September 10: Preview and Prediction

In 2010, Turner Gill sealed his fate by losing 6-3 to North Dakota State. But he won in surprising fashion against Georgia Tech the following week. David Beaty, hopefully, has not sealed his fate with his loss to South Dakota State. However, I don't expect a pattern repeated against Memphis.

Memphis, at one point, was a lot like Kansas. But it had an easier road to respectability. The team is now a force in its conference, where the competition is not as good. But Memphis could hang with a lot of the best teams in the nation. Justin Fuente, a former Oklahoma quarterback, is one of the hottest coaching names in the nation. He will likely land an SEC or Big 12 job in the near future. The Tiger quarterback is 6'7" and 245 pounds, with speed. The team spreads the field and runs a lot of misdirection. Considering Kansas had trouble stopping straight-ahead plays against an FCS school, this seems like a unfortunate combination.

I'm not sure why they decided to do it, but Memphis threw a pass from a WR reverse against Missouri State. The Tigers did not need to show anything more than the basics, so I wonder what creativity Memphis is saving for Kansas. Or maybe memphis feels so confident, it will run the same five plays and save the truly tricky plays for conference foes.

Memphis' biggest challenge this year is replacing eight defensive starters from a bowl-winning team. But I don't see Kansas having enough juice to keep up. I gave Montell Cozart a reluctant "up" trend/rating for his ability to calm down after falling so far behind last week and at least put Kansas in a position to come back. But the man still has minimal quarterback instinct and awareness. David Beaty was understandably upset about the mistakes on both sides of the ball in week one. Part of it is inexperience, but also how they practiced. With such a short roster, Kansas didn't go as hard as other teams in the preseason for fear of injury. Perhaps with a game under its belts, the Jayhawks will settle down. The athletic ability and depth of the opponent will increase every week. I just don't see scoreboard improvement in the cards this Saturday.

Prediction: Memphis 52, Kansas 17