There are basically two schools of thought on rivalry etiquette in college football. The first is the idea that your rival should win every game except the one against your team. The second is that your rival should lose every game and be left as a bloody mess on the field for the grounds crew to mop up in December. But which is correct? Especially in terms of the K-State/KU rivalry?
The inspiration for this post comes from a small gathering I attended following the pasting we put on Miami last week. My purple clad friends and I all gathered around the TV to watch the Jayhawks sputter and fail to the juggernaut that is the Rice football Owls. My friends laughed and cheered as Charlie Weis and Dayne Crist waddled to the locker room to have a hug and a cry. I of course smiled and made a few obligatory "Notre Dame Jayhawks" jokes but I couldn't help but wonder if this is what I really wanted.
My inner self is divided. One half is a primordial beast of a man who wants nothing more than to feast on the blood of all things rock chalk and pick my teeth clean with quills of crimson and blue feathers, leaving the leftovers for the rest of schedule as I watch Weis pace the sidelines wondering to himself if there is any possible way that he could draft a new résumé without including this brown streak on the back of the underwear that he calls a career.
The other half of me longs for the days of Mangino only to see what might have been if HCBS of today could scheme against the one man who seemed to have the formula for competent Jayhawk football in the modern age.
Most of you probably relate more to the former, but think about this for a second. What does every great, nationally recognized college football program have that Kansas State does not (besides money, recruitment, glory and corruption)? A great rival. Rivalries are what college football is all about (again, besides money, glory and corruption) and the Jayhawks are really all we have. And now that Missouri is in the SEC getting smacked around by Jarvis Jones, we're kind of it for them too. I know that neither program will probably ever be at the level of an Alabama or USC on a consistent basis but having a reasonably competitive rivalry between two winning Big 12 programs wouldn't be so bad. Would it? Can anyone imagine College Gameday in Lawrence or Manhattan to see who would take home the Governor's Cup?
My point is this, while I understand—and subscribe to—the notion of dancing in KU misery, wouldn't it be nice if the two of us could live in harmony atop the newly rejuvenated Big 12? At least until that fateful Saturday every fall when the Sunflower Showdown is in full bloom. It probably wouldn't hurt if we found a new name for it too. Just throwing that out there.
Author's Note: As a preemptive strike I wanted to mention that I haven't forgotten about Farmageddon. I hesitate to mention it for three reasons.
1. It might be the only "rivalry game" name worse than the Sunflower Showdown.
2. I've never really considered Iowa State a true rival.
3. They have Iowa. And Paul Rhoads is so proud.