Posts Tagged ‘Kansas’

By Brad Hallier

Let’s get this much straight: Bill Self isn’t basketball coach at the University of Kansas to satisfy fans. Bill Self is the Jayhawks’ coach for one purpose – to win basketball games.

Which takes me into the Border War, the most intense college rivalry in the country. At least, it was through 2012. That summer, Missouri left the Big 12 Conference for the Southeastern Conference. All along, Missouri wanted badly to join the Big 10, but given its southern heritage, the Southeastern Conference probably made more sense.

Besides, “it just means more” in the SEC, right?

Since Missouri left, their administration – current and former – coaches and many fans (not all) have pretty much begged Kansas to continue the Border War, especially in football and basketball.

Given how awful Missouri has been in basketball lately, perhaps Bill Self should be scheduling Missouri. Wouldn’t help the RPI though.

Last week, Missouri made it clear for about the billionth time since leaving for the SEC that it wants to play Kansas. A former Missouri chancellor even called out Self’s “big ego” for the rivalry not continuing.

Self, KU athletic director Sheahon Zenger and most Kansas fans predictably guffawed at the notion.

Look folks, it’s not going to happen any time soon. It just isn’t. And then you hear the whiny retorts from many Missouri fans and some in the media. And I roll my eyes.

“You play Colorado! You play Nebraska! They left the Big 12 too!”

Yeah, but Kansas doesn’t hate Missouri. Few Kansas fans I know hate Nebraska or Colorado. Heck, I’ve always respected Nebraska. Good folks, good all-around fans. They don’t pretend to be fans in a sport they happen to be good at. Colorado … meh, who cares? Kansas finds it amusing hearing Missouri wanting to play the Jayhawks.

“It would be great for the fans!”

Would some non-conference football game at Arrowhead be fun? Maybe. But without any kind of conference implications, you might as well give it a stupid name like the “Braggin’ Rights” basketball game between Missouri and Illinois.

Neither Kansas nor Missouri is worth a crap in football right now. A game at Arrowhead might get 50,000 fans this year.

And now that Missouri appears to be improving in basketball, after being arguably the worst program in any power-five conference, Missouri again is pushing to play Kansas.

Missouri might as well shut up and stop talking about. Not. Going. To. Happen.

“Kansas (or Bill Self) is scared to play Missouri!”

Moving on …


Why is Bill Self not interested in playing Missouri? It probably starts with this – Bill Self wanted to coach Missouri in the late 1990s when Norm Stewart retired. He was even a finalist. But Missouri went with Quin Snyder. As confusing as this might seem, Self is good enough for Kansas, but wasn’t good enough for Missouri.

Missouri’s departure to the SEC was the single greatest moment in history of Missouri athletics. Missouri got something that many wanted – an out from a conference that appeared to be sinking. Good for Missouri.

With anything in life, there’s give and take, and that’s something Missouri doesn’t seem to realize. You leave for the stability and glitz and glamour of the SEC, and there’s going to be some anger from the Big 12, from Kansas in particular. Surely Missouri realized that.

Fact of the matter is this – Kansas doesn’t need Missouri and vice versa. Kansas basketball continues to be one of the nation’s elite teams annually. A game with Missouri won’t change that. And Kansas often has a tremendous regular-season schedule, filled with tough opponents. A game with Missouri doesn’t change that.

If anything a game with Missouri most years would hurt Kansas’ RPI.

Missouri is in the SEC, a pretty good conference in many sports. Missouri has found some success in minor sports, after a good run in football. Missouri has a talented basketball recruiting class and should be much improved next year.

Missouri needs to move on. Forget it. This ship has long sailed. It’s over for now. The Border War is not coming back in the regular season any time soon.