Kansas or Iowa State will finally win a Big 12 game in 2016
Kansas or Iowa State will finally win a Big 12 game this week, and that might be the only conference victory for the Jayhawks or Cyclones.
Their coaches are rebuilding teams traditionally at the bottom of the Big 12, and both plan to approach Saturday's matchup in Lawrence, Kansas, like they do every other game.
''Our biggest thing is we've tried to win every football game, and the realistic piece of this is it's the next step for us,'' first-year Iowa State coach Matt Campbell said Monday.
The Cyclones and Jayhawks are each 1-8 (0-6 Big 12) with lengthy losing streaks.
''There are some similarities. It's one of those deals where I think each coach has his own style,'' Kansas coach David Beaty said on the weekly Big 12 coaches teleconference. ''But really I think the big thing as you watch them, very much like us, if you focus on your team and really try to correct your execution and mistakes, I think that's where a lot of the progress is going to be made.''
The Jayhawks have lost 18 consecutive Big 12 games since a home win over Iowa State in 2014, their only conference victory that season. They have lost eight games in a row overall after a season-opening 55-6 win over Rhode Island that is Beaty's only win in 21 games as Kansas' coach.
Iowa State is coming off its fifth straight loss , 34-24 at home to Big 12-leading Oklahoma, after which the ninth-ranked Sooners' coach Bob Stoops had some complimentary remarks about Campbell.
''We're certainly starting and working really hard to build our program the right way from the ground up,'' Campbell said. ''That's something that we're continuing to be in the process of doing here.''
Both teams have been close to upsets this season.
Four of Iowa State's conference losses are by 10 points or less. The Cyclones never trailed at home against then-No. 13 Baylor until the Bears kicked a game-ending field goal to win 45-42.
Kansas led by nine points in the fourth quarter against TCU, but the Jayhawks missed three field goals in the fourth quarter. The last miss came in the closing seconds after the Horned Frogs kicked one to go ahead 24-23.
Since beating Iowa State in their Big 12 opener in 2009, the Jayhawks are 3-63 in conference games.
Some other notes from the Big 12 call:
– While Texas has won consecutive games and the players ''feel very good,'' coach Charlie Strong said they know they haven't played their best football and are looking to improve. The Longhorns host 11th-ranked West Virginia on Saturday and need only one more win to get bowl eligible. ''We haven't even talked about a bowl,'' Strong said. ''We're just looking to end the year the right way.''
– Stoops said it seems to have gone unnoticed that the Sooners played their Thursday night game at Iowa State without 14 players that were on the two-deep roster earlier in the season. But Stoops said the weekend off after the midweek game should really help the team.