Kansas ranked again in both major college football polls

Kansas linebacker Rich Miller (30) celebrates after a missed Iowa State field goal during the fourth quarter on Saturday, Oct. 1, 2022 at Memorial Stadium. The Jayhawks defeated the Cyclones 14-11 to remain unbeaten.

The Kansas football team’s streak of 674 consecutive weeks of being unranked ended Sunday, when the Jayhawks jumped into both the Associated Press Top 25, at No. 19, and the USA Today Coaches Poll at No. 17.

Kansas is one of 11 unbeaten teams in this week’s AP Top 25.

Kansas, which just missed being ranked a week ago after moving to 4-0 with a home win over Duke, left voters little choice this week by knocking off a 3-1 Iowa State team, 14-11 at David Booth Kansas Memorial Stadium on Saturday.

The win moved the Jayhawks to 5-0 — the best record in the Big 12 Conference and KU’s best start in 13 years — and put Kansas just one win shy of becoming bowl eligible, with seven games still to play.

In short, if KU can win one more time this season, Lance Leipold’s team will go to a bowl game for the first time since the 2008 season. If this group, which is gaining confidence and swagger by the week, can win more than that, the level of bowl in which they will play will improve.

KU jumped from unranked (at No. 26 last week) in the AP poll to No. 19 this week, jumping over in-state rival Kansas State in the process. K-State, which just beat out KU for the final spot in the Top 25 last week, is up to No. 20 in this week’s poll, one spot behind Kansas.

It marks the first time since Oct. 14, 2007 that both KU and KSU were ranked in the same week.

Despite scoring just 14 points in the Saturday win over Iowa State, Kansas still is averaging 41.6 points per game, which ranks 12th nationally, and 421.8 total yards of offense.

Throughout the week leading up to Saturday’s win over the Cyclones, several Jayhawks were asked how much they cared or how much they paid attention to the national polls. Most said they thought it mattered very little and that the Jayhawks’ focus would remain on the process that got them to this point — hard work, humility and striving to be 1% better each day.

Asked after Saturday’s victory if he would be eagerly awaiting the release of the polls on Sunday, KU linebacker Rich Miller said simply: “I’ll be wondering a little bit, but, honestly, I told teammate Kalon Gervin — we always talk about it — I didn’t even want to be ranked until we were 6-0. I love being an underdog. I love keeping a chip on my shoulder. That’s how I made it this far. So keep us an underdog. That’s going to make us hungrier. But be careful if you’re going to keep us an underdog.”

The last time the Jayhawks were ranked came in October of 2009, when they were 21st in the coaches poll and 24th in the AP poll at 5-0. They lost the final seven games of that season and have not been ranked since.

KU will look to move to 6-0 at 11 a.m. next Saturday, when 4-0 TCU (No. 17 AP and No. 18 Coaches) comes to town fresh off of a beatdown of Oklahoma that dropped the Sooners from the polls.

ESPN’s College Gameday is coming to Lawrence for the fun, and the Horned Frogs are an early 3.5-point favorite over the home team, just the way Miller likes it.

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