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The Governor's Cup is Trash

Jayhawk-Wildcat rivalry deserves a better trophy.

Your fearless leader's sort of partial to the Jug of Tallgrass.
Your fearless leader's sort of partial to the Jug of Tallgrass.
John Rieger-USA TODAY Sports

Rivalry games are a big part of what makes sport in America so special. All of our major sports have rivalry games, and even the casual fan can probably name a few rivalries in each sport. Just off the top of my head, without looking up all-time records or anything: Bears-Packers, Cubs-Cardinals, Celtics-Lakers, Canadiens-Maple Leafs, Sounders-Timbers, Alabama-Auburn, Duke-North Carolina.

Each of those games is special for its own set of reasons. But college football games are different. College football games are unique because the rivalry game itself has a nickname and the winner takes home a rivalry trophy. When you read “Alabama-Auburn” above, you probably, instinctively, thought “Iron Bowl.” That only happens in the context of college football, although soccer does sometimes come close with the "Fill in the Blank" Derby.

But even college football games that aren't cross-town rivalries get nicknames. You know a bunch. Paul Bunyan’s Axe, The Egg Bowl, Apple Cup, Little Brown Jug, Old Oaken Bucket, so many more. You may or may not know all of the teams that play in these games or who currently holds each trophy, but if you follow college football you’ve heard of the games.

Which brings us to the our own in-state rivalry game. Of all the great rivalry trophies in college football, what do KU and K-State play for? The Governor’s Cup. KU/K-State is currently the fifth longest continuous rivalry in college football. Fifth longest! Did you know that? I didn’t know that. And the trophy for which the Jayhawks and Wildcats compete is named The Governor’s Cup. How awful is that? Take two minutes to think of a worse name for a trophy. You can’t. I know I can’t. Here are four more reasons why the Governor’s Cup is lame and needs to be replaced:

  1. There are fifty states. Each state has a Governor. There is absolutely nothing unique about having a governor in your state. Governors in Illinois keep going to prison, but Illinois still gets to have a governor. Even Wyoming has a governor despite plenty of evidence that they have no use for one.
  2. The Governor is basically a nobody. I don’t mean our governor specifically -- I mean ALL governors. Outside of the governors of Kansas that I was forced to memorize in junior high, I can remember the names of exactly five governors of other states: Ronald Reagan and Bill Clinton because they became President; George Wallace because he called out the national guard, ran for president, and got shot; Jesse Ventura because he was Jesse the Body; and Arnold Schwarzenegger because AHH-huld.
  3. If you count the FCS, there are five rivalry games that are played for the Governor’s Cup. Ten percent of states have two teams playing for a trophy with the same lame name!
  4. Kansas has more going for it than the fact that we, like every other state, have a governor. Flip through the “8 Wonders of Kansas Guidebook.” The KU/K-State trophy should be more of a showcase of our state.

The Governor’s Cup is lame and needs to be replaced with a more unique trophy. How about these ideas?

  • The Johnny Kaw Trophy
  • The Sunflower Cup
  • The Pawnee Rock
  • The Wheat Bowl
  • The Cow-Puncher Trophy
  • The Dust Bowl
  • The Stone Fence Post (do not expect Bill Snyder to lift this)
  • The Jug of Free State/Tallgrass
  • John Brown’s Noose

Personally, I like the Dust Bowl. Just repurpose the current trophy, put a new plaque on it, and fill it with dirt. That would be better than calling it the Governor’s Cup. Hell, ANYTHING would be better than the Governor’s Cup.