Could it happen? Could the Missouri Tigers and Kansas Jayhawks battle once again during the regular season in the notorious “Border War”? Tigers head coach Gary Pinkel says he wants to see it happen.
After the Tigers left the Big 12 in 2012, Mizzou coaches and administrators have voiced their desires to renew the rivalry between the two teams and make it a consistent non-conference game, similar to the Florida-Florida State, Clemson-South Carolina or Georgia-Georgia Tech non-conference rivalries.
The people from Kansas however are not so inclined to restart the longstanding rivalry in either basketball or football.
Gary Pinkel himself said in a press conference this summer: “It would be great! They’re mad at us because we left.” Pinkel was clearly referring to their refusal to schedule games with the Tigers.
Ask anyone who attended Mizzou while the school was still in the Big 12 to attempt to explain how amazing the feeling was after those final basketball and football games between and the Tigers and Jayhawks (Tigers won both) and they simply don’t understand how great the rivalry was.
Many students who didn’t grow up as Mizzou fans and missed the bitterness between the two schools have a hard time grasping the significance and history of the rivalry because they didn’t get to experience it first-hand. The level of hatred between the two schools, and states for that matter, just added so much more to those games.
Being in the SEC is great. It’s moved mountains for the Missouri athletic program. But without a natural rival, it at times feels like something is missing, like there’s a gigantic void during football and basketball season.
Sure, Mizzou starts a yearly meeting with a new border state, Arkansas, in 2014. And hopefully that will pan out. Missouri already has reasons to hate the Razorbacks in basketball.
But the problem for Mizzou fans is that there isn’t a team in the SEC with that level of rivalry that just gets the entire school energized. People have tossed around the idea of Georgia, Texas A&M and even Kentucky to start a serious rivalry with, but it just isn’t the same.
You can’t just decide there’s a rivalry and suddenly you have one (looking at you Texas A&M and South Carolina).
I know it’s hard for Jayhawk fans to get over Missouri leaving them in the cold to go to the bigger and better conference. But for both schools sakes, it’s time to kiss and make up. If for no other reason, it would make KU a ton of money and they’d get exposure with a surefire “College GameDay” appearance.
There’s too much history at stake to let this hiatus continue.
Mizzou may hate you, Kansas. But both schools loved the rivalry. What more reason do we need?