Historical Implications of Jayhawks’ Opener

This Saturday, Kansas will open its season against South Dakota. Before we look to the future, it is important to understand what implications this game will have on the rest of the Jayhawks’ 2013 season.

In the last ten years, Kansas has won its opening game eight times. In those seasons, Kansas has averaged roughly six wins and six losses. Additionally, Kansas has appeared (and won) in three bowl games (including the Orange Bowl).

When the Jayhawks have lost the opening game, they have averaged four wins and eight losses while only recording a single bowl appearance (and no bowl wins). Kansas’ winning percentage in those seasons is 36 percent which is over 10 percent less than its winning percentage when the Jayhawks win the first game.

Also, it should be noted that Kansas has not had a winning season when losing the first game of the season in the last ten years. Meanwhile, when they win the first game, 38 percent of their seasons have ended with a bowl victory and only 50% have ended with the Jayhawks below .500.

Now, let’s look to the future:

Kansas will be facing off against a South Dakota side that has already won its first game. The Coyotes won 10-7 against UC Davis in a defensive struggle. South Dakota found little offense anywhere, as quarterback Josh Vander Maten only threw for 91 yards to just three different targets. South Dakota saw most of its success through the run game, and even mixed it up with a couple trick plays. Terrance Terry (wide receiver) led the team with 10.5 yards per rush, on a couple of carries. However, if South Dakota is going to hang with the Jayhawks, they are going to need some more versatility.

Kansas will look to impose their will early, and should they do so this game will be over quickly. Kansas has won eight of their last nine opening contest (and two straight) by an average margin of victory of nearly 27 points. If South Dakota is unable to move the ball (like in their last game), the margin of victory will be well above that number.

Prediction Time: This game should be no problem for the Jayhawks, especially after seeing Kansas State downed by lower competition. The ‘Hawks will take this game seriously and win by a big margin. I think the score will look something like 35-9. I’d love for you all to comment your predictions below.

**It should be noted that the official line is currently: KU (-23.5)**