The following is a list of Kansas Jayhawks football seasons including the coaches in each season and competition scores and rankings from 1890 to present day. The sports teams at the University of Kansas (KU), in Lawrence, Kansas, are known as the Jayhawks. When the University of Kansas fielded their first football team in 1890, the team was called the Jayhawkers.
On December 4, 2001, University of Oklahoma offensive coordinator Mark Mangino—whose experience includes work as recruiting coordinator, running-game coordinator, and assistant head coach at Kansas State University—was hired by Athletics Director Al Bohl to rebuild a successful football program. In six years, the Jayhawks have achieved increasing success as they were bowl eligible four times and in 2005 won their first bowl since 1995. However, in his first five seasons, they failed to finish any higher than fourth place in their division or to win more than three conference games in any season; they were 11-29 in conference play and only 1-14 versus Big 12 South opponents.
Prior to the 2002 season, new uniforms with a resemblance to the classic uniforms worn by the National Football League's New York Giants were unveiled: home jerseys became a darker navy, and helmets appeared in the same "Jayhawk blue" with a large, white KU decal and a red stripe. But the new look didn't help the Jayhawks on the field as they were winless in conference play while their poor defense surrendered an average 42.2 points per game. Kansas began the season by losing its fifth straight conference opener.
Greg Heaggans was named a Big 12 Special Teams Player of the Week after returning the initial kick-off for 100 yards and a touchdown versus SW Missouri State, and quarterback Bill Whittemore was named Offensive Newcomer of the Year.
In the 2003 season the Jayhawks made their first postseason appearance since 1995, though the much improved Jayhawks were unable to secure a victory in the Mazda Tangerine Bowl.
Safety Rodney Fowler was named co-Big 12 Defensive Player of the Week after making two interceptions and returning one for a touchdown in the fourth quarter of the Jayhawks' win over Iowa State, and junior center Joe Vaughn was named Offensive Newcomer of the Year.
With only four wins in the 2004 season, the Jayhawks were not bowl eligible. The Jayhawks allowed 21.36 points per game during the season, which was the fewest allowed since 1996 when KU opponents averaged 21.0 points per game. In first quarter play, the team outscored their opponents 75-15 as the defense did not allow a touchdown. Jayhawk defenders also finished the season with the fourth-best pass efficiency defense in the conference.
Senior center Joe Vaughn was named the team's offensive MVP, and sophomore cornerback Charles Gordon was named the team's defensive MVP in his first full season on the defense. Gordon tied for the national lead with seven interceptions and led the Big 12 with fifteen passes defended. He ranked fifth on the team with 57 tackles. Gordon was named All-Big 12 First-Team along with senior defensive end David McMillan, who led the team with seven quarterback sacks, including three in the Jayhawks' win over Missouri which earned him Big 12 Defensive Player of the Week honors. Gordon and McMillan were the first Jayhawks to be so named since defensive tackle Nate Dwyer in 2001. Senior wide receiver Brandon Rideau was named Big 12 Special Teams Player of the Week after blocking two punts in the season opener versus Tulsa.
The Jayhawks finished the 2005 season with their second bowl invitation in three years and first bowl victory since winning the 1995 Aloha Bowl. The victory at the Fort Worth Bowl was also their seventh win of the season—the most since the 1995 Jayhawks finished 10-2. The Jayhawks were the only bowl-eligible team in the Big 12 conference to face all seven bowl-eligible teams from the league, and no other Big 12 team played more games against bowl-eligible teams than the Jayhawks (eight). It was also the only team to ever finish 6-0 in Memorial Stadium. The Jayhawks' secured their bowl eligibility in the final game of the season versus Iowa State after a late fourth quarter drive for a touchdown and sophomore Scott Webb's 34-yard field goal in overtime for the victory. Webb's performance earned him the Big 12 Special Teams Player of the Week honors. It was only the fourth overtime in KU history and the first at Memorial Stadium.
The Jayhawks' rush defense ranked third nationally, allowing less than 100 rushing yards in nine games and setting a new record of 83.3 rushing yards per game. The previous record of 109.2 was set in 1948. Senior linebacker Nick Reid, who led the conference with an average of 9.6 tackles per game, became the first player for the Jayhawks to be named Big 12 Defensive Player of the Year. Also, Reid was named All-Big 12 First-Team along with junior kick/punt returner Charles Gordon and senior defensive end Charlton Keith. Additional Big 12 Defensive Player of the Week honors went to senior linebacker Brandon Perkins following his five-sack performance against Louisiana Tech and Charlton Keith after the win against Nebraska.
After a few disappointing losses in close games, the football team ended the 2006 regular season as one of the hottest in the Big 12, and their three-game win streak over Colorado, Iowa State, and Kansas State was the first time in school history the Jayhawks had won three consecutive conference games. With six wins, they were bowl eligible for the third time in the five years since Mark Mangino became head coach, but they did not receive a bowl invitation.
Sophomore cornerback Aqib Talib and senior running back Jon Cornish earned All-Big 12 First Team honors. Talib was named the team's defensive MVP as he led the nation in passes defended with an average of 2.80 break-ups per game and tied for the Big 12 lead with six interceptions. Cornish, who was named the team's offensive MVP for the second consecutive year, set new school records by rushing for 1,457 yards and averaging 5.8 yards per carry. He was the only Big 12 back with more than 1,000 rushing yards during the regular season. He had eight 100-yard rushing games and eight rushing touchdowns. His career-best 201 rushing yards against Kansas State was the highest by any player in a Big 12 game during the season, and it earned him Big 12 Offensive Player of the Week honors. Cornish was also selected to participate in the 82nd Annual East-West Shrine Game.
The Jayhawks finished the 2007 regular season with a record of 11-1 and their third bowl invitation in five years. During the season the underrated Jayhawks  surprised many by winning their first nine games for the first time in 99 years, and their last 10-win season was in 1995. The team was ranked as high as second in the national polls and Bowl Championship Series rankings following their win over Iowa State, but they ended the season at #8 after their loss to Missouri. The Jayhawks hadn't appeared in the national polls since 1996, and it was their highest ranking since 1968.
With the departure of offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach Nick Quartaro at the end of the prior season, Ed Warinner—returning after a two-season stint as Illinois's run-game coordinator and offensive line coach—brought in a new, more aggressive, faster-paced, no-huddle offense with sophomore Todd Reesing at the quarterback position.
Mangino was named The Home Depot Coach of the Year, and the team received the Stanley Tools Breakthrough of the Year Award.