Kansas football coach Lance Leipold a fan of several aspects of recently released 2023 schedule

Kansas head coach Lance Leipold cheers on his players during the second half of the Liberty Bowl NCAA college football game against Arkansas, Wednesday, Dec. 28, 2022, in Memphis, Tenn. Arkansas won in three overtimes, 55-53. (AP Photo/Rogelio V. Solis)

Kansas football coach Lance Leipold’s strongest reaction to the recently released 2023 football schedule had everything to do with the opener.

Slated for Aug. 31 at home against Missouri State, Leipold said this week that he was thrilled to see that his team’s first game of the season would be on a Thursday night instead of a Friday.

Most college football coaches don’t get a whole lot of say — or at least have any luck getting their way — in how the next season’s football schedule lays out. Television networks, athletic directors and conference commissioners do most of that work.

Leipold, however, did request the Thursday opener and felt pretty darn good about the fact that it actually came to reality.

“I know the first two years (of his time at KU) we had to make a concession to play on Fridays,” Leipold said of the 2020 and 2021 season openers. “For our administration (to make) it happen that we could open the season on a Thursday night, there’s a lot of benefits to that.”

Included among them is the obvious ability to avoid the Friday conflict with high school games across the state. Beyond that, Leipold said Kansas playing on Thursday that week, instead of the more traditional Saturday kickoff, should make Labor Day weekend plans a lot easier for everyone.

There was, of course, Leipold’s reaction to the actual teams on KU’s schedule, too. Three of the four are newcomers to the conference, with Kansas playing at Cincinnati the final game of the regular season and playing host to BYU and Central Florida along the way.

“We added four quality football programs to this conference,” Leipold said, with 2022 opponent Houston being the other. “We get to play three of the four and we played Houston last year, so we’ll have played them all in a short bit of time.”

Other things that stood out to Leipold, who joked that he, like most people, knew the identity of KU’s first three opponents — non-conference foes Missouri State and Illinois at home and at Nevada in Week 3 — included the fact that KU will not play consecutive road games in 2023 and that the bye week coming in Week 8 (on Oct. 21) “fits at a good time.”

He also loved that KU will have seven home games this season, including back-to-back games at home twice — Week 1 and 2 and Week 10 and 11.

“All those things are great,” Leipold said.


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