The 2007 football season was the arguably the greatest in Kansas history, when the team went 12-1 and won the Orange Bowl. 10 years later, the football program is again hoping to make an unlikely run to relevance in the college football landscape. Before we turn toward the upcoming season, we take a look back at the season where most of our football dreams came true. The entire SB Nation network is looking back at that season, and we are buying in fully, with lots of content coming to you the rest of this week to commemorate that wild season.
Being a fan of any team is all about the experience. We live and die with our teams. Their victories become ours. Their shortcomings can be a personal affront. Our fandom is defined not just by the games we witness, but also by the thoughts, feelings, emotions and experiences that surround those games.
To help in remembering the insanity that was 2007, I asked our contributors (both current and former) a series of questions meant to explore their memories and impressions from that time frame. This is the second in a series of 7 articles, with each exploring a different question.
Check out our answers, and then share your answer below in the comments.
The Jayhawks started the season on an 11 game winning streak, but the first 4 games were all non-conference blowouts at home. While the hot start was encouraging, it wasn’t necessarily enough to make Kansas fans buy in. At what point did you think this team was having a special season?
Winmore: College football fans and pundits put far too much stock in who people play and when instead of how the team actually plays on the field in those games. It wasn’t the fact that KU was beating those soft non-con opponents over the first four games of the season, it was the way they were beating them. The ‘Hawks jumped out early and crushed those teams in the first quarter and a half of each of those games. The ‘Hawks won those first four games by a combined score of 214-23. The defense looked fast and fierce as hell, and the offense looked so explosive and exciting. I believed a bowl game was a foregone conclusion after that start, but I understood why people wanted to see us play a legit opponent before they bought into the hype. After we went into Manhattan, Kansas and beat K-State in a close game in which Reesing threw three picks and we had to come from behind in the fourth quarter to do so, I was ready to believe the team had turned the competitive corner and it could be a special season.
It was crazy for me because I was 14 years old who really just got into Kansas football before the year started. I have plenty of family ties to Kansas, but I only saw what was televised and that was Kansas hoops. So, after my father ended up buying me the brand new NCAA 2007 video game that is when I was introduced to Kansas being a football team.
It was right after that I had decided to go all in trying to watch as many Kansas games as possible by streaming games. Seeing as this was my first year truly following Kansas football, I didn’t see the struggles, I was just used to a team that had their way with teams early on. I don’t know why, but I knew we were a special team when we hung in there and beat Colorado.
The big thing for me that year was the fact it was like watching an overtime game in the Super Bowl, an extra innings game in game seven of the World Series, overtime in game seven of the NBA Finals in the fact that I didn’t want it to end. How could you want a season like that to end? Whether it was watching Todd Reesing sling the ball all over the field in his race to potentially win the Heisman Trophy. Or if it was Brandon McAnderson running over the defense like a raging bull. There is one thing for sure, that offense was fun to watch. On top of that, factor in a defense that had players like Aqib Talib, Mike Rivera and James Holt. That was something special.
You just knew the year was special, but the hardest part of that year was looking at the matchup between Kansas and Missouri on a neutral field (even though it was really like a home game for Mizzou) and dreading the offense led by Chase Daniels, Danario Alexander, Jeremy Maclin and Chase Coffman. Yes, Missouri ended up winning that game and yes Kansas likely missed their opportunity at playing in the National Title game, but it was the way Kansas proved themselves in the Orange Bowl.
There were still plenty of doubters, but Kansas came to play and ended up taking home the Orange Bowl against Virginia Tech. Since then nothing has been the same, so hopefully David Beaty can bring back that brand of Jayhawk football again.
dnoll5: Looking back at it, the first conference game was against K-State and we won that one which was like two or three in a row against the Wildcats or something like that. I guess that must’ve been the point when I thought, “hey, we’ve got something here” if we can legitimately be better than these guys year in and year out.
Mike.Plank: I was a little surprised by the CMU win, or at least, the margin of the CMU win, but I wasn’t sure if that meant anything or not. The SELA win was the kind of game that you would expect even a bad KU team to win like that. I didn’t really start to take notice until they smacked Toledo 45-13. Toledo was a well-respected program that, while they had struggled in 2006, had won 8 or more games since 2000. And when the Jayhawks rolled into Manhattan and came out victorious, that’s when I knew we were going bowling. I remember being terrified of traveling to Stillwater late in the season, but once that game was in the bag, I thought for sure we were going all the way to the national championship.
David: This won't surprise anyone, but I spent most of the season waiting for the other shoe to drop. We couldn't possibly be that good, could we? Beating K-State on the road solidified for me that this was a good team, but I think winning in College Station really drove home that it was a special season. And if that hadn't done it, hanging 76 on Nebraska the next week would have driven the point home
KU Grad 08: The KState game. We beat a ranked team on the road, and we honestly didn’t play that well. After that happened, it solidified that this was going to be a really good season with the possibility to be a great season.
Andy Mitts: For me it had to be the Colorado game. Despite the fact that it was against a north division opponent, this was the first game that Kansas faced a respectable offense and kept them from scoring a bunch. The offense was just completely destroying everyone they faced, and while Kansas won that game in Manhattan, Kansas State wasn’t looking to be a phenomenal team on offense but still put up 24 points on the Jayhawks. The Colorado game was the first real solid evidence of how well-rounded the team actually was and allowed me to really look forward to the game against the Aggies the next week.