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Quick Look: Kansas Jayhawks

TCU’s next opponent is Kansas, who, despite being awful, always give the Frogs a run for their money.

Kansas v Iowa State Photo by David Purdy/Getty Images

Make no mistake about it, Kansas is bad. Their five losses (to Central Michigan, Ohio, West Virginia, Texas Tech, and Iowa State) have been by an average margin of 28.6 points. Their turnover margin is -9, and they’re gaining less than 400 yards per contest, while allowing close to 500. Their athletics website is a bunch of tweets, too-big-for-your-screen graphics, and a “you gotta hunt for it” menu all smashed together (is it weird they still link to their myspace profile? Or that Charlie Weis is still in their top friends?).

But none of that seems to matter when they play TCU.

In the five contests between Kansas and TCU since the Frogs joined the Big 12, TCU has won by an average of just seven points. TCU’s two biggest wins over Kansas came in 2012 and 2013, when they won 20-6, and 27-17. The past three seasons have been decided by just 11 points.

Maybe playing Kansas close is one of the obligations TCU agreed to when they joined the conference...I don’t know...but the annual “oh God are we going to lose to Kansas” panic attack I have is one of my less favorite football traditions. Anywho, here’s a quick look at the Jayhawks this season.

Kansas’ Record

1-5, 0-3 (Last Week: Took a beating at the hands of Iowa State, 45-0). Kansas beat Southeast Missouri State to open the year, and give Jayhawks fans false hope. Since that win, though, the Jayhawks have slogged through beating after beating, losing to Ohio and Central Michigan before entering conference play.

West Virginia’s defense gave up huge chunks of yards and points to the Jayhawks, but both Texas Tech and Iowa State handled Kansas with ease. Iowa State barely had to gain yards to score points on Saturday, while Kansas just kind of wandered aimlessly around on the field.

Key Players

Running back Khalil Herbert is probably Kansas’ best player on offense. He’s rushed for 503 yards and four touchdowns this season, and he’s gaining yards at a clip of 7.4 per carry.

Peyton Barber has thrown more interceptions than touchdowns through six games this season, and that’s been problematic for the Jayhawks offense. There’s some talent at receiver in Steven Sims Jr. and Ben Johnson, but Barber has struggled to get them the ball this season.

Linebacker Joe Dineen Jr. already has 77 tackles and 12 tackles for loss this season for the Jayhawks, but he’s on a defense that ranks 114th in the country in total defense.

Key Position Matchup

TCU’s defensive line vs. Kansas’ offensive line. This is a “make Peyton Barber beat you” kind of game. He’s only completing 55% of his passes on the season, and despite Doug Meacham being the Jayhawks’ OC, the running game is the strength of the offense. If the defensive line can continue to be disruptive, as it has all season, we may see another performance from the D like we did against Kansas State.

Early Odds

TCU opened as a 37.5-point favorite in this game. Just to reiterate, that’s more than the total number of points TCU has beaten Kansas by in the last five contests (35). So take that line for what it’s worth.