Curtis Kitchen has followed the Big 12, Kansas State and national college basketball beat including K-State's run to the NCAA Tournament Elite 8 in 2010. You can currently follow his work at his blog: KitchenKC.com In the past, he also covered the Kansas City Wizards (now Sporting KC) for Major League Soccer's mlsnet.com site as well as the Kansas City Chiefs and Royals for the other sports station in town. His freelance portfolio ranges media outlets and publications, including gopowercat.com (part of the Rivals network), collegehoopsnet.com and the Miami Herald.
Curtis Kitchen: This Is It
by Curtis Kitchen,posted Feb 3 2012 11:46AM
Maybe I consciously pushed the thought out of my head on purpose until now. But, the finality surrounding the Kansas and Missouri rivalry is settling in for me. Starting with Saturday's game in Columbia, this is one half of what's left for awhile, perhaps a long while.
That thought stinks.
For me, it isn't even about the origin of the rivalry, though the Civil War tie provided a massive, intense base on which to sit everything else that would later come with the contests. It doesn't even bother me that the schools will be in different conferences (mostly because I think the overall idea of conferences as we once knew them has changed). It happens.
But, both Mizzou and KU had a chance to right this long before now. Both sides blame the other. Neither wants to back down. Ironically, it's the rivalry that is helping stunt possibilities of getting games back on the schedule.
I've heard local sports experts say they believe the rivalry will eventually rekindle (on the field, it's not going to die off it, of course), but that it may be 5-10 years. You think the two-week layoff between NFL conference championshp games and the Super Bowl is bad? Try YEARS of smack talk; reguritated, tired reasons why the other team is too scared to play; uncomparable "facts" that one team is better than the other; and unintentionally hysterical rap videos.
That's what petty feelings and idiotic pride are about to reduce perhaps the nation's best rivalry down to. We only have a couple of games left to soak in more than a century of bad blood.
Congratulations, I guess, to you both, Jayhawks and Tigers. You both deserve to smell what you've stepped in by letting this situation spin itself out of control. Hopefully, it wakes you up enough to put foolishness aside and put each other back on the schedule sooner rather than later.