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Tuesday, November 23, 2010

It’s Border War week: KU’s Turner Gill, Missouri’s Gary Pinkel well aware of rivalry’s history, bitterness

Left: Missouri coach Gary Pinkel leaves a huddle against Texas A&M on Oct. 16 in College Station, Texas. Pinkel, Mizzou’s coach since 2000, has been a part of nine Border War games against Kansas. Right: Kansas football coach Turner Gill, left, disputes an interference call following a Colorado punt during the first quarter of the Jayhawks’ victory.

Left: Missouri coach Gary Pinkel leaves a huddle against Texas A&M on Oct. 16 in College Station, Texas. Pinkel, Mizzou’s coach since 2000, has been a part of nine Border War games against Kansas. Right: Kansas football coach Turner Gill, left, disputes an interference call following a Colorado punt during the first quarter of the Jayhawks’ victory.

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Although Missouri coach Gary Pinkel has been through nine of these and Kansas University coach Turner Gill is preparing for his first, the two football coaches navigated similarly speedy paths to understanding exactly what the Border War rivalry was all about upon being hired at their respective schools.

For Pinkel, hired by MU in 2000, word of the Kansas-Missouri rivalry popped up quickly and didn’t slow down for several months.

“I figured it out right after my press conference,” Pinkel said. “At every function I went to for the next three months, public relations-wise, everybody would come up and say hello and welcome and the first thing they would say was, ‘Beat KU.’ That took me off guard a little bit because, at the time, Mizzou wasn’t doing very well and I just couldn’t believe that a rivalry at a program that had been struggling was so huge. But I figured that out real quick.”

For Gill, a glimpse into the Border War surely came before his introductory press conference. If not, how else could “Beat Missouri” have been second on Gill’s list of priorities that day last December?

Asked if playing the Tigers at Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City, Mo., in the final week of the season would feel like KU’s bowl game this season, Gill was direct with his response.

“I think from the magnitude of the people, the Kansas alums and the students, I don’t think it would matter when this game would be played,” he said. “It’s definitely a big focal point for this football program along with the people in the community and all the alumni on both sides.”

The first official chatter from the KU locker room emerged after last Saturday’s 48-14 loss to Oklahoma State. While the Tigers were celebrating and summarizing their 14-0 victory at Iowa State, the Jayhawks (3-8 overall and 1-6 in Big 12 play) were busy looking ahead.

Red-shirt freshman receiver Chris Omigie, who had career-best marks in Saturday’s loss, showed with his words that he was more than ready for his first Border War.

“It’s real exciting,” Omigie said. “We’re going for blood this week. We’re going straight for blood. We’re going at their throats.”

The Tigers first began talking about this year’s showdown last summer at Big 12 media days in Dallas.

Asked if Gill’s nice-guy image would take some of the luster off of the bitterness that defines the rivalry, Pinkel referenced Gill’s alma mater and some of the heated rivalries that Nebraska’s been a part of.

“Tom Osborne’s a nice guy, too,” Pinkel said. “And he did pretty good.”

Added Mizzou defensive back Kevin Rutland: “I really don’t look at it like that. He’s come into a rivalry that he’s been thrown into. Our rivalry’s not going to change due to him being there. I wish him the best of luck, but we’ll see what happens when we meet.”

While the outcome of the 2010 seasons has made Missouri (9-2, 5-2) a 241⁄2-point favorite for Saturday’s 11:30 a.m. kickoff, the rivalry’s recent history suggests that both teams have a legitimate chance.

In 2008, KU was just 6-5 heading into the Border War against the 12th-ranked Tigers. But a spirited Jayhawk effort, culminating with a fourth-down touchdown pass from Todd Reesing to Kerry Meier in the snow, gave Kansas the victory.

Kansas went on to rock Minnesota in the Insight Bowl and finished the season 8-5.

Pinkel remembered having a good team that year. One of his best, he thought. But the emotion, energy and excitement surrounding the Border War trumped that. Pinkel expects a similar scene Saturday.

“In 2008 I thought we had a really good football team and we go in there and Kansas beats us,” Pinkel said. “And we barely won last year. With this game, you can throw everything out the window. Both teams will compete just because of the rivalry, both what’s been created and inherited.”

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John Mueller 3 years, 4 months ago

stuck-

My comment was obviously a bit tongue in cheek, there is no question that we do not have the same talent as the leagues elite

And, I would agree that when there is a significant talent gap, it is tough to solely judge a coaches effectiveness with the scoreboard

HOWEVER (as stephen a would say) With few exceptions (GT and maybe Nebraska), this team has been poorly prepared, has failed to compete for 60 min, has had HORRENDOUS special teams play which is frankly mostly about attitude, guts, preparation and want to, etc.

Further, i think you can look at critical decisions, time management and the ever present blank stare of the mans face / complete lack of contribution on the headset as a sign of an ill prepared, over matched situation.

Before he ever got started, his resume was WHOLLY inadequate for the job. We had moved Kansas to a level one step above hiring the BUFFALO (and not Bills) coach at Kansas.

It was a ridiculous / PC / BS hire. period. full stop.

The man seems to have the utmost character and I admire and respect him for that, but my high school janitor had high character and was a damn fine man. He just wasn't qualified to lead the Dodge City Red Demons into battle (queue the music from Patton)

(Go Gomer! Go Gomer!)

PS I hope I am completely and totally wrong, but I don't think so.

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Christopher Johnson 3 years, 4 months ago

Wait, it's border war week? I hardly knew . . . who cares this year. We'll get spanked. Basketball season started and HCTG sucks. I thought it was the border showdown . . . are we dropping the pacifism to stir people up?

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grandpa 3 years, 4 months ago

troutsee, I agree with you. KU can win this game but we are going to need an all out effort from both our offense and defense. Some sensible play calling could also help us a bunch. Good Luck to all KU boys especially my grandson #81.Wish I could be there but I will be watching my Texas TV.

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tauck 3 years, 4 months ago

springtx Now that is FUNNY!!!

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dtownhawkfan 3 years, 4 months ago

i hate misery. We're going to win this weekend I decided

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KU_FanSince75 3 years, 4 months ago

@ springtxhawk---- I got a good laugh out of that post----thanks!

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John Mueller 3 years, 4 months ago

if it's a war, we're in deep doo doo, cuz they got George Patton and we got Gomer Pyle.

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KU_FanSince75 3 years, 4 months ago

Obviously, I didn't mean "war," like what's happening in the Middle East and Mexico. Nebraskajayhawk, I appreciate the fact that you knew what I mean.

I used to work with a KU alum, who had a son that played for the KU marching band. They went over to Columbia to play before the Tiger band took the field. This was before the games got switched to Arrowhead. As they were waiting to go on the field, several Mizzou fans poured full cups of liquid beverages all over their instruments while they were holding those instruments. I am assuming it was not alcohol because their is an NCAA rule that stadiums can't sell alcohol during college games. Anyway, it was pretty pathetic. I had already mentioned the batteries thrown at KU football players today.

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Joe Templeton 3 years, 4 months ago

Time for Coach Fam to work his magic

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jayhawkinnebr 3 years, 4 months ago

It will be a slaughterhouse with jayhawk fans sitting with black and yellow on. I like to see Missouri win as it will put pressure on NU and all their problems. Bully Bo has his problems of embarrassement of the NU.

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Robert Brock 3 years, 4 months ago

Until the Jayhawks get the program back to where it was under Mangino...the Border War will be downgraded to Police Action status.

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troutsee 3 years, 4 months ago

ISU played MU tough by using a 3 man rush most of the game. Gabbert had all night to throw but nobody to throw to. If ISU can play 'em tough, we can too, but it will take maximum effort and inspired play from our D and a flawless performance from our O. We can win this game.

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Rock_Chalk_NYC 3 years, 4 months ago

Thank you for calling it the Border WAR!

As much as I can't stand Mizzery, I can only hope Gill ends up doing a similar job over the years here at KU. I've long said to friends, all I want out of football is to beat KSUck and beat Mizzery... Mangino and those teams spoiled me into thinking we could have more... well thats just not a reality right now, so back to wishing for those 2 victories for now.

KSUck didn't happen, lets hope for a miracle and Muck Fizzou!

Rock Chalk!

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tpatt 3 years, 4 months ago

Remember, these people burned Lawrence.

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FSUJHAWK 3 years, 4 months ago

Tiger hunting season...shock the world boys...!!!

RCJHGKU!!!

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KU_FanSince75 3 years, 4 months ago

I kind of sick of "hearing Border Showdown VS Border War." It is a frickin' war---call it what it is. When the sweet and considerate Missouri fans throw batteries at the Jayhawks coming out of the tunnel, it's a stinkin' war.

ttoulouse---I hope you are right. A big blowout with Missery would not sit well with me. Rock Chalk!

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ttoulouse 3 years, 4 months ago

Considering how much better this team plays when there is emotion involved, I'm looking for another Georgia-Tech-like performance. This game will definitely be closer than 24 points.

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