The Border War, Part Two: A Rivalry on EdgePosted by cwilliams on February 3rd, 2012
On Wednesday, I explored the rich history of the rivalry between Kansas and Missouri, known to many as the Border War. Today, as the first Border War of the 2011-12 basketball season approaches, I’ll examine the current state of the rivalry, which is shaky at best. On Saturday, the Jayhawks of Kansas will travel to Missouri to engage in a highly anticipated affair. ESPN College Gameday will be there, both teams are ranked in the Top 10, and the first game of this hardwood rivalry always carries a lot of hype. However, in all my years of being around it, I’ve never seen the fan intensity so high. Using the same bullet-point format I used in my previous Border War post, I will examine why it is that this Border War is so special.
- The most obvious and glaring reason is that this 100+ year-old rivalry is in jeopardy of becoming extinct. With Missouri’s announcement of their departure from the Big 12 to the SEC, Kansas and Missouri will no longer be conference mates. Kansas fans blame Missouri for ending the rich history of their rivalry in bolting for the SEC, leaving behind the Border War. Missouri offered to continue playing Kansas in non-conference match-ups, but Kansas has not shown any inclination of favoring that idea.
- Obviously, when tensions are high between the schools, they are going to be through the roof between the student bodies and fans. Last week, rumors were abound that Missouri fans were making a shirt that would read “NMT”, which allegedly stands for “No Mom Tom”, a reference to the tragic passing away of KU forward Thomas Robinson‘s mother last season. This rumor has been all but proven untrue, but even the rumor is enough to make Kansas fans’ blood boil (as it should — because if it were legitimate, it would be appalling)
- YouTube is very popular among young whippersnappers these days. It gives every kid the opportunity to be a star. Unfortunately, a group of Missouri students discovered the video-making platform, and created this music video. It is a horrible rap, yes, but you have to admire the school spirit. If you can get over the gut-wrenching lyrics, that is.
- In response to the “We Are Mizzou” music video, a group of Kansas students created a video mocking Mizzou’s “rap.” In the music video battle, the Jayhawks win easily.
- While the hatred between the two schools has hit an all-time high, so are the ticket prices. The cheapest seats to this weekend’s game are going for about $400, and some seats have price tags higher than $2,000.
- If the show was still around, Missouri athletics would be a candidate for having the “Best Week Ever.” With the last-second defeat of Texas on ESPN’s Big Monday, and the signing of high school football star Dorial Green-Beckham, Rivals’ top football recruit in the nation, the Tigers have been in the news all week. I can’t imagine Jayhawk fans enjoy drinking the morning coffee while reading about the Tigers every day, so I’m sure they’re eager to give Tiger fans something not as pleasant to read about.
This is one of the top three rivalries in college basketball, year in and year out. While Duke-UNC and Louisville-Kentucky may have received more coverage in the past, this season seems to be all about the Border War. With tensions and ticket prices higher than they’ve ever been, and more media coverage than ever, here’s hoping that this Saturday we have a (second-to-last?) Border War that we will never forget.