Will Les Miles be in Morgantown on Saturday?
The status of the Kansas Jayhawks head coach is arguably the biggest storyline heading into his team's upcoming game with the West Virginia Mountaineers. KU revealed last week that the Mad Hatter tested positive for the coronavirus.
Oddsmakers have installed WVU as a three-touchdown favorite over the Jayhawks, a sign that they're not expecting much drama on the field this weekend's Big 12 matchup.
Kansas at West Virginia
Kickoff: Saturday, Oct. 17 at 12 p.m. ET
Spread: West Virginia -22.5
When Kansas Has the Ball
Not much good has happened when KU has the ball this season. The Jayhawks are averaging 14.7 points per game and 4.2 yards per offensive play. Both rank among the worst marks in the nation.
One of the biggest surprises so far for KU has been productivity at running back. Star Pooka Williams Jr. is producing 4.4 yards per rushing attempt and 58.3 yards per game on the ground. Sophomore Velton Gardner is moving the ball more efficiently with his legs, averaging 5.1 yards per attempt.
At quarterback, the Jayhawks don't have many good options. Senior Thomas MacVittie started the first game of the season versus Coastal Carolina and hasn't seen any action since. Junior Miles Kendrick and freshman Jalon Daniels took the snaps in the next two games against Baylor and Oklahoma State. Neither set the world on fire.
When West Virginia Has the Ball
The Mountaineers have seen only slightly more success on offense this season than KU. After running up 56 points against FCS foe Eastern Kentucky in its season opener, WVU managed to score 13 points in a loss to Oklahoma State and 14 in regulation against Baylor, a game the Eers won in double overtime, 27-21.
Junior Jarret Doege has a firm grip on the QB position, averaging seven yards per pass attempt with five touchdowns against two interceptions. He has identified two top targets in sophomores Sam James and Winston Wright Jr., who are proving to be solid possession receivers.
The strength of the WVU offense rests with the rushing attack. Workhorse Leddie Brown is carrying the ball an average of 21 times per game and grinding out 5.1 yards per attempt. Meanwhile, the Mountaineers have a decent change-of-pace option in Alec Sinkfield, who produces nearly seven yards per carry on a handful of attempts per contest.
After receiving three shellackings to start the year, the Jayhawks have offered little reason to believe they've risen out of the basement of the Big 12. Kansas' roster remains one of the weakest in the Power 5 ranks, and there's little evidence suggesting that Miles and his staff are building a competitive team based on any schematic advantages.
Look for the Mountaineers to continue their strong start to the season by going up early on KU and never looking back. With the Jayhawks struggling to put points on the board, West Virginia head coach Neal Brown will dial back the throttle in the second half. A late score might put KU in position to cover the thick point spread, but the Eers will still prevail by a comfortable margin.
Prediction: West Virginia 31, Kansas 13
Podcast: Week 7 Preview and Predictions
— Written by Allen Kenney, who is part of the Athlon Contributor Network. Kenney is the founder and editor of BlatantHomerism.com and host of the Blatant Homerism Podcast. Follow him on Twitter @BlatantHomerism.