Las Vegas has put the over-under on victories for the first Charlie Weis football team at Kansas University at 3.5, which would make a 4-8 season a success for anyone taking the over on that proposition.
Charlie Weis has a number in mind for what would constitute success. He’ll answer most questions sent his way, but he’s not stupid, so he won’t answer that one. What’s he supposed to say, four? Then if the team reaches four with two weeks remaining, well, they’ve already had a successful season, so don’t worry about the last two.
Four does seem like a reasonable number to define success and six would qualify as cause for euphoria. A bowl game one year after a 2-10 season during which KU trailed by 33 points or more five times heading into the fourth quarter? Even by 2-10 standards, it was a bad, bad team.
“There were just too many games the team was out of last year,” Weis said. “We’ve got to get away from that. We’ve got to get to where people say, ‘God, what happened to those guys? That used to be an easy win,’ where they start worrying about you, not just saying it to be politically correct.”
Weis’ abhorrence of coach speak makes him a far more interesting listen in a press conference than 90 percent of all college football coaches.
“There are already coaches in the league, because I’m here, don’t want to say something degrading, so they say, ‘Well, Kansas will be much improved.’ But they don’t really mean that,” he said. “They’re just saying it to sound good. It’s got to get to the point where they start worrying, and hopefully, that’ll happen this year, not next year.”
Kansas trailed Texas A&M; by 61 points going into the final quarter, Oklahoma State by 49, Kansas State by 38, Georgia Tech by 35 and Texas by 33.
KU could trail by half those margins heading into the final 15 minutes against the top teams on this year’s schedule and foes still wouldn’t worry about them. So the Jayhawks need to be more than twice as good as they were a year ago for Weis to get his wish in terms of competitiveness.
“We’re not looking for that to be a three-year project to get to that point,” he said of getting foes to worry about them. “We’re looking for that to occur this year.”
He recruited three players from Notre Dame — quarterback Dayne Crist, tight end Mike Ragone and linebacker Anthony McDonald — and one from Nebraska (defensive end Josh Williams) to chip away at the talent deficit and bring a veteran presence to push the holdovers. That seems to be working well.
To get to 4-8 Kansas would need either to go 2-1 in nonconference games (South Dakota State, Rice, Northern Illinois) and 2-7 in the Big 12 or sweep the nonconference and get just one conference upset, both reasonable paths.