At 2-7, the Kansas Jayhawks are now officially ineligible for a bowl, but that doesn't take away the importance of these last three games starting today at home against West Virginia. Kansas has lost a whopping 27 consecutive Big 12 games and now threaten the conference record, ironically set by Baylor at 29 games. That's pretty sad for a program that won a BCS bowl just six years ago, but fans need not worry about the drive and determination to finish strong from everyone associated with the program.
"I'm all in," head coach Charlie Weis said while using a poker analogy. "I'm either going to double up or walk away empty."
Some might think Kansas would give up and mail it in, but those people haven't paying much attention, as the effort has been there and the team has been in games. Now, they must see it through and they'll get their first opportunity today against a Mountaineers team that is banged up physically and emotionally after a heartbreaking loss to Texas last week.
For the Jayhawks, they may be eliminated from postseason play, but wins in their last three contests, today and in their final two games at Iowa State and at home against Kansas State would dramatically changed the perception of a 2013 season that so far has been a major disappointment.
"Our playoffs started when we were eliminated," Weis said. "Our bowl game is on the Saturday after Thanksgiving."
Here are five things to watch for in what amounts to a must win game for the physche of the Kansas football program.
How much energy will Kansas have playing in front of a sparse and fairly apathetic home crowd? They'll be responsible for generating their own juice, which is too bad, but if looks like they could get the win, things will change fast.
2. Who starts at QB?
"I already know who's going to start at quarterback, why would I tell them?" Weis said.
3. Which West Virginia team shows up?
Replacing much of their firepower this season, the Mountaineers have a Jeckyl and Hyde effect to them. Kansas hopes the team that has struggled, particularly on offense walks into Memorial Stadium today.
4. The West Virginia running backs
5. The Kansas offensive line
This piggy backs of number four. Kansas must dominate the line of scrimmage in their final three games to have a chance to win, but it will be imperative today with very strong winds that will make the running and kicking game for that matter an adventure. It'll all start with the much maligned offensive line, which could change the Kansas fate by springing their talented backfield loose.