Alums of the University of Kansas fight rivalries on two fronts. On one side, despite being the flagship institution in Kansas, we must battle for scant state resources with land grant institution Kansas State University. On the other we fight over a metropolitan area, and by extension, a place in history, with the University of Missouri. In a part of the nation where even the t-shirt fans have deep loyalty, it is imperative for KU to remain the dominant public institution, to influence generations of Kansans and Kansas Citians for years to come.
In 2012, Missouri left its long rivalry with Kansas for a spot in the SEC. So far it has worked out splendidly for them. We sometimes referred to Missouri as a sleeping giant, being the only BCS-level school in a high-population state where residents are unusually unified in their support for the institution, and the state. This unification sets Missouri apart from other states in my opinion. Missourians genuinely believe, together, the rest of the union is plotting against them. I have never seen a population so defensive, nor so paranoid as to develop an us-versus-them mentality at the state level.
But those feelings might be natural considering the weird things that have happened to Missouri sports over the years.
So many weird moments exist, KU fans created a special "One Shining Moment" video for Mizzou.
Sadly, that is probably the end. The sleeping giant has awakened. I see more tiger tails and "M" license plates than ever before. KU has a large fight ahead of it to maintain influence in Kansas City.
Kansas State should be Bill Snyder State. Manhattan and Riley County should also rename their jurisdictions after the old ball coach. KSU owes everything, any success in any arena, in the last couple of decades, to Bill Snyder. Around 1989, Sports Illustrated printed an article called "Futility U," noting the failures of Kansas State football over the century. At the time, KSU had gone two seasons without a win. Enrollment at the university lagged far behind KU and the town faced the possibility of losing the military population to base closures.
How lucky of Kansas State to hire the understated Bill Snyder from the University of Iowa coaching staff to coach their football team, right? No one thought much of it at the time, mainly because KSU had a limited budget and limited realistic options. Snyder, however, quickly figured out at KSU, one had to out-work the competition down to the smallest detail, drill the fundamentals to perfection, and find ways to keep players eligible. Kansas as a state has only one advantage over most: a conference of junior colleges generating Division I athletes annually.
It only took a few years for KSU to find itself third in the Big 8 pecking order, and by the late 1990s, had one of the best teams in the nation. In 2013, the university's population now exceeds that of KU, and Manhattan has made numerous capital investments. I wish KU would realize that football, and only football, can truly lift the tide of the entire university.