Yes, you read that headline correctly and I can assure you this is not some type of hoax. Oddsmakers have tabbed the 1-2 Iowa State Cyclones, who have won just six games since the start of the 2013 season, a 14.5-point favorite over Kansas.
As shocking as that line might seem, equally shocking is how much Kansas sucks. The wretched Jayhawks limp into Saturday's contest in Ames at 0-3 and with their most recent loss at Rutgers, they have now dropped 31-straight road contests, which is the longest streak since the FBS and FCS split in 1978.
For those that have been following the sorrows of the Jayhawks since last spring, it's not entirely surprising to see this unit winless after non-conference play. Injuries, attrition and Charlie Weis' hilariously short-sighted recruiting strategy have left first-year coach, David Beaty, with a roster short on both capable talent and capable bodies.
So just how bad is Kansas? Where to begin...
- Kansas is giving up 41 points per game, which is the worst mark in the Big 12 and 118th (out of 127 teams) in the NCAA.
- The Jayhawks are surrendering 254.3 rushing yards to opponents, good for 7th worst in the country.
- Sticking with the defense, Kansas is giving up 542.3 yards per game. Any guesses on where that ranks them nationally? If you guessed 120th, good for you.
- This may seem liking piling on, but it turns out it's pretty damn easy to throw the ball against Kansas as well. With a defensive passing efficiency rating of 177.27, Kansas owns the 5th worst mark in that category nationally.
- The Jayhawks aren't quite as awful offensively, but they really struggle throwing the ball. Their passing efficiency clip of 111.78 is 111th in the country. Jayhawk quarterbacks are completing just 56.3% of their passes and have thrown for just one touchdown through three games.
- As they've done for several years now, Kansas is relying on its ground game to move the sticks. To their credit, Kansas does field a serviceable rushing attacking, paced by 181 yards per game. Ke'aun Kinner is averaging 98.5 yards per game.
- Overall, Kansas is averaging 425.7 yards per game and 25 points. Both of those marks are better than Iowa State in case you were wondering, though each figure was padded by Kansas' opener against South Dakota State where they scored 38 points and put up 576 yards. The Jayhawks did, however, trail 31-7 to the Jackrabbits in the second quarter of that game before staging a furious comeback that ultimately fell short.
For reference, the 14.5 points Iowa State is getting are the most since 2012 when the Cyclones were a 35-point favorite against Western Illinois. Iowa State won that game 37-3, narrowly missing the cover. The last time Iowa State was this big of a favorite in a conference game was 2011 against Kansas, where the line was also 14.5 points. ISU won 13-10. The last time Iowa State lost as a double-digit favorite was back in 2002, when they dropped a contest to UConn by a final of 37-20. The Cyclones were an 18.5-point favorite at home.