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Gary Pinkel, Mizzou still pushing to re-start Border War with Kansas

Missouri v Kansas Getty Images

One of the historic rivalry games that got the axe during conference realignment was the Missouri-Kansas Border War, which, you know, has roots in an actual war.

Mizzou coaches and administrators have said they’d like to have continued playing Kansas as a non-conference game — a la Georgia/Georgia Tech, Florida/Florida State or South Carolina/Clemson — but those in Lawrence haven’t budged on their refusal to schedule a football or basketball game with their longtime rivals.

Of course, it’s a lot easier to have the position of “hey, let’s get back together” when you were the one who decided to leave in the first place. It’s not you, it’s me, let’s still be friends, etc.

Full disclosure: As a Mizzou grad, some of my best college memories come from these Border War games. I was four rows off the field when Lorenzo Williams drove Todd Reesing’s head into the turf for a game-clinching safety in 2007, the biggest football game ever between the two schools. I still complain about how cold I was at Arrowhead Stadium when Kerry Meier singlehandedly shredded Mizzou’s secondary in 2008 to push Kansas to a win.

I don’t know how things feel on the Kansas side, but I do feel sorry for Mizzou’s current students that they don’t get to experience something as special as a Border War game. The level of deep-seeded hate between the two schools is something Mizzou doesn’t have yet in the SEC — I’d even argue their second and third-biggest rivals are both in the Big Ten (Nebraska and Illinois). So of course, I think seeing the Border War come back would be great.

But again: I imagine that’s a lot easier to say from the Mizzou point of view than the Kansas one.

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16 Responses to “Gary Pinkel, Mizzou still pushing to re-start Border War with Kansas”
  1. 8to80texansblog says: Jul 21, 2014 12:19 PM

    It still surprises me how close that rivalry is… In a series that had been played since 1891 Mizzou only leads by 3… (57-54-9)

    What a shame to lose such a great rivalry.

    I hope they can figure it out.

  2. mogogo1 says: Jul 21, 2014 12:54 PM

    The loss of all these traditional rivalries due to realignment is something that is going to have to be addressed. It does not help the long-term strength of the NCAA to abandon long-time rivalries.

    Also puzzling to me is why KU’s administration would take Mizzou’s going to the SEC as a personal attack, which seems to be their attitude. Given their dismal standing in football, you’d think they’d be chasing anything that would get people into the seats.

  3. coolhorn46 says: Jul 21, 2014 2:45 PM

    Mizzou delivered a big “up yours” to KU and the rest of the Big XII after they rode into the SEC on TAMU’s coat tails after all kinds of protestations that they were gonna work with the remaining Big XII schools for a viable Big XII. I can’t speak for KU fan, but I’d imagine that didn’t sit well with them. Mizzou knew the rivalry game was gone once they jumped leagues, and the door didn’t hit them on the way out. I’d imagine KU is perfectly happy to let the status be quo for a while. Mizzou’s just wanting their cake, and wanting to eat it too.

  4. sportsdrenched says: Jul 21, 2014 3:30 PM

    I’m with coolhorn. Mizzou wanting to still play KU is like wanting a “friends with benefits” relationship with your ex-girlfriend after you ran off married someone else.

    Mizzou knew that joining the SEC would destroy the rivalry and just assumed that KU would agree to play them. Now, Mizzou is the one complaining about the rivalry being gone.

    Also, I wonder if Pinkel’s attitude would be different if KU’s Football team was anything of a threat?

  5. deadeye says: Jul 21, 2014 3:46 PM

    As long as KU looks like an easy win, MU will pursue the border war game. Gotta take those easy P5 victories wherever you can find them.

  6. 8to80texansblog says: Jul 21, 2014 3:50 PM

    The problem with your “ex girlfriend analogy” is that Mizzou didn’t break up with KU… they broke up with Texas. KU was just collateral damage. KU would have left too had they had a suitor the caliber of the SEC.

    Plenty of rivalries occur across conference lines

    Florida v FSU
    UGA v GTech
    Clemson v USCe
    Notre Dame v USC
    Louisville v Kentucky
    Army v Navy

    Some of these are the very fabric of college football and what makes it so great. These people need to get their head’s out of their asses realize, not only what they are doing to their fans, but to college football as a whole.

  7. jadaruler says: Jul 21, 2014 6:44 PM

    Hate Mizzou left the Big 12, but keep the rivalries alive. OU/Neb and UT/A&M should follow suit.

  8. rockymountainoysters says: Jul 21, 2014 8:29 PM

    Typical whiny beakers. Enjoy that Iowa State rivalry game

  9. fwbowl says: Jul 22, 2014 12:07 PM

    From the Article: “those in Lawrence haven’t budged on their refusal to schedule a football or basketball game with their longtime rivals”. It should be noted that Kansas is unwilling to schedule Missouri in any sport, not just football or basketball. Exception being when the teams end up facing each other in an NCAA end-of-season tournament (e.g., softball). They are the only Big 12 school that feels this way. Missouri played Okahoma State in the Cotton Bowl (safe to say, I think, that Kansas would have declined the invitation if they had been bowl eligible and had been invited to face Missouri, unless they thought no other bowl would take them). In basketball, Missouri will be playing Oklahoma in Norman, Oklahoma State in Kansas City, and, quite likely (depends on how the bracket plays out), Kansas State in Lahaina. (Unlike Kansas State, Kansas is unwilling to play in a Thanksgiving week basketball tournament if the field is going to include Missouri.)

    From coolhorn46: “after all kinds of protestations that they were gonna work with the remaining Big XII schools for a viable Big XII.” The 6-year grant of rights did not solve the problem of the Longhorn Network. That elephant was still in the room. But it was intended to give the Big 12 six years of stability in which the league could solve that problem. I truly believe that Brady Deaton thought they had achieved that. But then Oklahoma President David Boren made his statements about “I don’t think OU is going to be a wallflower when all is said and done. … we are carefully looking over all of the options” (http://espn.go.com/college-sports/story/_/id/6923495/oklahoma-sooners-president-david-boren-says-school-interest-multiple-conferences), in effect saying don’t be surprised to see us leave when the grant of right expired. That was the straw that broke the camel’s back for Missouri and they were gone to the SEC. (No fault to Oklahoma here if Boren was being honest. They didn’t create the Longhorn Network problem.) Interesting to note that both Texas and Oklahoma have made it clear that they will continue the Red River Shootout if either school leaves the Big 12.

    Also from coolhorn46: “Mizzou knew the rivalry game was gone once they jumped leagues”. Kansas had stated prior to Mizzou’s departure that the rivalry would be over if Missouri left in attempt to keep Mizzou in the Big 12. When Mizzou went to the SEC, Kansas had to make good on their threat or else lose credibility if their threat proved to be a bluff.

    From sportsdrenched: “I wonder if Pinkel’s attitude would be different if KU’s Football team was anything of a threat?” Safe to say, I believe, that Mizzou’s attitude would be unchanged.

  10. hlhall2241 says: Jul 22, 2014 3:13 PM

    With an undergraduate degree from Mizzou and a graduate degree from KU, I could always say my team won when the two schools met in any sport. I’d like to be able to say that again. Since I now live in Nashville, I was also glad to see Mizzou join the SEC. I get to see them on TV more often, and I get to see them in person occasionally.

  11. guinnyire says: Jul 22, 2014 3:38 PM

    In the shakeup that ended up with 4 teams leaving the Big 12 (Nebraska, Colorado, Texas A&M and Mizzou) and two others openly discussing leaving (Texas and Oklahoma), Mizzou was the only school to truly be criticized for their decision to look at the possibility of leaving the their act of leaving the Big 12.

    When Colorado left, there were no jeers and an understanding towards their geographical location and how they really belonged in a western league. When Nebraska left, the Big 12 really went out of it’s way to acknowledge what champions they were and how they were really sorry they were leaving, etc. Despite the fact Nebraska hadn’t been relevant for a decade. When Texas A&M made their overtures, it was the whole A&M vs Texas thing and how leaving would shake them free of it.

    When Texas and Oklahoma made their overtures, the discussion was on how these were two great programs, larger than their leagues, and how they had to do what was best for their programs.

    Mizzou, however, was taken to the coals over it. We weren’t grateful, we didn’t know our place, We were destroying the Big 12. How could we look elsewhere? Mizzou didn’t do anything that Texas and Oklahoma didn’t do except we acted on the conclusion that the Big 12 was no longer in Mizzou’s long term interest.

    Kansas’ hurt feelings over Mizzou leaving have nothing to do with their love for all things Mizzou. I believe they are #2(, if not #3) in the Big 12 financially due to basketball. Mizzou’s leaving weakened their voting block in the Southwest 2.0 Conference (aka Big 12). Ask any KU grad and they’ll tell you Mizzou isn’t worthy of standing in their shadow, yet they needed us, if only to shore up their sense of self esteem.

    We’re the younger brother who left home and has not only managed to survive but compete with and continue to outperform the older sibling. Not yet in basketball but it’s coming.

    For whatever reason, Mizzou was suppose to know it’s place. We do, and it’s in the SEC, the best conference there is.

  12. g10ver says: Jul 23, 2014 11:41 AM

    If there is anyone at fault, its Texas, the Longhorn Network, and their position in the framework of the Big XII. If they wouldn’t have been strongarming everyone on the conference, and the distributions and TV rights would have been equally distributed, all of this could have been avoided. Now that its all said and done, the whole conference has paid for Texas’s wrongdoing, and everybody wants someone to blame, while they don’t have the kahones to peg the real culprit. This whole thing in no way effects either school’s ability to reinitiate the 3rd oldest rivalry in college sports. The only people that lose out are the students and the fans, and its sad that Texas, a school not even associated with the rivalry, and not even relevant in the discussion of top programs none the less can hold such sway on KU’s mentality on the matter. Don’t let Texas roll in and muck up something amazing that we built. It existed before the Big XII (or any conference nice affiliation for that matter), and it should continue to exist after.

  13. joecmizzou4life says: Jul 23, 2014 4:58 PM

    Whatever Ku bullshit. You still schedule Colorado.

  14. cisco7942 says: Jul 24, 2014 1:06 PM

    - If Pinkel does want the rivalry renewed, he has a funny way of going about it. To the MU fans, I’m curious how many of you have responded positively to a request when you were told you were “pouting” or “mad” about something. I would think the whole honey/vinegar argument might be some logic to apply here
    – As far as football goes, KU is in a conference with 9 conference games (out of 12 total). Right now, they are the opposite of competitive. Last year, they struggled to beat even the likes of La Tech at home. Throwing out all the rivalry stuff, adding a non-con school like Missouri just adds too much pressure for a school trying to get back to a basic competitive state. As embarrassing as the sorry state of the football team is to a Kansas fan, I do find it interesting that Pinkel continues to clamor to play a team that has been one of college football’s worst the past few years. Is he really that concerned about the rivalry? (and if he was, what was he saying the 3 or so weeks Missouri deliberated to leave the Big 12 back in 2011?)
    – The press will always have an agenda with this issue. Locally and national, it was a storyline that was ½ written every time the 2 teams played. Open with “Burned towns down, bloody Kansas, Civil War, blah blah blah” fill in results of game, sprinkle in anecdotes how feelings spill over off the court, conclude with “100+ years of playing each other, throw records out the window” blah blah (regardless of outcome). Wash, rinse, repeat. In this game’s absence, sports writers and media have to, like, try to find interesting angles in teams and players and stuff a little more instead of utilizing a mad libs template.
    – A lot of words seem to be put into the mouth of KU’s administration. Maybe I’ve missed something, but it seems they’ve quietly just decided to move on in response to Missouri’s decision to leave. Switching shoes, would MU fans be as rabid to renew the rivalry? Serious question. I challenge that at least some of the MU fans here lament that they didn’t value the rivalry as much as they should have and are having some buyer’s regret (even with last year’s successful football season). If Pinkel represents MU and its fans, why does he talk so much about KU? Is he not happy in the SEC?
    – And finally, as a KU fan, I will admit I miss the football match ups to a degree. In my lifetime, I’ve watched numerous entertaining games between the 2 games. But as far as basketball goes, good riddance. Missouri didn’t hold up their end of the bargain and it was never really a “rivalry”. MU got so much more out of that relationship than KU did. Zero championships, zero final fours, limited conference championships, etc. Since MU’s last conference championship 20 years ago, they’ve finished as high as 2nd only once, have made the tournament only 11 times out of 20 opportunities and only have 10 NCAA tournament wins in those 11 games. From 94-95 to 11-12, MU won a whopping 25% of its games against KU. Maybe 3 of those games had any type of shared meaning for both schools as far as conference and national implications went (for the record, KU’s won something like ~46 NCAA games during that time, 16 conference titles and four Final Fours (with a championship game appearance and championship). As far as modern history basketball goes, I think KU has proven everything it needs to prove against MU and would be perfectly happy if the two teams never met up again in my lifetime. It was a game I rarely looked forward to, and usually just wanted to be over with in anticipation of playing the teams that actually could challenge KU and didn’t need a “rivalry” to motivate them. I’d argue MU needs to string together multiple highly successful basketball seasons before they spouted off too much more about KU not playing them.

  15. fwbowl says: Jul 24, 2014 4:32 PM

    “he has a funny way of going about it” – I have to agree with you, cisco7942. References to “mad” or “pouting” serve no purpose and lack respect. When media members ask other Mizzou personnel, the typical answer is something like “the invitation remains on the table” and they move on to the next question. Nothing gained by adding a comment like “pouting” as Pinkel has done twice now.
    “why does he talk so much about KU?” As you note, the press has an agenda with this. That is why it is talked about. The press asks the question, and Pinkel or whomever answers. I guess they could respond by saying “my previous answer still stands” or even “no comment”, but I see nothing wrong with them giving their answer again when asked again.
    P.S. I expect Kansas’ football doldrums to not go on forever.

  16. mubud says: Jul 27, 2014 5:32 PM

    MU did go down to Dallas to try and save Big12. While in meetings Tx and OU were trying to get into the PAC-12. After news came out MU went SEC… Which was a great decision… KU don’t want to play..forget em’

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