Midseason analysis: Kansas

Posted by ESPN.com's Tim Griffin

Kansas Jayhawks

Record: 5-1, 1-1

The Jayhawks were expected to challenge for their first championship game berth and looked good during the non-conference part of their schedule, although they were tested only by Southern Mississippi. The high-powered passing trio of quarterback Todd Reesing and wide receivers Kerry Meier and Dezmon Briscoe might be the conference’s best. The defense is another story as the Jayhawks nearly lost against Iowa State before falling at Colorado because of their defensive liabilities. Coach Mark Mangino promised wholesale changes after the ISU game and the retooled unit struggled against Colorado. Of a bigger concern was the struggles by an offense line that produced minus-8 yards rushing and allowed five sacks against the Buffaloes. That's not a good sign considering the tough teams that the Jayhawks must beat down the stretch to fulfill their championship dreams.

Most valuable offensive player, WR Dezmon Briscoe: An argument could be made for either Reesing or Meier, but Briscoe’s play-making abilities gives him a slight nod over the rest of Kansas’ version of Lethal Weapon III. Briscoe leads the nation with an average of 134.2 yards per game and the Big 12 in all-purpose yards (182.0 ypg). Briscoe has produced at least 100 yards in eight of the last nine games.

Most valuable defensive player, SS Darrell Stuckey: Despite playing through a painful arm injury, Stuckey is second on the team with 50 tackles. The productive Stuckey has notched at least 10 tackles in three of his last four games, including 14 stops against Iowa State and 12 against Colorado. The secondary seems to take an identity from his leadership. That growth will be important as the Jayhawks are challenging by the tougher offenses they will see during the rest of the season.