As of right now, the temperature stands at 99 degrees, with a heat index of about 104, and it's a good 20 degrees warmer on the Kivisto Field turf. The temp is only expected to drop a couple of degrees by kickoff, but should steadily decline from there. It should actually be comfortable right about the time this thing wraps up.
That's fine for me and my colleagues up here in the incredibly comfortable - and air conditioned - press box, but it will be interesting to see how the players handle this heat. Both teams are, obviously, dealing with the same elements, but I'm curious to see if the Coyotes benefit at all from having a game under their belt. Are they going to be a little more conditioned for this? We'll see.
Weis, Jayhawks On Upset Alert
Kansas comes into this game looking to accomplish two things.
First, the Jayhawks, like the Coyotes did last week, want to start their season off on the right foot. This team was 1-11 in 2012, which included an 0-9 mark in the Big 12 Conference. The program needs a win to build some confidence under second year head coach Charlie Weis.
Second, they want to avoid becoming the latest FBS program to be bitten by the FCS upset bug. Eight FCS programs recorded wins over FBS counterparts last weekend, but North Dakota State's win over Kansas State hit especially close to home for Weis and the Jayhawks.
“Obviously, (that’s) an in-state rival that got a lot of attention,” Weis told reporters during Monday's Big 12 coaches teleconference. “We had a really early-morning practice, and they were the first words being uttered. I said: Did you pay attention? Did you see what happened? This isn’t a big surprise here fellas. This is what can happen.”
Scouting The Jayhawks
The KU offense will be paced by an explosive and powerful ground game. Senior James Sims and junior Tony Pierson combined for almost 52 percent of the Jayhawks' total offense last season (1,733 rushing/459 receiving).
Through the air, KU will be led by junior quarterback Jake Heaps, who sat out last season after transferring into the program from BYU. Heaps, the top-ranked high school quarterback in the country in 2010, passed for 2,316 yards and 15 touchdowns for the Cougars as a true freshman. But his performance fell off considerably during his sophomore season. He was benched after four games in 2011, which played a huge role in his decision to transfer. Today, he'll become the first 16th quarterback to make his first career start for Kansas since 2001. For what it's worth, The Jayhawks are 6-9 in the previous 15 such games.
Kansas returns just four starters from a defense that ranked 9th in the Big 12 last season. Junior linebacker Ben Heeney, who ranked 2nd in the Big 12 with 112 tackles last season, will be a guy to keep an eye on. The secondary is a big question mark with four new starters.
Joe Glenn Preview
We caught up with Coyotes coach Joe Glenn following Friday afternoon's walk-thru at Memorial Stadium to get his thoughts on the matchup with the Jayhawks.