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Let’s hope this rivalry becomes competitive again someday soon

  • Published Thursday, Oct. 4, 2012, at 9:48 p.m.
  • Updated Saturday, Oct. 6, 2012, at 7:31 a.m.

It’s Kansas-Kansas State football week and what a week it is.

You think not? You think I’m disconnected when I make such a contention?

K-State, after all, has owned the Jayhawks, despite what KU defensive tackle Keba Agostinho thinks.

In a tweet this week — and hasn’t Twitter made the life of a sportswriter so much better? — Agostinho, the historian he is, wrote in part: “More like an A$$ whoopin than rivalry.”

He was referring to KU’s 65-39-5 all-time edge against Kansas State. But since Agostinho was born, the rivalry has taken a purple turn thanks to Bill Snyder, who is 16-4 against the Jayhawks.

Snyder, by the way, said something interesting on Twitter this week, too. OK, so maybe it wasn’t on Twitter. OK, so maybe Snyder has never heard of Twitter. But he did have a great take during his weekly news conference in Manhattan the other day.

Asked what he thinks about the interest that new Kansas coach Charlie Weis has in the KU-KSU rivalry, Snyder first said he wasn’t aware that anyone from KU ever wasn’t interested in the rivalry.

Then, this: “I always thought it meant a great deal to them, but I do not know the nature of that. I am pretty isolated here. I do not know about the outside world.…”

We have suspected such for a long time, but now we have an admission.

He sure knows about his world, though, most of which is located inside the confines of Snyder Family Stadium. Snyder’s Wildcats are 4-0 and ranked No. 7. They could conceivably be No. 5 when this weekend’s games are complete — provided, of course, K-State handles Kansas on Saturday in Manhattan.

Is the victor in this game a foregone conclusion?

I’m not sure I want to go there, but K-State is a resounding favorite. And that’s a shame, because KU-KSU is better for Kansas when the football games are competitive.

Not 1970s and 1980s competitive. Those games were, for the most part, just awful.

Unfortunately, only four of the past 17 KU-KSU games have been decided by nine points or less. And 11 of those games have had at least a 31-point margin. K-State lost three in a row to Kansas during the Ron Prince era — or is that Ron Prince error? — but Snyder has righted the K-State ship by winning three in a row, the last two by 52 and 38 points.

Give Weis credit for not shying away from the rivalry, one-sided as it has tended to be. One of the first things he talked about when he got the Kansas job was that he wanted to figure out a way to go after K-State and he reiterated that stance this week, albeit in a respectful way.

Weis even studied the history of Kansas-Kansas State football and zoned in on the Governor’s Cup, which goes to the winner.

“It’s important that your players understand what they’re playing for,” Weis said. “What they really want is, at the end of the game, they want the Governor to come into their locker room because it means they won and they want him to hand that Governor’s Cup to them.”

Weis is charged up for this contest, and more power to him. There’s nothing bigger athletically in this state than the Kansas-Kansas State rivalry. Now that Missouri is gone from the Big 12, it’s especially true.

During his news conference this week, Weis took 30 questions from reporters. It got so watered down that somebody asked him about the new contract extension that KU basketball coach Bill Self signed last week.

Weis doesn’t just give one- or two-word answers, either. He’s a talker and you know how much we in the media love talkers.

Snyder’s news conference was, well, let’s just say he didn’t entertain 30 questions. He was, as usual, to the point, with some of that occasional Snyder wit. He has often talked about how important the Kansas game is to him and his players and with a new coach on the opposite sideline, look for K-State’s intensity level to be especially high.

This is as much a turf war as it is a football game and K-State relishes its superiority in football. Prince was 2-0 against Texas during his three seasons at K-State, but 0-9 against KU, Missouri and Nebraska. That’s why his stay was three years.

Snyder, of course, has had his hands all over the Governor’s Cup during his K-State career.

K-State should keep the cup for another year; I don’t see how KU has enough to stay in this game on the road. But soon, hopefully, the competition on the field will match the intensity of the Kansas and K-State supporters who only tolerate one another.

If that.

Check Bob Lutz’s blog at blogs.kansas.com/lutz. Reach him at 316-268-6597 or blutz@wichitaeagle.com.

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