As Charlie Weis enters his first season as the head coach of the Kansas Jayhawks he is taking on a rebuilding job with a program that finished 2-10 last season. Perhaps the bigger issue with the previous era under Turner Gill wasn't necessarily those numbers, but the overall organization and competitiveness of the program.
Gill made no secret that he would be building with youth and that he felt Kansas needed some time to right the ship after the end of the Mark Mangino era. The biggest problem for those surrounding the Kansas program was the complete lack of progress during Gill's two seasons. In fact it seemed as if there was steady regression taking place at the hand of Gill and his staff.
Enter into the picture Charlie Weis. How will Kansas and Weis define success during the 2012 season? How will fans define success? These are the questions facing a program that many have very low expectations for this fall.
To answer the first question it's a pretty easy answer. No coach who has experienced Super Bowl championships is going to tell you that he expects to lose. When Charlie Weis sets out this fall he is going to look to win every week. That's his goal and you won't hear any different. His actions in the offseason reflect someone who wants to win now as Weis has turned over a large percentage of the team and added a host of potential contributors in 5th year and junior college transfers. Win and win now, that's going to define success for Weis and Kansas from an internal standpoint.
Stepping away from that view and taking on the view of a Kansas fan, expectations are likely tempered. The reality of the situation is that Kansas was 2-10 last year and lacked competitiveness in a lot of areas. The culture has to change, the physical makeup of the team has to change and the mental makeup of the team has to change.
Based on the offseason rumor mill it seems that Weis has done a good deal to address these areas as quickly as possible, but it still isn't going to have the effect of waving a magic wand. Wins could be hard to come by in a difficult Big 12 conference and because of that, fan expectations in terms of wins and losses needs to align with the task at hand.
Looking at the schedule there is probably one game that can be viewed as a 'should win'. South Dakota State is a 1AA school but after that Kansas has Rice and a road game against Northern Illinois during the non-conference. Beyond that it's all Big 12 competition and Kansas finished last a year ago.
Optimistically success for Kansas in the win column would probably be defined in the 4-6 win range with 6 bringing near jubilation in Lawrence. Again, Weis and the Kansas team likely won't acknowledge those lowered expectations and they shouldn't, but fans of Kansas and those looking to see progress with the program will certainly be happy to see that level of competitiveness and growth on the field.