GameDay: Rivalry Awry

Well, Missouri had their Board of Curators meeting in Kansas City, Missouri this week.  After the long battle to decide teacher stuff, the administrators for the university came out to do a press conference and somewhat announce their intentions on conference realignment.  They did their best to say that they are exploring their options, but fumbled about and pretty much exposed their favor for the SEC.  They also tried to leave an open for their rival.

I’m a Kansas State guy, so please try to put you preconceptions about Wildcats aside.  Growing up, I didn’t realize the power of a rivalry.  I remember barely watching football and watching a ton of basketball.  Our house was house divided as in Kansas vs Kansas State so we watched more Kansas than anything else.  It wasn’t until I started watching, and playing, football that I started to understand.

What I understood was that Kansas and Missouri was a way more heated rivalry than Kansas and Kansas State.  When I actually went to Kansas State, I hated Kansas way more than Missouri, even though we were a second thought to Kansas because of Missouri.  Missouri and Kansas State were common brothers.  That’s why the conference realignment/armageddon stuff that’s been happening has turned my world upside down.  What were once brothers are now enemies and I see myself standing toe to toe with Kansas.

For the last couple of years, I’ve engrained myself into the rich tradition and history for college football.  It helps that I have a college football blog to maintain.  One of the interesting items to me, and for you, is that the Missouri and Kansas rivalry has been the oldest one west of the Mississippi.  That kind of rich tradition is being tossed against ground.  When the board of curators fielded questions earlier in the week, they essentially said it was a money deal and not a tradition deal.

It threw me for a loop when Texas A&M dashed their traditions out of the door for more cash in the SEC.  I’m not sure why still.  Were they tired of being in the shadow of Texas?  Or did they see a conference falling apart and wanted the safer home in the SEC?  Everyone on both sides are saying different things so it’s still throwing me for a loop.  What happened last month is now happening with Missouri.

Missouri is willing to do the same thing that Texas A&M did a month ago.  Now we are seeing the same emotions in Kansas City like the kind I saw in Texas, but with a twist.  Texas people down here kind of care, but they really don’t.  It doesn’t affect their city as much if Texas A&M leaves.  With Missouri heading to the SEC, it would mean that half of Kansas City would trade conferences to the SEC.  For me as a K-Stater, and for the Kansas folk, this doesn’t jive.

That’s why when the board of curators opened up about the idea of having a basketball tournament and a regional rival football game in Kansas City, I knew that Missouri is committed to being out.  They are in Kansas City and instead of standing up and saying their intentions, they decided to half-ass a response about trying to have stuff in Kansas City when they leave.  They obviously are done with tradition but are still trying to save face.

That’s the world we live in, folks.  In the last 2 or 3 years, the storied tradition of college football gave way to ‘footprints’ and ‘television markets.’  Now I know that throughout college football history, conference affiliations have always been fluid.  But this is the first time that television and the cash the comes from it has directly influenced it.  For a school like Missouri who’s felt like they’ve been punked by a conference, it’s the perfect time to make a move.

It’s just sad to see them operate under the guise of keeping tradition.  Please, man up and say you are going for the cash, just like Texas A&M did.  The football future may not be written, but the upgrade of money and stability is what it’s all about.  Instead of trying to shore up with your traditional rivals, just say you are skipping town and flipping everyone off while you do it.  Don’t try to save face, it’s just sad.  The rivalries are dead to you and you should be man enough to say it.  Man up, Missouri.