Has the definition of success for Kansas football in 2022 changed? For some it has, for others it hasn’t…

Kansas wide receiver Lawrence Arnold (2) runs for a first down against Oklahoma during the second half of an NCAA college football game Saturday, Oct. 15, 2022, in Norman, Okla. Oklahoma won 52-42. (AP Photo/Alonzo Adams)

The Kansas football team has reached the point of the season where people have started to re-ask the question of what defines success in 2022.

It’s a good question.

The answer has likely changed for many of you. And there’s no doubt that the Jayhawks’ thrilling 5-0 start to the season has played a role in your thinking.

Still, there seem to be two schools of thought here.

The first group — and this one might be the biggest and loudest — is the group that likes to remind people that many of us thought that this Kansas squad was a 2-, 3- or 4-win team before the season began and that they already have exceeded those expectations.

The second group is made up of people who believe that the 5-0 start reset the bar and that determining whether the 2022 season was successful or not will be based largely on how the Jayhawks follow up the 5-game winning streak they opened the season with.

Is it possible that both sides are right?

There’s no doubt that what Kansas has done so far this season has been nothing short of spectacular. And winning five games in a row to open the season is only the half of it.

KU sold out three consecutive home games and won back-to-back games on the road. Lance Leipold’s Jayhawks jumped back into the national polls and were bona fide media darlings for a few weeks. Heck, ESPN’s College GameDay preview show even made a stop in Lawrence for football for the first time ever.

All of those accomplishments — and others — scream success for most programs during any season. And KU achieved them by the midway point.

So, yeah. Forgetting about what happens from here — good or bad — and committing to calling this season a huge success is OK in my book.

It’s also OK, though, if you expect more.

After all, Kansas football has been chasing its next bowl appearance for more than a decade, and during most seasons in that stretch, KU fans’ hopes of reaching a bowl were dashed by Week 2 or 3.

Getting to five wins — one win shy of bowl eligibility — and then coming up short would be a tough pill to swallow and certainly would skew the way some people look at the 2022 season. They’re not crazy. Perhaps with time, they, too, will be able to look back at the current season and view it as a serious success and clear step in the right direction.

But if disappointment is due and this team can’t get that sixth win this season, it seems fair — at least in the here and now — for the group that hoped for more after that hot start to be a little bummed.

None of this matters in the grand scheme of things, of course. It’s the players and coaches who determine the outcome of these games, and this Kansas roster is dealing with more than its share of significant and super-unfortunate injuries at the moment.

So you have to toss all of the factors into the equation when you’re deciding which camp you want to live in for the next month and a half.

Just don’t feel bad for picking one over the other. In fact, you probably shouldn’t even feel bad if you hop back and forth between the two.

It’s uncharted waters for Kansas football and its fans right now, and these Jayhawks, as banged up as they may be, still have at least five games to go to finish the story of the season.

Maybe it’s best to just wait until then to decide how successful 2022 was. Something tells me that will be much easier.


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