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Thursday, October 4, 2012

Sunflower snapshots: Missouri’s departure for the SEC has sharpened the focus for KU on its other big rival

Though the Sunflower Showdown has seen some extremes even in just the past few years — like the then-record 51,821 fans in Memorial Stadium in 2006 (top left), to the turnout that dwindled to a mere handful at the end last season (top right) — one constant is the sea of purple (in 2009, main photo above) in Manhattan. 
There were a few jubilant KU fans in Manhattan for a 30-24 Kansas win in 2007 (lower left). In 2004, the Jayhawk faithful tore down the goal posts after a 31-28 Kansas victory in Lawrence (middle right), but the K-State backers made themselves at home at Memorial Stadium after the Wildcats’ 59-7 win in 2010 in Lawrence (bottom right).

Though the Sunflower Showdown has seen some extremes even in just the past few years — like the then-record 51,821 fans in Memorial Stadium in 2006 (top left), to the turnout that dwindled to a mere handful at the end last season (top right) — one constant is the sea of purple (in 2009, main photo above) in Manhattan. There were a few jubilant KU fans in Manhattan for a 30-24 Kansas win in 2007 (lower left). In 2004, the Jayhawk faithful tore down the goal posts after a 31-28 Kansas victory in Lawrence (middle right), but the K-State backers made themselves at home at Memorial Stadium after the Wildcats’ 59-7 win in 2010 in Lawrence (bottom right).

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Though the Sunflower Showdown has seen some extremes even in just the past few years — like the then-record 51,821 fans in Memorial Stadium in 2006 (top left), to the turnout that dwindled to a mere handful at the end last season (top right) — one constant is the sea of purple (in 2009, main photo above) in Manhattan. There were a few jubilant KU fans in Manhattan for a 30-24 Kansas win in 2007 (lower left). In 2004, the Jayhawk faithful tore down the goal posts after a 31-28 Kansas victory in Lawrence (middle right), but the K-State backers made themselves at home at Memorial Stadium after the Wildcats’ 59-7 win in 2010 in Lawrence (bottom right).

There are 24 native Kansans on the Kansas University football roster and several other players who have been in town long enough to understand the significance of the annual Sunflower Showdown between KU and K-State.

But perhaps the biggest indication that the rivalry has reached a higher level this year than in years past is the way the newcomers talked about it this week.

“Since I got here in June, I’ve gained these relationships with these guys, and I’ve felt how they’ve felt,” said senior tight end Mike Ragone, a native of Blackwood, N.J. “This is a very personal game, so once I started figuring that out, it got very personal for me, as well. I’m here. I’m KU. I’m not New Jersey right now.”

Although the game, which has been played 109 times dating back to 1902, always has had special meaning — particularly to the Kansans on both rosters — it has taken on new importance in 2012, with KU’s most bitter rival, Missouri, now playing in the SEC. The Jayhawks, new and old, have embraced the new approach, and first-year KU coach Charlie Weis has made sure of that.

“I think it feels a little different,” KU senior receiver Daymond Patterson said. “They (the Wildcats) were always a big rivalry, and we knew that, but at the end of the year we knew we always had Mizzou. Now this is the game.”

While Saturday’s contest — 11 a.m. at Bill Snyder Family Stadium in Manhattan — will mark his final shot at the Wildcats, Patterson said he appreciated the new approach, given that he believed the Sunflower Showdown was underplayed a little during his first four years in town.

“In past years, it was a big game,” Patterson said. “But it was nowhere near as big as what the KU-Mizzou game was.”

In fact, Patterson remembered having to be set straight about the rivalry hierarchy early on in his KU career.

“When I first got here, I was like, ‘That’s not our rival?’ And people would say, ‘Nah, it’s Missouri,’” he recalled. “So it’s kind of confusing when you first get here. But we’re moving on to this, and we’re gonna make this the big game. Now that coach Weis is here and Missouri’s gone, he sees how important this is. We’re not overlooking this game.”

This year’s KU squad features several people who have experience in some of the greatest rivalries in football. From Notre Dame-USC in the college ranks to Kansas City-Oakland in the professional ranks, those past battles have aided the new guys in their attempt to help bring the KU-KSU showdown to new heights. Earlier this week, a few of them shared their favorite rivalry memories.

“Oh, gosh, Cowboys-Redskins is probably the biggest one,” defensive coordinator and former Dallas Cowboys head coach Dave Campo said. “There’s no love lost for anybody there, and I’d like to see this one be that way all the time. I’m not sure that’s been the case over the years.”

Added offensive line coach Tim Grunhard, who played college ball at Notre Dame and professionally in Kansas City: “Notre Dame-USC, Notre Dame-Michigan and, with the Chiefs, the Raider rivalry. They’re always special games. And the reason why they’re a rivalry is (a) proximity and (b) because something really strange happens like a big upset or a great, close game.”

For Ragone, that something strange came back in middle school, when he switched squads to avoid playing on the offensive line.

“I played all my old friends,” he said. “But we still went to the same middle school, and it was havoc. Bragging rights, everything. And I put a whuppin’ on ’em. It was awesome. I’ve been in some big games, but I am really, really looking forward to this. We’re pumped. We’re really ready to get this going.”

Ragone said he was thrilled that Saturday’s game was scheduled to kick off so early because it limited the amount of time the Jayhawks would have to wait. He said the team spent the bulk of its off week focusing on K-State and has turned things up a notch this week. At the start of Wednesday’s practice, Weis instructed staffers to play the K-State fight song on a loop for 5-10 minutes so his players would get sick of hearing it.

“No. 7 in the country, their place, 11 o’clock in the morning,” Ragone said. “We’re ready. If you can’t get motivated for this game, then you shouldn’t be playing football.”

Comments

scraptown 1 year, 6 months ago

That may be true, it may not, can only wait and see, but I'd rather be successfull today and unsure of tomorrow than unsuccessful today and unsuccessful tomorrow.

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Reuben_J_Cogburn 1 year, 6 months ago

Only the most delusional KU fans believe we'll win, or that we're even close to the upper tier of college football...perhaps even the middle tier of college football.

But you're right. We will see you...you Sultans of insecurity, kings of conference championships (one), most glorified of all historical underachievers in everyone's minds, at 11am Saturday.

And in case you were wondering my prediction...KU will lose this game in what will be nothing more than a stat-padding scrimmage for KState.

But know this, brother. Regardless of what transpires on Saturday morning, your beloved, "storied" program is on borrowed time. When the great coach leaves for good, mediocrity has a warm seat prepared for you. That 2005-2007 stretch was just a glimpse of things to come for your classy Catbackers.

So I congratulate you in advance for the win on October 6, 2012. And my advice is to cherish it from start to finish. Because I guarantee you that every down, every snap, every split-second of every game is one step closer to returning to the days when your proud EMAW nation was nothing more than a national ag-school laughing stock.

Thank you for your persistence, and have a fantastic weekend.

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scraptown 1 year, 6 months ago

Ok, so you read it… great. Just making sure… you know, about the K-state is ku's role model, like I said no biggie, we'll see you Goliaths of sport, you gods of competition, you, dare I say, most beloved of all university institutions in the entirety of your own minds, at 11 am Saturday.

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Reuben_J_Cogburn 1 year, 6 months ago

I admit the irony in asking this (in that I'm on here to), but what the heck, I'll ask it anyways.

Don't you have anything better to do?

I mean, it's after sundown. Aren't you supposed to be lighting a candle at the foot of your Snyder Shrine? Sacrificing a can of Ensure and perhaps some Super Beta Prostate?

He's getting to that age, and the fate of your entire world rests in his health.

And give my respects to the fat, white trash, Keystone-masked symbol of all it means to be a Wildcat.

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scraptown 1 year, 6 months ago

“I don’t want every Kansas fan to be mad at me, but it’s a pretty good role model,” Weis said. “Everyone wants to look at it different than that, but from my perspective, they’re doing a lot of things right.”

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Reuben_J_Cogburn 1 year, 6 months ago

Scraptown,

I understand what you're doing. Trying to get a rise out of KU fans before your Superbowl on Saturday.

We get it...and it's adorable.

But as I mentioned above, no argument you've made is even close to accurate or sensible. The KU BCS game argument you refereneced was actually sarcasm in response to your "one trick pony" remark. And throughout K-State's "Decade of Dominance," with the exception of a couple of bowl wins (which KU matched in the 2000's), the only thing K-State fans have to obsess about and hang their hats on is the 2003 Big XII Championship.

Congrats. You won the conference. You're elite. Even more elite than KU winning 8 consecutive in basketball. Other than that...list me your biggest accomplishments in the past two decades.

I will admit, KU is nowhere close to a football powerhouse or even a contender, but historically, KState is one of the worst that has ever existed...ever. One man comes along and changes that, but he also proved, during the Ron Prince era, KState football cannot survive without him.

And unless you discovered the secret to prolonged life in one of KState's livestock pavilions, you may have a little succession plan problem. I suggest you go back to GoPowerCat.com and leave us be, Win or lose on Saturday, we have no inflated sense of where we stand in the collegiate althletics world.

Wildcat fans, on the other hand, have toiled tooth and nail for the better part of a century trying to grasp relevance. One of the saddest things I have ever seen, rivaled only by the pathetic existence of Missouri fans.

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jhawkrulz 1 year, 6 months ago

They wear man-pink, isnt' that embarrassing enough.

KU's ONLY rival is Missouri...the purple headed stepchild is just a nuisance, who has lost more games than any other division I football team in history.

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texashawk10 1 year, 6 months ago

I'm not going to get into whether or marijuana should be legalized because it's not happening anytime soon and the Misery players were just stupid for doing it in a parking lot at night with the windows rolled up. I would be curious though as to how a college athlete came to be driving a Lincoln Navigator because unless it's about 10 years old, there's no way a college kid should be able to afford one on the up and up.

http://www.cbssports.com/collegefootball/blog/eye-on-college-football/20453727/missouri-wr-dorial-green-beckham-among-five-players-suspended-after-marijuana-arrest-updated

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scraptown 1 year, 6 months ago

K-state won the fiesta bowl before the bcs when there was 1 less major bowl played, so it was harder to get in, harder to win; your bcs argument holds no water. K-state has no team national championships. I think the most important part, and the part you guys are missing, is you can't rival K-state, K-state is your idol, what you aspire to be, your own coach Weiss said it himself, and I think we can all agree his words mean more than any of ours.

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texashawk10 1 year, 6 months ago

At least KSUck will always have EcoKat!

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Bradly Moore 1 year, 6 months ago

K state is a no trick pony. As in no national championships in anything. And ONE conference championship doesn't make you a powerhouse. EIGHT in a row, perhaps, but one, give me a break.

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Stephen Johnson 1 year, 6 months ago

I don't hate K-State. I cheered for them against OU. I can never cheer for MU. Never. I do get sick of some KSU fans, but like an obnoxious little brother. I want us to win, but not as passionately as I want to beat MU if and when we face them

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phogphan2000 1 year, 6 months ago

In basketball KU needs a consistent OOC rival, someone like UCLA. In general though I'd love to see KU playing UCLA home and home or neutral in Vegas or in different venues, something along those lines every year. Obviously it'd be nice to go back to an annual game against UK, but probably not gonna happen. Another team it'd be interesting to start home and homes with is NC State. They are on the up and up, and forming a rivalry with them would help open up NC to recruiting. I also doubt Duke and UNC would be happy about NC St having the draw of an annual game against KU. If Baylor can keep up the recruiting and start challenging for Big12 titles maybe a rivalry will develop. If Texas can put together some more good years the foundation is there for bball rivalry.

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scraptown 1 year, 6 months ago

Just helping you develop your rivalry hatred, but seriously, k-state fans,and all college sports fans view ku as a one trick pony, a very loud one trick pony. Also, k-state had the most profitable athletic department in the nation last year and dominated ku at all sports except basketball, which they split. So chill out, the game will be here soon, we're all looking forward to it.

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offline 1 year, 6 months ago

Kansas ST. will grind KU into the ground like they usually do, then coverup the hole. Don't look now but, KST. is putting a good one on KU in basketball.

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scraptown 1 year, 6 months ago

The brotherhood if these schools is like Tom Cruise (kansas state) and Dustin Hoffman (KU) In the movie rainman. Sure, Hoffman's character is good at one thing, but has no earthly idea how to do anything else, cannot function outside of his comfort sone, and is obnoxious.

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Mike Barnhart 1 year, 6 months ago

Those posters that "root" for KSU except when they play KU are PART OF THE PROBLEM! You can't do that and here's why; Let's say KU beats K-State this weekend but goes 2-9 this season. In turn, KSU finishes the season 11-1 and wins a BCS championship! Is that good? Are you HAPPY! Heck no!!!

Any success KSU has just puts us further behind in the battle for Kansas. Shame on you if you wish them well ... EVER!

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Mangino_Maniac 1 year, 6 months ago

Does Ragone have to be mentioned and/or quoted in every other football article?

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Tony Bandle 1 year, 6 months ago

I think that the memories of Missouri will fade with time as the encounters with Kansas State continue and therefore proportionally intensify, especially as new KU classes come and go without the actual contact with Missouri.

Missouri will always be Enemy Number One in absentia but Kansas State will grow to be Enemy Number One[A}.......just wait and watch!!!

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scraptown 1 year, 6 months ago

Kansas state university is the older institution, so it's not technically the little brother.

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Patrick Leiker 1 year, 6 months ago

Well, I guess KSU is our rival now. Goddamnit Missouri.

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jayhawkintx1973 1 year, 6 months ago

Just a bit of Big 12 News. TCU QB Pachall has been indefinitely suspended from playing football at TCU for DWI on October 3rd, 2012. This is his second run in with team violations. Last year Pachall failed a drug test after the investigation into several players dealing illegal substances and Pachall admitted to smoking Marijuana.

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Keith Hummel 1 year, 6 months ago

I know some of you were still pooping your diapers when this happened, but no self-respecting Jayhawk fan should ever forgive or forget this:

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Reuben_J_Cogburn 1 year, 6 months ago

These people are pure evil and have unwaivering hatred for us.

I don't care about our record, failures or incompetancies. Give them all they can handle and more. Win or lose...make them earn it. And any of you that fell off the HCCW bandwagon, dig deep and remember why you're a Jayhawk in the first place.

Don't lose hope. Don't give up. And remember, regardless of the odds, the pressure is all on KState. We have nothing to lose, and that makes us dangerous.

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pocorio 1 year, 6 months ago

If KU played Haskill this weekend KU would be a strong three point favorate but the smart money would take Haskill and the three points. I think it will be a basketball score like 42 zip KSU.

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741hawk 1 year, 6 months ago

It will never be the same. Dad taught me . . . We are all Kansans. We only root against KSU when we are playing them. We hope Missouri loses EVERY game!

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Tony Bandle 1 year, 6 months ago

Interesting facts: Overall record, Kansas leads 64-40-5. Kansas has winning records on both fields, although only by a couple of games at KSU. * In the last eight years, the record is 4-4.

Not so interesting facts: In the last 21 years, Kansas State is up 16-5 over Kansas. KSU has won the last 3 in a row. * The average score for the last three seasons has been 44-13 [Ouch!!]

Miracles happen, but I am afraid the Jayhawks didn't make it over to France to dip their toes in the miracle waters of Lourdes, so it could be a long afternoon.....yet, anything can happen. Just ask the '69 Baltimore Orioles, the '80 USSR Olympic Hockey Team or the Super III Baltimore Colts. [Wow, Baltimore had a bad four months!!]

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nckujayhawk 1 year, 6 months ago

The KU-MU rivalry is dead! You can't have a rivalry with an opponent you don't play. The KU KSU rivalry needs to become more important in the minds of all jayhawks. Healthy rivalry games generate attention that goes beyond the field and court. They create a lore, passion and tradition of which fans, media, and recruits want to be involved. KU-MU is over. KU needs a new rival, and something to get excited and care about or nobody will care at all.

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Robert Brown 1 year, 6 months ago

My take on the rivalries:

K-State- little brother- I want to beat him when I play him, but want him to do well otherwise, as long as it does not adversely impact KU.

Missouri- the loud mouth annoying jerk- I always want to beat him and always cheer against him. Do not want him to ever be successful unless it helps us, like maybe beating Texas in basketball when KU and UT are in a tight conference race.

Texas- arrogant and obnoxious- love to see them fall and give K-State credit for dominating them in football. I don't think KU has ever beaten UT in the Big 12 era. Paradoxially, I blame them as much for the instability of the conference than anyone but they are also the reason the conference is now in good shape. I have sometimes cheered for MU over UT.

Other members of the Big 12 do not register as a rival. We have a history with OU, OSU and ISU. All three have had short periods of being a rival in basketball. OU hardly recognizes KU as a football opponent and OSU and ISU were always afterthought in football in the Big 8 and Big 12, notwithstanding OSU's recent success

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MartyrMangino 1 year, 6 months ago

NebraskaJayhawk: "Beat Klein...you beat K-State."

Take the fugger out!

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Bradly Moore 1 year, 6 months ago

You guys that put so much on the Mizzou game are the reason we have been dominated by them for the last 20 years. Would rather beat the belt buckles than mizzou any day.

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Mike Barnhart 1 year, 6 months ago

I don't hate Silo Tech! I don't hate sh*t kickers! I don't hate purple! I don't hate Keitzman! I HATE GETTING HUMILIATED BY AN INFERIOR INSTITUTION!!!

It's wrong! We're Jayhawks! We've got to get this under control!

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Robert Brock 1 year, 6 months ago

When will KU be on par with K-State in football? I will guess the year - 2028. Bet on it.

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Andy Tweedy 1 year, 6 months ago

I just don't hate these guys! I don't like them, but I really don't hate them. Misery on the other hand...OMG, I hate those dude!!!!

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Janet Scott 1 year, 6 months ago

Will the KU at KSU game in Manhattan feature at halftime a parade of the latest model manure spreaders, fully loaded with the fresh stuff?

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BleedCnB 1 year, 6 months ago

Nobody can hate little brother as much as Meth_zuo.......K-Suck fan can claim they are a rival, but reality smacks the goat lovers in the face once again.

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KCJay 1 year, 6 months ago

KU-KSU is an intrastate rivalry. It always has been. However, we're on the same side when it comes to mizzery. We left that slave state and came to the great FREE state of KANSAS. We're all part of that transition! In fact, I pull for them when we aren't playing them. I rooted for them against OU and I will be on their side when they play Texas. Our biggest rivalry in basketball is Texas. I'm not feeling that innate hatred like that of mizzery. I hope the media doesn't try to create one. Let it be what it is and not try to make it something it isn't. The media destroyed the rivalries and now they are feeling guilty and are trying to fabricate new ones. They don't know the first thing about what a true rivalry is. Time and history creates rivalries!

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Hurinfan 1 year, 6 months ago

Eff Mizzou I don't care about KSU. My hatred and real rivalry will always be against Mizzou.

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