Les Miles has yet to coach a game for Kansas but he’s not the only one in the Big 12 gearing up for his first season with a new team.
When evaluating the schedule for possible advantages for the Jayhawks, one thing stood out: KU gets to play all these Big 12 teams with new head coaches at home this season.
New head coaches signify fresh starts for all the programs involved. Some are starting furtherr back than others, while some are simply picking up where the predecessors left off. Regardless, a new head coach means new coaching styles, new plays, new assistants, and new challenges.
If ever there was a time where a new coach’s team would be most vulnerable, it’s in their first year at their new school. That could be why Texas Tech, West Virginia, Kansas State, and KU are picked to finish seventh through tenth this year respectively, according to the Big 12 Media Preseason Poll.
But while the other head coaches have teams and programs that are in much more stable condition than the one at Kansas, they won’t have the additional advantage of playing in front of their home crowds when facing the Jayhawks this year.
I understand what some of the critics would say, “Well why does that matter? It’s not like Kansas has any home field advantage.”
That’s true, but the advantage for Kansas isn’t because of their home crowd (which we all know has been sparse these past 10 years). The advantage is they won’t have to face these teams in front of their home crowds.
Kansas State and West Virginia typically have very strong crowds at home games. Loud and raucous stadiums only make it tougher for a team to win – especially one as inexperienced when it comes to recent success as Kansas.
With these teams being forced to learn as the season goes on under their new staffs and not having the benefit of playing at home, it could prevent an opportunity for the Jayhawks to pull off a few upsets and win multiple conference games in a season for the first time since 2008.
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