NCAA Football Futures: Which Programs Will Rebound in 2022?

NCAA Football Futures: Which Programs Will Rebound in 2022?
By Christopher Boan
Fact Checked by Thomas Leary

We’re less than two weeks away from the opening games of the 2022 college football season, which means optimism runs rampant across campuses from Piscataway to Honolulu.  

One program has stood out when it comes to its decade-plus struggle to field a winning football team, however.  

We’re talking about the Kansas Jayhawks, who last won six games in a single season 14 years ago, when they went 8-5 during the 2008 college football season under then-head coach Mark Mangino.  

Since then, the Jayhawks across Kansas online betting have been rocked by their foes, going 55-125 during that period, with more 10-plus loss seasons (seven) than bowl wins (four) this century. 

BetKansas.com crunched the numbers to see if Year Two of the Lance Leopold era in Lawrence would result in the Jayhawks snapping the longest losing season streak in the nation, and who else could possibly vault past the six-win mark this fall.  

Using the schools with the 10 longest streaks of six wins or less, we can place odds on who the most likely program is to get back to their winning ways in 2022.  

BetKansas.com used the school’s strength of schedule (adding up the wins and losses from each of their 2022 opponents) and the recruiting rankings (from 247Sports) of each to determine odds on which would win six games or more this season.

Odds to go 6-6 or better

South Alabama+100 (50% of going 6-6 or better)
Texas State+125 (44.4% chance of going 6-6 or better)
Rutgers+150 (40% of going 6-6 or better)
Illinois+250 (29% of going 6-6 or better)
Rice+400 (20% of going 6-6 or better)
UMass+500 (16.67% chance of going 6-6 or better)
UNLV+700 (12.5% chance of going 6-6 or better)
UConn+1000 (9.09% chance of going 6-6 or better)
⭐️ Kansas+1250 (7.4% chance of going 6-6 or better)
Vanderbilt+1900 (5% chance of going 6-6 or better)

How We Determined Odds for Each Team

Based solely off opponents’ combined win-loss record, the University of Massachusetts would have the best shot at winning at least six games in 2022, thanks to their opponents going a combined 58-89 in 2021. (Bettors monitoring Kansas mobile betting apps should take note).

The Minutemen have never won more than four games since transitioning from FCS to FBS in 2012, which makes it hard to assume that Don Brown will thrive in his second stint in Amherst, out of the gate at least.  Also, UMass is an independent in football, which means the Minutemen will be forced to venture across the country yet again in 2022.  

As a result, it’s hard to see the team having a shot at beating the likes of Toledo, Eastern Michigan, Liberty, Texas A&M, and Army — all of whom had winning records a year ago.  

That means that South Alabama, which had the second-lowest opponents’ winning percentage (44.9%) and the advantage of playing in the Sun Belt Conference where they went 5-7 a year ago, has the best odds of winning six or more games in 2022. 

The Jaguars face FCS squad Nicholls State, in addition to sub-.500 teams Louisiana Tech, Louisiana-Monroe, Troy, Arkansas State, Georgia Southern, Texas State, Southern Mississippi, and Old Dominion in 2022.  That means USA has an advantageous shot at winning at least six games this fall, as they will only have to beat 75% of the aforementioned octet of teams to reach said benchmark.  

Another non-Power Five teams to keep an eye on in 2022 is Jake Spavital’s Texas State squad, which went 4-8 a year ago in the Sun Belt Conference.  The Bobcats have only won more than six games once since jumping to the FBS in 2012, going 7-5 under Dennis Franchione in 2014.  They will have their fair share of chances to win some games this fall, though, with winnable non-conference games against Nevada (on Sept. 3) and Florida International (Sept. 10), along with a contest against  an 0-11 FCS squad, Houston Baptist, on Sept. 24.  

From there, Texas State plays first-year FBS team James Madison University, and against 5-7 Troy, 3-9 Southern Mississippi, 4-8 Louisiana-Monroe, 5-7 South Alabama, and 2-10 Arkansas State between Oct. 1 and Nov. 19.

With any luck, the Bobcats could have six or more wins by the time they square off against the Ragin’ Cajuns of Louisiana in their regular season finale on Nov. 26.

As these teams look to change the narrative around their programs, keep in mind that Kansas sportsbooks are expected to launch this fall. Operators like DraftKings Sportsbook Kansas are already offering promos that sports bettors can claim by pre-registering before the market goes live.

Teams With the Longest Streak of 6-Plus-Loss Seasons

Kansas13 seasons
Illinois10 seasons
UMass10 seasons
Vanderbilt8 seasons
UConn8 seasons
South Alabama8 seasons
UNLV8 seasons
Rutgers7 seasons
Rice7 seasons
Texas State7 seasons

Will 2022 Be the Year of the Jayhawk?

Many residents of the Sunflower State have high hopes that former Buffalo University head coach Lance Leopold will lead the Jayhawks back to respectability in 2022.  

While nothing’s impossible, it’s hard to see Kansas winning more than three or four games this fall, with only four games against teams with losing records in 2021 and the yearly battles against powerhouses like Oklahoma, Baylor, and Oklahoma State on the horizon.  

Jayhawks fans should enjoy watching Leopold’s team put forth a much more respectable showing, with a more entrenched system, in 2022.  

Worst case, there’s always a shot that Kansas pulls off another upset of the Texas Longhorns this fall, as they did a year ago, when they shocked the Longhorns in Austin, 57-56, in overtime.

By the time Leopold can truly turn around the Jayhawks program, BetKansas.com will be the place to be for Kansas sports betting promos.

Power Five Teams to Watch in 2022

On the “Power Five” level, there’s reason for hope in Piscataway and Champaign, as Rutgers and Illinois should win some games this fall.  Both programs are coming off five-win campaigns with veteran coaches (Greg Schiano and Brett Bielema) and have their fair share of winnable games in the Big Ten.  

For the Scarlet Knights, last year’s 5-8 squad should set the table for bigger and better things, with winnable games against Boston College, Wagner (FCS), and Temple to start the season, followed by home conference games against Iowa, Nebraska, and Indiana.  

If Rutgers can sweep those six games, then they’ll be bowl eligible, with a shot at padding their record against conference foes like Minnesota (who they play in Minneapolis on Oct. 29) and Maryland (who they play in College Park on Nov. 26).  

The Fighting Illini have an even more advantageous schedule this fall, with winnable games against Wyoming and Virginia at home in Weeks 1 and 3, sandwiched between a road game against Indiana.  

From there, Bielema’s team plays FCS squad Chattanooga in Week 4, followed by home games against Iowa (Oct. 8) and Minnesota (Oct. 15), with road clashes against Wisconsin (Oct. 1) and Nebraska (Oct. 29) dotting the midway point of the season.  

After that, the Illini will have a final month that includes games against Michigan State (Nov. 5) and Purdue (Nov. 12) at home, before closing out the year against Big Ten champs Michigan (Nov. 19) and Northwestern (Nov. 26).  With any luck, this could be the first time that Illinois has won more than six games since 2011, when they finished the year 7-6 under Ron Zook. 

FanDuel has the Illini over/under at 4.5 wins currently. FanDuel Sportsbook Kansas earlier this month began accepting early registration for new accounts, 

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Contributors

Christopher Boan is a lead writer at BetKansas.com specializing in covering state issues. He covered sports and sports betting in Arizona for more than seven years.

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