You've got to love the first game of the season, the ultimate message that summer is over. For the Kansas Jayhawks, that message comes a week later after a rare bye week during college football opening week.
There are many questions surrounding the season and team, but that's the case for any team. Here are a look at the top five players to watch along with a prediction for how Saturday night's matchup with the Coyotes of South Dakota will go.
1. Jake Heaps
You knew this was going to be number one on the list, as the hype and hoopla surrounding the BYU's transfer has been the primary storyline since last season ended at West Virginia. Now, we get to see what Heaps can do on the field and from there, we'll get a better feel for what the possibilities surrounding this season are.
2. Tony Pierson
Head coach Charlie Weis has touted the abilities of the former running back turned hybrid receiver/back. It will be fun to see how the Jayhawks get Pierson involved. Think Tavon Austin's role last year at West Virginia.
3. The Wide Receivers
Simply put, the passing game has to be a factor if Kansas is going to be taken seriously and the only way that will happen is to become a two dimensional offense with a legitimate passing game. In 2012, the Jayhawks devolved into a predictable one-dimensional attack. Yet, they were a few plays away from winning as many as five or six games. A couple of touchdown receptions would also go a long way in erasing the stat that the wide receivers failed to record a touchdown reception in 2012.
4. James Sims
Sims didn't get a lot of love in the preseason when talking about the Big 12's best running backs. It should be pointed out that he rushed for over 1,000 yards (1,009 to be exact) in just nine games, usually with the opponent stacking nine in the box. His senior year should be a great one.
5. The Defense and Newcomers
Much has been made about Charlie Weis very big class of JUCO talent this offseason, yet only four will start on Saturday. Still, their growth will only enhance the Jayhawks and a majority of that will come on defense. Keep an eye on safety Cassius Sendish, who is already become one of the leaders on defense and linebacker Samson Faifilli, who will start at linebacker along team captain Ben Heeney. He'll be known for more than the team's best hair.
South Dakota 10
This game will showcase many of the new facets on this Kansas team. It will also get fans a little more excited, heading into next week's rematch at Rice. Exepct Heaps to look solid and Sims to look awesome. Pierson will also make a play or two that will show why he's being used as he is this season. Also, keep an eye on the kicking game. It will be a lot better this season with place kicker Matthew Wyman and punter Trevor Pardula giving Weis a reason to not have close his eyes and turn on kicks.