This is always a big game for people in Kansas and Missouri. It’s usually just for bragging rights, though. This year it’s for a shot at the Big 12 title and eventually, hopefully, the national title. But it’s always been a big deal, ever since John Brown hacked a few pro-slavery settlers to death and William Quantrill rode across the border to burn Lawrence to the ground. The administrators of the two schools want us to call it something less violent, like the Border Showdown. But fuck that – it’s always been called the war.
Missouri’s only loss came at Oklahoma. Kansas only dipped into Big XII South territory once, with a close win over Texas A&M. For either team, a win would be a chance to move on to next week and prove that they can, in fact, get past Stoops and his big-money Sooners, the presumptive South representative in the Big 12 title game. For two coaches who have spent almost their entire careers on the hot seat, it’s heady stuff indeed.
It’s also the battle of the magically delicious QBs, as both Chase Daniel and Todd Reesing are under 6 feet tall.
The game, which was supposed to be played in Lawrence, in the ancient Memorial Stadium, has been moved to massive Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City, almost smack dab between the two schools. KC has always been something of a neutral zone for partisans of the two schools, and the stands should be full of people who have waited a lifetime for a game this big.
The recruiting bonanza that both schools will reap from this game is huge. In a typically power-deficient North division, these two programs could be setting themselves up for big battles for big stakes for the next decade.
Regardless of which team is left standing after this Saturday, this is an exciting leap forward for two teams that have used the scraps other schools throw away to build winning programs. Can they continue to win with the college football equivalent of the Bad News Bears? Watch the top of the standings carefully in the next few weeks for the answer.