There's good news aplenty for the Texas Longhorns over the next week. Friday, Shaka Smart's debut as the Longhorns' head basketball coach finally arrives, and in some much more immediate and encouraging considerations for Charlie Strong's 3-5 football program; the 0-8 Kansas Jayhawks are in town.
With only four opportunities remaining to obtain the three wins necessary to reach bowl eligibility, Texas' matchup against winless Kansas serves as the closest possible display of a much-needed "gimme" game. Across the board, the Jayhawks aren't a very good football team. They rank 114th in total offense per game (338), 127th in total per game defense (581.5), and the scoreboard has reflected such statistical misfortunes, with the Jayhawks offense contributing 16.5 points per, while the defense allows 47.1 - efforts that land KU 122nd and 126th nationally.
It would be ill-advised to proclaim the Longhorns are much better, statistically speaking, as Texas ranked 121st in offense per game (330), 92nd in defensive yards per game (435), 97th in points (24), and 91st in points allowed per game (30.1). But the nearly factual statement remains, that even when Texas isn't exceptionally good, either -- just as it wasn't last season -- the Longhorns sheer athleticism and talent level should be enough to prevail -- just as it was in last season's 23-0 shutout.
Considering Texas features a youthful and inexperienced secondary and an unproven passing attack, the game will come down to two key factors:
- The Texas defense, which has racked up 17 sacks in the last three games, will have the privilege of lining up across a Kansas offensive line that's allowed 23 sacks this season - good enough to rank 111th nationally, and ironically, equal the Longhorns' season total.
- Texas rushing attack and it's 195.4 yards per game are up against a Jayhawks defense that ranks dead last in opposing rushing success rate and opportunity rate.
In six tries at DKR, the Jayhawks have never gotten the best of Texas, and haven't done so in general since before World War II - 1938. It would be far-fetched to project such streaks coming to a close tonight.
Projection: Texas 31, Kansas 6
How to watch, listen, and stream
TV: Longhorn Network, 7:00 p.m. CT
Radio: Longhorn IMG Radio Network, among other participating Longhorn Radio Network affiliates
Online Streaming: WatchESPN (video), TexasSports.com (audio)
Weather: High of 65 degrees / Low of 50 degrees / Precipitation 60%
Odds: Texas (-28)