Countdown to Armageddon

How about that Ohio State-Michigan snoozer last week?Perhaps no college football rivalry is more overhyped on a yearly basis than that one, and the 2007 edition failed to live up to the hype as Ohio State grinded its way to a 14-3 victory in Ann Arbor, Mich.And didn't you just love the Florida State-Clemson season-opener? You know, the classic Bowden Bowl pitting FSU coach Bobby Bowden against his son, Clemson coach Tommy Bowden. After all, we're all Bowdens, aren't we? This game should be a big deal to us. Right.Finally, it's time for our saving grace here in the Midwest. Finally, the rivalry that has roots much deeper than universities, the rivalry that began at the heart of the Civil War, is getting its due on the national scale.The Associated Press No. 2-ranked Kansas Jayhawks (11-0) and No. 3 Missouri Tigers (10-1) have been featured prominently on ESPN.com all week in anticipation of Saturday's showdown at Arrowhead Stadium. The same goes for cnnsi.com and numerous other Web sites. They've been all over the newspapers, even in non-Big 12 Conference cities. ESPN's Chris Fowler has a [column][1] posted about it right now where he proclaims his excitement for the game while admitting he knows next to nothing about it (I'm not criticizing him here; just glad he's getting an introduction into a matchup that'll hopefully keep his attention for quite some time).For those who've ignored Kansas-Missouri in the past because both teams stunk for so long, welcome to the show. You've missed out on a rivalry that is personal regardless of records, where band members have been harassed and assaulted, and mascots were chosen not because they were cute and cuddly, but because they represented bandits who killed folks from the opposing state.Yes, there's a lot for you newbies to learn about this rivalry.Hopefully the crew at ABC will do a thorough job of educating you about it. There's plenty of history to explore while you experience the novelty factor of catching both football programs on the rise. Given the number of underclassman standouts on both teams, it's a rivalry you'll be hearing about for years to come. As you learn a bit of the history, however, be sure to understand why this is such a big deal. Yes, it has BCS National Championship implications, but the outcome is more personal than Ohio State beating Michigan, 42-39, last year in the No. 1 vs. No. 2 contest. While those schools battled to see who could build the biggest football stadium, Kansans and Missourians fought to the death over the issue of slavery. Missouri, ever proud of its Confederate heritage, lost. Some there have never forgotten and despise Kansas to this day.Despite the traditional lack of quality on the field, the rivalry has been fierce. If you're from Kansas, you know the Jayhawks lead the all-time series 54-52-9. If you're from Missouri, you know the series is tied at 53-53-9 heading into this 116th meeting.Adding more fuel to the fire for Missouri is the fact that the Jayhawks derailed the Tigers' national championship hopes in their only meeting when either was ranked No. 1 - Nov. 19, 1960, when KU won at MU, 23-7. It's Kansas' only victory over a No. 1-ranked team in 13 tries.Saturday's meeting probably will be the most significant meeting between the two schools in any sport in history. That's definitely the case for football, and most likely all other sports, too. This is bragging rights at its most personal level. The winner costs its archrival a potential shot at a division, conference and national championship. In a rivalry where the roots date back to some of the bloodiest slaughters ever to take place on American soil, the sting of defeat strikes that much deeper.HISTORY LESSON: So, you think you know the history of Kansas-Missouri hatred? Maybe you know all about that bastard William Quantrill. Maybe you're well-versed about John Brown. But there's more to it than that. I recommend reading Kansas City Star reporter Blair Kerkhoff's [piece][2]. Even if you already know the stuff, it's a good read and worth your time. [1]: http://sports.espn.go.com/ncf/columns/story?columnist=fowler_chris&id=3123708 [2]: http://www.kansascity.com/751/story/365823.html

Comments

smerdyakov 11 years, 11 months ago

Wow....LSU loses and all of a sudden all the speculators are talking WVU and Ohio State again. Yawn. Same ol' spoiled teams with too much money, too much talent, too much pressure and high expectations, and nowhere near the soul and drive of either KU or MU. Unfortunately for those teams, soul and drive not only make games worth watching, they're very often the proverbial intangible for getting the W. Just look at how many unranked teams have toppled so-called 'powerhouses' this year. It's been a beautiful season...

Nothing would crush me more than KU losing manana (yes, more than Carmelo Anthony, et al... /these/ 'Hawks are underdogs). But if Mizzou pulls something out of their collective asses tomorrow A) they should go down on Lew for the $$ in his eyes that kept this game out of Memorial, and B) I'll be pulling for them against whatever gilded team they (hopefully) face in the title game. They may be so inbred that they don't realize embracing the Grey in 2007 is more than a little twisted, but at least they got soul and drive.

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