Kansas football earns spot in USA TODAY Coaches Poll at No. 17 after 5-0 start – The Topeka Capital-Journal

  • October 3, 2022

LAWRENCE — Kansas football’s magical season added another chapter Sunday with the revelation that the Jayhawks have been ranked No. 17 in the latest USA TODAY Coaches Poll.
The ranking follows the team’s 14-11 victory Saturday in Big 12 Conference play against Iowa State (3-2, 0-2 in Big 12). That win extended Kansas’ winning streak to five this season, as the Jayhawks (5-0, 2-0 in Big 12) are off to their best start in a season since 2009. And there was no real doubt this week about whether a win would be enough to enter the top 25, which they did for the first time since being No. 21 on Oct. 18, 2009.
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“I love the amount of people that came out to the game,” junior quarterback Jalon Daniels said Saturday after the win against Iowa State. “We were able to pack the Booth. That’s something that we’ve been harping on, is packing the Booth. They came in with that energy and I feel like that energy helped us today.”
Kansas started the season with a win against FCS-level Tennessee Tech and then entered the FBS portion of its schedule the next week with a win against West Virginia. Victories against Houston, Duke and Iowa State, obviously, followed. Head coach Lance Leipold’s second year at the helm is progressing to a point that few outside of the Jayhawks’ facility likely thought was possible.
Droughts for Kansas are being broken. Stars like Daniels are emerging. While a couple of weeks ago the ceiling of expectations might have risen to reaching a bowl game, now it’s at maintaining a top 25 ranking and showing just how close competing for a Big 12 title is for this group.
RELATED:Kansas vs. Iowa State football recap: Jayhawks top Cyclones in 14-11 thriller
“We’ve both got to stay focused because it can be taken away pretty quick,” said Leipold, as he referred Saturday to the need for himself and his players not to get carried away. “It’s my job to make sure that happens, and I’ll enjoy it maybe in between Christmas and New Year’s, or New Year’s and Valentine’s Day, or something. I don’t know. But I can’t — you spend too much time basking in what’s done somebody else is already preparing. I mean, TCU played the early game so they’ve got a jump already on us for next week. So, kind of take that approach.”
No. 18 TCU (4-0, 1-0 in Big 12) will be the first test of Kansas’ heightened possibilities, and it won’t be the last. The Horned Frogs and Jayhawks will match up in an Oct. 8 game that’ll be highlighted in the first trip ESPN’s “College GameDay” show will ever make to David Booth Kansas Memorial Stadium. Then Kansas finishes its regular season with games against Oklahoma, No. 22 Baylor, No. 7 Oklahoma State, Texas Tech, Texas and No. 20 Kansas State.
But the Jayhawks have continued to pass test after test this fall. The reasons behind thinking they can’t pass more continue to dwindle. Momentum is key, and that’s not lacking around Kansas.
Jordan Guskey covers University of Kansas Athletics at The Topeka Capital-Journal. Contact him at [email protected] or on Twitter at @JordanGuskey.