demon will be recent road history. KU has not won a road game since Week 2 of the 2009 season, when they won 34-7 at UTEP. The Jayhawks have to start to change some of that to take the next step.
Game 3 – September 21 vs Louisiana Tech
The Bulldogs will be a tough test. They usually are one of tougher non-conference opponents. But, they lost many of their top performers from a year ago and they lost their head coach Sonny Dykes, who moved on to California. KU needs to seize the opportunity. If they perform well through the first three, they'd take a 3-0 record into Big 12 play, which begins at home after their last bye week for the season.
Game 4 – October 5, Big 12 opener vs Texas Tech
KU nearly knocked off the Red Raiders in Lubbock, last season. Had they done so, it's like the curtain on former coach Tommy Tubberville would have close a few weeks earlier. As it is, he departed for Cincinnati, following the season and in his place came former record setting quarterback Kliff Kingsbury, who returned home to the South Plains after helping to guide Johnny Manziel to the Heisman Trophy as offensive coordinator at Texas A&M in 2012.
Kingsbury will look to return Texas Tech to its air raid days when Mike Leach swashbuckled on the sidelines. It'll be a process, as they start over, so Kansas will have a golden opportunity to start league play with a win. In 2011, KU held a 20-0 lead before losing it and the game. So, it's not far fetch to see them doing well against an opponent that they had some success against.
Game 5 – October 12 at TCU
Make no mistake, TCU will be salty in their second year in the Big 12, especially on defense. They'll welcome back quarterback Casey Paschall, who was suspended shortly after the Kansas game last year, for off the field issues. It'll be a tall road task and you know Gary Patterson will have the Horned Frogs well prepared.
Game 6 – October 19 vs Oklahoma
The Sooners blasted Kansas 52-7, last year in Norman. As long as Bob Stoops is leading them, they will always be tough, but you have to think KU will play them a lot tougher in Lawrence. Added to that, Oklahoma breaks in a new quarterback this year, likely former Wichita standout Blake Bell. If Kansas can hang with them, you never know, especially at home. In 2011, a reeling KU team actually kept the game close until the 4th quarter. Stranger things have happened.
Game 7 – October 26 vs Baylor
In 2011, Kansas held a three score lead on Baylor and eventual Heisman winner Robert Griffin III, before losing the lead and the game in overtime. This year, the Bears replace his replacement Nick Florence, but they will still have a high powered offense, led by running back Lache Seastrunk, who along with Sims is considered one of the best, if not the best running back in the Big 12.
Game 8 – November 2 at Texas
We all know what almost happened last year. Now, Kansas faces Texas in Austin, where they have been demolished in their last four trips there, dating back to 2001. The closest they came there, was a 45-31 loss in 1997. The Longhorns will be better this year on both sides of the ball. Odds are though, that KU will show a lot more fight than the last time they visited DKR Texas Memorial Stadium, when they had a hard time just managing positive yardage in a 43-0 loss that wasn't as close as the score indicated.
Game 9 – November 9 at Oklahoma State
The Cowboys are always a fun team to watch, and while, they aren't as invincible as they were in 2011, they're still really good and could win the league this year. Kansas had their chances at home last year. By then, we'll know how high powered the Cowboys are. They'll definitely miss running back Joseph Randle, but they still have Jeremy Smith and will continue to be among the most high-powered teams in the league, with talent everywhere across the board and excellent coaching led by head man Mike Gundy.
Game 10 – November 16 vs West Virginia
By the time, KU face the Mountaineers at the end of the last season, it was over. The team was ready to move on to 2013. This year, they'll have a chance to try and slow down Dana Holgoresen's machine at home. West Virginia replaces many pieces this year including Tavon Austin and quarterback Geno Smith. Keep an eye out on former Kansas commit and Wichita standout Dreamius Smith, who could be a big addition to their program.
A reason to hope will be WVU's Jekyl and Hyde nature, as evident by their ability to go from world beaters to just beaten from week to week. Kansas will have a much better shot than people think here.
Game 11 – November 23 at Iowa State
Traditionally, the Jayhawks and Cyclones have played tough, hard fought, close game against each other. Iowa State coach Paul Rhoads is among the best and it shows on the field. Heading into the home finale last year, it looked like it would be another nail biter in which KU would have a great shot to win its first Big 12 game since 2010.
When it was over, the Jayhawks were stunned, as freshman Sam Richardson came out of nowhere to lead ISU to a 51-23 win that all but close the door on the season. In 2013, expect this to revert to normal form, as both team should play a close game that will be fun to watch. The Kansas/Iowa State series has always been a good one of late in terms of competition. One thing is certain and almost guaranteed. Given the date of the game, it will be cold and most likely windy at Jack Trice Stadium in Ames. Bundle up.
Game 12 – November 30 vs Kansas State
When Weis was introduced as coach, he made no bones about it, Kansas needs to have success in its own state first before anything else. To do this, they must catch up with and overtake Bill Snyder and Kansas State. Coming off a league championship season, the Wildcats lost many players from that team, most notably quarterback Collin Klein and linebacker Arthur Brown, but it's ludicrous to think that K-State won't still have some good players and sadly, as long as Snyder is there, expect them to be in the best position possible to compete.
It'll be crucial for Kansas to not get blown out again. A win would go even further in helping to reverse the dominance KSU has had over KU since Mark Mangino ran off four wins in five years against the Wildcats. K-State currently enjoys a four game winning streak in the series. This is by far, the biggest game of the season and it's very possible a win in it could be the difference between a remarkable bowl trip and another year home for the holidays. Regardless, Kansas must be competitive. They cannot be embarrassed by Kansas State anymore. They must know that this is their Super Bowl and under Snyder, it has never been taken for granted. Over the years, he always enjoyed his most success against the two teams he recruited against the most in Kansas and Missouri. With this year's game being the last one of the season on Thanksgiving weekend, it'll only add to the intrigue and it'll make for a fun time. For Charlie Weis and Kansas, it'll provide a golden opportunity to make something special happen.
Regardless, this season looks to be a lot more fun for Kansas football than it has in some time. It's a crucial year for the Weis regime to build and gain momentum moving forward. They are already making tremendous strides in recruiting and they've done so with only one year and one win in the books. They've completely remade the culture around the program. Imagine what they could do with some success. Win in 2013 and they won't have to imagine anymore.