Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Rivalry’s newest chapter brings back buzz


So many years of putrid rivalry football. It seems so long ago, doesn't it?

Kansas University and Kansas State's football teams battle it out again Saturday at Memorial Stadium. And the fact that the outcome isn't a bank-vault lock is a welcome sight for a rivalry that was so : well, so terrible for so many years.

"For a long time, there wasn't a lot of interest in this game," KU coach Mark Mangino said. "College football fans in the state of Kansas are more excited about the game than they've been in a long time. It makes for a good environment."

Memorial Stadium is nearing a sellout. Both teams are on winning streaks and coming off impressive offensive-powered victories. And both teams have a shot at being bowl-eligible, with K-State already securing seven victories.

The outlook was bleak for an anticipated showdown a month ago. But Kansas State's 45-42 victory over No. 4 Texas on Friday only added to the hype.

The nine-game stretch from 1995-2003? Blowouts, every year. The last two games in this series were close, but neither was late enough in the season to have this much at stake.

This season, it's supposed to be tight - and critical.

"The situation is such," Mangino said, "where it's a big game for both teams."

And it has arrived with both programs coming off very different - yet beneficial - weekends at home.

Saturday passed quietly for the Jayhawks, who didn't play after 10 straight weekends of games. Mangino said the bye week came at a "perfect" time because of the much-needed rest the Jayhawks got.

Kansas State, meanwhile, created quite a big boom Saturday, celebrating its biggest victory in three seasons over the defending national champion Longhorns. The Wildcats used trickery, perseverance and just a good offensive attack to stun Texas and kick the Longhorns out of discussions as to who will play in the BCS national championship game.

It's understandable to assume Kansas State supporters still are celebrating days later. But KSU coach Ron Prince doesn't expect his players to do anything but look ahead to Saturday's game.

Pretty soon, the rest of the state will be, as well.

"They're at full attention because of who the opponent is," Prince said of his squad. "We try to make the case here that in our minds, November is like the playoff race.

"That was a really nice win for us. I'm sure that everyone who's watching it and all the pundits will jump to a lot of conclusions. But around these parts, we're pretty focused on this opponent."


Eric Beightel 13 years, 2 months ago

K-State beat Texas on Saturday, not Friday.

OPJayhawk 13 years, 2 months ago

Memo to the writer of this article, and to others at the Journal World. While we are known as "KU", using "Kansas University" is annoying as he!!, and makes you look like an idiot. Please use "KU" or "The University of Kansas". "Kansas University" is NOT the proper way to refer to the university. You'd think the hometown paper would be aware of this. This is getting old, and its embarassing.

Nutflush21 13 years, 2 months ago

The AP style for writing KU in articles has long been Kansas University. The LJ World adopted this as well years ago. I agree they should refer to KU as the University of Kansas but dont plan on that changing any time soon or ever...

Migady 13 years, 2 months ago

Who ever had my post removed is a little girl. Still Smug, and still shouldn't care how Kansas University is written about. I still say you should go back to San Francisco. Smug.

prairie_rattler 13 years, 2 months ago

Personally, I prefer 'Kansas University'... it's succinct, less pretentious, and more accurately reflects our acronym. To call ourselves the 'University of Kansas' and then use 'KU'; has always seemed to me, to be a cheesy way of setting us apart from the University of Kentucky.

Joe Ross 13 years, 2 months ago

Hey all! Get over to and vote for the KU analysts. K-State has been whipping on us for weeks!!! It'll only take a hundred votes or so to win this week so take 10 seconds and click over to cast a vote for the HAWKS!!!!

gahawk 13 years, 2 months ago

You might prefer 'Kansas University' and I'll agree that it's more consistent with KU. Just one problem -- it's not the name of the school. That's like you preferring to be called Charles and me deciding nonetheless to call you Chuck. Presumptious, annoying and not really your call.

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