We’re closing in on the halfway point of the 2022 college football season, giving us a good idea of who’s for real and who’s not in the Football Bowl Subdivision.
There are 16 teams (out of 131 FBS teams) that are undefeated through five weeks of football, with the Kansas Jayhawks sitting among that group, thanks to a gutsy, 14-11 home win over Iowa State on Saturday.
Fans and folks taking part in newly minted Kansas sports betting see the Jayhawks are 5-0 for the first time since 2009. That was the season they began the year with five consecutive victories, before plunging to earth in an 0-7 final stretch that ultimately cost head coach Mark Mangino his job in Lawrence.
This year’s Jayhawks squad thus far has shown no signs of such a collapse, with do-it-all junior QB Jalon Daniels sitting ninth in DraftKings Kansas Sportsbook’s Heisman Trophy list, at +2800.
The Jayhawks will look to secure eligibility for their first bowl game berth in 14 years this Saturday, when they host fellow unbeaten TCU at Booth Memorial Stadium at 11 a.m. Central time on FOX.
FanDuel Kansas has the Jayhawks as a seven-point home underdog against TCU.
Kansas also is +240 on the moneyline and the over-under is at a hefty 67.5 points.
BetKansas.com broke down where the Jayhawks stand, in terms of the most underappreciated teams in the country, basing our results off DraftKings’ preseason win totals for each FBS team, compared to where they are now.
Here’s where coach Lance Leipold’s team stacks up nationally by that metric and who the biggest surprises and disappointments are in college football this fall.
- 1. Kansas (5-0): Ranked 19th; 5-0 for 1st time since 2009. Preseason win total: 2.5
- 2. Syracuse (5-0): Ranked 22nd; 5-0 for 1st time since 1987. Preseason win total: 5
- 3. James Madison (4-0): 4-0 in 1st FBS season. Preseason win total: 6.5
- 4. Texas Christian (4-0): Beat OU, 55-24, last Saturday. 4-0 in Sonny Dykes’ 1st season. Preseason win total: 6.5
- 5. Ole Miss (5-0): 5-0 for 1st time since 1969. Preseason win total: 7.5
- 6. Tennessee (4-0): 4-0 for 1st time since 2016. Defeated SEC East rival Florida last Saturday.
Other unbeatens (with record and preseason win total): UCLA (5-0, 8.5); USC (5-0, 9.5); Oklahoma State (4-0, 8.5); Coastal Carolina (5-0, 8); Michigan (5-0, 9.5); Penn State (5-0, 8.5); Clemson (5-0, 10.5); Ohio State (5-0, 10.5); Alabama (5-0, 10.5); Georgia (5-0, 10.5).
- Boise State (3-2): Posted 17 10+-win seasons between 1999 and 2019. Preseason win total: 9
- Wisconsin (2-3): Fired coach Paul Chryst. Preseason win total: 8.5
- Utah State(1-4): Was 11-3 last year. Preseason win total: 7
- San Diego State(2-3): Was 12-2 last year. Preseason win total: 6.5
- Virginia Tech (2-3): Has gone to 28 straight bowls in full seasons. Preseason win total: 6.5
- Stanford (1-3): Won 94 games between 2010 and 2017. Preseason win total: 4.5
- Colorado (0-5): Fired head coach Karl Dorrell on Monday. Preseason win total: 3
BetKansas.com is a good source for analytical stories such as this on sports betting, as well as for the top Kansas sportsbook promos.
Why KU Tops Our Biggest Surprises List
It’s hard to adequately express how much Leipold’s gotten out of a roster that was pretty much considered devoid of talent a year or two ago.
Based on 247 Sport’s college football recruiting rankings, the Jayhawks have ranked either dead last or ninth out of the 10 programs that comprise the Big 12 Conference over the past four recruiting cycles.
The Jayhawks also never have come close to approaching the NCAA’s cap on recruits in a given cycle (25) over the past three years, bringing in a total of 41 players between 2021 and 2023 (though they could add more before the end of the year).
Take Daniels, for example. He was a three-star QB out of Lawndale High School in Los Angeles and had one other FBS scholarship offer, from Middle Tennessee State.
It’s hard to argue that any other FBS program has the baked-in disadvantages of KU, with its decade-plus of losing football and lack of NFL chops.
That’s why Leipold and company lead our list as the biggest surprise team in the country so far, with another shot at shocking the world, against fellow surprise TCU, this weekend.
Figure on the Jayhawks continuing to get major interest on Kansas sports betting apps.
Boise State, Wisconsin Among Biggest Disappointments
One could argue that the program with the greatest dropoff of late has been the Boise State Broncos, who went from being a dominant team each fall to firing their offensive coordinator after a series of mishaps in 2022.
After winning 10 or more games 17 times between 1999 and 2019, the Broncos have failed to exceed seven wins since. This year’s club is mired at 3-2 with losses to Oregon State and Texas-El Paso.
Another program that has struggled to the point of already forcing a change in coaching is Wisconsin, which went from the AP preseason top 25 to a 2-3 start that included a home loss to Washington State and a national TV shellacking by Ohio State.
The Badgers, like the Broncos, have fallen short of their preseason win total of 8.5.
Unless interim head coach Jim Leonhard can turn the ship around quickly, it appears that the Badgers could fall to 6-6 or 5-7 by season’s end, with road games against Northwestern, Michigan State and Iowa on the docket.
It’s not even safe to assume that Wisconsin, which won 10 games as recently as 2019, can win its home games against Purdue, Maryland and Minnesota.
There’s still six-plus weeks left in the 2022 college football season, but it seems safe to say that the pleasant surprises have separated from the disappointments, at least when it comes to living up to Vegas’ preseason expectations.
For now, the long-suffering fans of the Jayhawks can take solace in knowing that their decade-plus struggle for success appears to have come to an end.