† – BCS representative as champion ‡ – BCS at-large representative x – Division champion/co-champions y – Championship game participant Rankings from AP Poll
The 2007 Kansas Jayhawks football team (variously "Kansas", "KU", or the "Jayhawks") represented the University of Kansas in the 2007 NCAA Division I FBS football season. Looking to improve on the previous season's 6–6 overall record (3–5 in the Big 12 Conference), the team finished the 2007 season with a 12–1 overall record (7–1 in their conference). The twelve victories set a new school record. Additionally, the Jayhawks won their first eleven games before their first loss which was the most consecutive wins to start a season in school history. Additionally, the Jayhawks reached a ranking of 2 during their 11-0 start, the highest rank achieved by the team in school history. Their defeat of the Virginia Tech Hokies in the Orange Bowl was the school's first and only Orange Bowl and BCS bowl game victory. Their only loss was versus a Northern Division rival, the Missouri Tigers, in their final regular season game which resulted in a co-championship of the Northern Division, but denied them a trip to the Big 12 Championship Game. For their achievements the team was awarded the Stanley Tools Breakthrough of the Year Award. The Jayhawks were ranked 7th in the final AP poll and received a 1st place vote.
With the departure of offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach Nick Quartaro at the end of the prior season, Ed Warinner returned from a two-season stint as University of Illinois's run-game coordinator and offensive line coach. He brought in a new, more aggressive, faster-paced, no-huddle offense. This was Warinner's third season with the Jayhawks since he had previously coached the offensive line and served as run-game coordinator in 2003–2004.
Bill Young (6th year) and Clint Bowen (7th year) were defensive coordinators. Tim Beck (3rd year) was the wide receivers coach and passing game coordinator.
See also: 2007 Central Michigan Chippewas football team
For their season-opening game on September 1, the Jayhawks hosted the defending Mid-American Conference champion Central Michigan Chippewas in the teams' first meeting. Central Michigan was led by Butch Jones in his first year as a head coach. Entering the game the Jayhawks had a 5–5 record against opponents from the MAC with the most recent result being the double-overtime loss to the Toledo Rockets in the third week of the 2006 season. The Jayhawks dominated the Chippewas in a 52–7 win to extend their streak of season-opening victories to four.
Game weather: Mostly sunny skies; 84 °F (29 °C); Wind NE at 7 mph
Referee: Rick Loumiet
On September 8, the Jayhawks hosted the Southeastern Louisiana Lions from the Southland Conference. With the Lions led by first-year head coach Mike Lucas, it was the teams' first meeting and only the second for the Jayhawks versus a Southland opponent; the first was a win at home versus the Northwestern State Demons to begin the previous season. The Jayhawks also recorded their first shutout since 2000.
Game weather: Cloudy skies; 56 °F (13 °C); Wind SE at 9 mph
Referee: Clete Blakeman
See also: 2007 Toledo Rockets football team
On September 15, the Jayhawks hosted the Toledo Rockets for their third game in four seasons and fourth overall. Led by head coach Tom Amstutz in his seventh season, the Mid-American Conference team had defeated the Jayhawks the previous year in Toledo in a double-overtime loss. This 45–13 win gave the Jayhawks a 3–1 record versus the Rockets and a 7–5 record versus opponents from the MAC.
Game weather: Sunny skies; 83 °F (28 °C); Wind ESE at 7 mph
Referee: Cooper Castleberry
For their fourth and final non-conference game on September 22, the Jayhawks hosted the FIU Golden Panthers of the Sun Belt Conference in the teams' first meeting. FIU was led by first-year head coach Mario Cristobal.
Todd Reesing led the Jayhawks to victory in Manhattan for the first time in eighteen years. Aqib Talib sealed the game by picking off Josh Freeman's pass with less than two minutes left in the game.
The Jayhawks got their first touchdown on Kansas State's home field since 1999 when Jake Sharp, apparently stopped for a short gain, burst out of a gang of tacklers and sped 20 yards to make it 7–7 with 9:11 left in the first half. Sharp had picked up 14 yards the previous play.
Lightning delayed the start of the game 2 hours.
Reesing passed for 186 yards as the Jayhawks were 6–0 for the first time since 1995. The Jayhawks also entered the game ranked for the first time since 1996.
This was the Jayhawks' 9th meeting with the Texas A&M Aggies. A&M entered the game leading the series 7–1, and had only lost the first meeting in Lawrence in 1974. Kansas was the only Big 12 team that A&M was undefeated against, ever since the Big 12 formed in 1996. Kansas was the first top 10 team, excluding Oklahoma and Texas, to play at Kyle Field since 2002. A&M had compiled a 6–3 record for games played against top 10 teams (other than OU and Texas) at Kyle Field. In their previous meeting in 2006, A&M outscored Kansas 21–18. One day prior to the game, Las Vegascasinos favored Kansas to win by three points.
Kansas entered the game with a 16th-ranked rushing offense, 25th-ranked passing offense, and a 3rd-ranked scoring offense. Kansas' rushing defense ranked 4th, pass defense ranked 10th, and overall defense ranked 5th. Kansas also had ranked 9th in the weekly BCS standings. A&M came into the game with a 5th-ranked rushing offense, and a 111th ranked passing offense. The pass defense ranked 100th, scoring defense ranked 42nd, and overall defense ranked 73rd.
In the game, KU running back Brandon McAnderson rushed for a career-high of 183 yards, and quarterback Todd Reesing completed 21 of 33 passes for 180 yards. Through the first three quarters, the Jayhawks shutout the Aggies' 5th-ranked rushing offense and held them to only 56 yards. A&M running back Jorvorskie Lane had only rushed for 24 yards the entire game. KU gained a 13–0 lead in the third quarter, after kicker Scott Webb kicked two field goals and Reesing led his team to a 54-yard touchdown drive on 6 plays. In the fourth quarter, Reesing led his team to a 43-yard touchdown drive on 4 plays.
For the first time since 1909, the Jayhawks improved to an 8–0 season record. This was also the first time that KU won in Texas since 2001 (not including bowl games).
The Nebraska-Kansas series is the longest uninterrupted series in college football at 102 years. In the 2007 meeting, Kansas beat Nebraska 76–39. Their 48 points in the first half was the most ever scored against Nebraska in the first half; and it came one point short of tying the record for most points scored on Nebraska in a half. With the win, Kansas took their record to 9–0 for the first time since 1908.
Fox Sports reported, "It was only the second victory for Kansas in the last 39 games against Nebraska, which appears to be coming to pieces in the fourth season of embattled coach Bill Callahan."
The Kansas Jayhawks game against the Oklahoma State Cowboys attracted a great deal of attention. This was due to the match up between both potent offenses. The crucial match up was that between cornerback Aqib Talib and star Cowboy wideout Adarius Bowman. In the 2006 matchup between the two, Bowman had 13 catches for 300 yards. However Bowman left the game with an injury after the first half. In the first half, he was held to 22 yards on 4 catches with no touchdowns. The game was broadcast to 63 percent of the nation on ABC as the top primetime college football game of the week.
The Jayhawks went to 10–0 for the first time since 1899.
The victory over Iowa State brought KU's record to 11–0, the first time in school history that the football team won 11 games in a season. As a result, the Jayhawks were featured on the cover of Sports Illustrated the following week.
On November 24 the Jayhawks met the Missouri Tigers at Arrowhead Stadium, in Kansas City, Missouri, in the final regular season game of the year. Known as the Border Showdown, this year's annual contest was the most significant in recent years as the winner would advance to the Dr PepperBig 12 Championship Game in San Antonio, Texas, and likely claim the top spot in the BCS rankings and national polls with a win (No. 1 LSU lost 50-48 in triple overtime the previous day to Arkansas), which would be a first for both schools. The game received considerable media attention, and the ESPNCollege Gameday crew were at the game, the first time the Jayhawks had been featured as College GameDay's Game of the Week in football. It drew 80,537, the second-highest attendance in the 35-year history of Arrowhead Stadium. The Jayhawks entered the contest with an eleven-game winning streak since losing the final game of the 2006 season against their cross-border rivals in Columbia, Missouri, by a score of 42–17. But they would leave with their second straight loss versus the Tigers and a 6–6 series record since the formation of the Big 12 Conference.