The greatest concept in all of sports is the rivalry. Sports are about competition, and what better competition is there than two teams that just purely and genuinely hate each other? That is the beauty of the Border War.
Now, I may be biased, but one of the greatest rivalries in all of college athletics was between Kansas and Missouri. That rivalry went beyond sports. It went beyond the colleges. It began deep within the history of the United States of America.
As Kansas was in its early stages of entering the union, much debate ensued about whether the territory would be a free or slave state. The Jayhawkers, or abolitionists fought the Bushwhackers or Border Ruffian Missourians who were pro-slavery continuously throughout the period known as Bleeding Kansas.
John Brown and William Quantrill were some of the better known members of each side that lead attacks in both directions. Most notably, the Border Ruffians burning Lawrence to the ground during Quantrill’s Raid in 1863, in an act against Kansas and their beliefs in freedom for all.
From there on out, it was pretty much hatred from all angles.
The two colleges carried on the tradition into athletics, where it truly blossomed.
You can’t ever do this rivalry justice with words. You have to see it, feel it, hear it.
Whether it’s Todd Reesing to Kerry Meier for the win, Marcus Denmon catching fire to complete the comeback, or Thomas Robinson’s block to force overtime in the final meeting ever, the Border War was full of amazing moments that only happen in rivalries.
That being said, it’s OVER.
Missouri’s Athletic Director, Jim Sterk, recently said he would like to get the rivalry up and running again.
Well, isn’t that sweet? They want it to be a rivalry again.
Let me be the first Kansan to tell you, thanks but no thanks, Mizzou.
This can be compared to that girlfriend who leaves because she found someone else, but then she realizes what she has now isn’t as good as before, and now she wants her man back.
It was great while it lasted, and I’m sure the two teams will meet again, but I’ll be damned if it’s an every year occurrence ever again.
What does Kansas have to gain from playing Missouri? Nothing, at least for now.
Missouri is a bottom feeder in basketball in the SEC, which isn’t exactly a power conference for hoops (Credit where it’s due though to South Carolina, Florida and Kentucky on their Elite 8 runs this season, very impressive showings). Bill Self’s squad would make light work of Missouri, and why would he have the tigers scheduled when KU can get a better test from Arizona State, or even Nebraska, another Big 12 defector.
Football wise, Missouri had a nice run of back to back SEC East titles in 2013 and 2014. Other than those two seasons, the Tigers have had it pretty rough in the gauntlet. Outside of the two SEC East titles, Missouri has posted a record of 5-19 in three seasons, and it doesn’t look so bright for this fall either, as the Las Vegas Sportsbook set the early over/under on wins for the Tigers at 6.5, after a 4 win 2016 campaign.
Sure, I’ll admit Kansas football is probably in a worse place at the moment, but I doubt there’s the same sense of palpable optimism in Columbia as there is here in Lawrence, correct me if I’m wrong though. The current buzz created by David Beaty and Co.’s recruiting efforts, as well as the positive ending to the 2016 season have Jayhawk fans excited, but that still isn’t any real motivation to play Missouri at all. It’s just a reason to be excited for football again.
The only thing to gain from reinstating the Border War is the money. TV contracts for the right to televise the first battle in five plus years would be massive, but why would Kansas do Missouri the favor of getting them a piece of that pie when Missouri was the one who left in the first place?
The rivalry was great, but it’s in the past. If the two schools meet up in postseason someday, that will be great, but it’s better for Kansas to stay away from Missouri now. Kansas would be doing itself a disservice to reinstate the rivalry after Missouri deserted the Big 12, so they should steer clear of the Border War and focus on other issues at hand.
I’ll leave you with one final thought.
Missouri leads the all time series over Kansas in football 56-55-9. Kansas leads the all time series over Missouri in basketball 172-96. Aggregate score: Kansas leads the series by 75 victories.
video courtesy of Brad Henson Productions
feature image courtesy of Nick Krug – Lawrence Journal World