Carpenter: Pick a side in the Border Cold War

The Big 12 and SEC are close to agreeing to an annual basketball series beginning next season, potentially pitting all 10 Big 12 teams against the 10 best SEC schools each year. That news probably ignited an immediate hope across the state of Missouri from Tiger fans who are eager to continue the Border War.

But Kansas fans don’t seem to care about continuing the century-long series with Missouri. Don’t believe me? Just ask them.

Or don’t, they’ll probably tell you sooner or later.

Living inside the Lawrence bubble for long periods of time, experiences with Missouri fans are few and far between. But if you’re in Kansas City for this week’s CBE Classic, it will be difficult walk into a restaurant or bar without seeing fans from each school. And because there isn’t a football game this Saturday or a Big 12 basketball game to argue about, the Border Cold War is all they have left.

Nothing is more unbelievable than the constant chatter about not caring. I get not wanting to play Mizzou anymore, or at least for a long time. There are plenty of good reasons from the Kansas perspective not to continue the games.

A home-and-home against Missouri takes away a home game every other year, taking money out of the Kansas basketball program’s pockets.

The game meant much more for Missouri than Kansas. There was even a “KU hate week” every year leading up to the game in Columbia. The malice towards Kansas is both entertaining and worrisome at the same time. Junior point guard Phil Pressey said last year that Mizzou could lose every game except the Kansas game and it would be a successful season. Anyone can understand why a school wouldn’t go out of its way to help out a rival, and playing a series with Mizzou does nothing but help the Tigers, from pumping excitement into their season to guaranteeing a sellout in Mizzou arena.

Maybe Kansas officials just don’t want to help out their former rival by playing a non-conference game because the benefits for the Tigers outweigh those for the Jayhawks. Or maybe it’s just good old fashioned hate. Missouri left the series, not Kansas. Maybe the anger over the split will cloud any negotiations in the foreseeable future—it would be hard to blame anyone if that was the case. Major college athletics programs are full of egos and no one wants to look bad by perceivably caving to someone else’s demands.

I don’t think anyone will ever really know the one true reason, if there is just one reason, the Border War is dead for now.

But while we wait for its return, Jayhawk fans would look better by picking a side of the issue and sticking with it. Hope to play each other again or tell us the other school is dead to you and be done with it. Trying to constantly convince people of the latter looks silly, because we all know most fans are just trying to convince themselves.

  • Updated Nov. 19, 2012 at 10:24 pm
  • Edited by Kory Carpenter