Kansas Jayhawks: Is K-State a True Rival


If you know anything about the basketball version of the Sunflower Showdown, you realize that since before computers dialed up to the internet, the Kansas Jayhawks have dominated the series against the Kansas State Wildcats.

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But, have you really looked at how much the Jayhawks have dominated the Wildcats in this so-called rivalry the past two decades?

Let’s start with the basics. Since Feb. 12, 1994, the Jayhawks:

  • Lead the series 49-4
  • Are 20-1 in Allen Fieldhouse
  • Are 18-3 in Manhattan
  • Are 11-0 in conference tournament match-ups
  • Have won by double-digits 31 times
  • Lost by a combined 42 points in their four defeats, and beat K-State by 45 points in one game (90-45 on March 10, 1995 in the Big 8 Tournament)

Save for a few games in Manhattan when K-State was an NCAA Tournament team, and one inexplicable home loss in 2006, the Jayhawks have absolutely owned the Wildcats.

Before anyone moves to the football argument, let’s compare that series to the one on the hardwood.

There is no doubt the Wildcats are king of this Sunflower Showdown the last two decades, but the Jayhawks won the same amount of games in this series (4) as K-State has in basketball. However, it took the Wildcats 53 games to do it, and only 21 for the Jayhawks.

Also, Kansas did not just pepper a few wins in the series here and there. They owned the Showdown from 2004-08, going 4-1 and defeating a ranked Wildcat team in Manhattan in 2007. They also finished that season 12-1, after knocking off Virginia Tech in the Orange Bowl.

While there is no argument K-Sate (177-86) has been better thank KU (100-135) during this stretch, they have just two more bowl victories — six compared to four.

During this time though, the Missouri Tigers were always Kansas’ biggest rival. With their departure for the SEC three years ago, Kansas was left without a true rival.

There is some built-in bitterness between the two Kansas schools because they are in the same state, but the Jayhawks have dominated the basketball series (188-92) and until Bill Snyder roamed the sidelines they did as well in the football series.

The Jayhawks lead the pigskin battles 65-42-5, and will have to be awful for another quarter of a century to lose the edge in the series.

So yes, KU has basically dominated both series save for the Snyder years, but it’s hard to argue about pre-Synder years given the fact how much he has dominated the series during his tenure.

What I believe, and I think most Jayhawk fans would agree if they were honest, is that the Mizzou rivalry was so great, so hateful, that there is no way a team can just jump right in and take the Tigers’ place.

At this point, I’m much more pumped up to play Iowa St. considering how good the Cyclones have become, and the fact K-State is down this season.

Don’t look for the Wildcats to help themselves out tonight on the way to being considered huge Jayhawk rivals.

Sure they play at home, but the so-called Octagon of Doom has been closer to the Octagon of Gloom for K-state fans that have seen their team go a marginal 10-4 at home, with losses to Texas Southern and Georgia.

The Jayhawks won by 11 in their earlier home meeting this season with the Wildcats, but it was never a contest.

It shouldn’t be tonight as K-State has now lost seven-of-eight games after a 5-2 conference start, and their best player, Marcus Foster, is a shadow of himself compared to last season due to some off-court issues.

The crowd will be loud and the Wabash Cannonball will be out in full force, but that should only be in the first half. Look for K-State to keep it close early, but its depleted roster won’t be able to keep up with the talent Bill Self will usher out on the court.

As long as the Jayhawks keep playing like they do, this is just going to be K-State’s “Super Bowl” on the schedule, and Kansas will continue to look for a rival.

Even though Jayhawks fans like to act like K-State is nothing but a little brother, it’s not so much that, as it is the feeling of nothing can compare to the bitterness of the MU-KU rivalry.

K-State will have to do for now though, until the Jayhawks swallow their pride and schedule an annual Kansas City meeting with Missouri.

Next: Kansas Jayhawks: Naming the All-Bill Self KU Teams

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