The thing is, it took Kansas so long to get here, to get to a point where it can beat Kansas State with some regularity and take some pride in the notion that football isn't just a way to bide time until the basketballs start bouncing in Lawrence.
In the nine KU-KSU games played from 1995 through 2003, Kansas State outscored the Jayhawks 429-75. And brother, K-State fans loved that.
Bill Snyder owned Kansas — the state, not the university. Beating KU was just a part of the big picture for the Cats, one that regularly included 10- and 11-win seasons and appearances in bowl games you've actually heard of.
For a while there, it looked like Snyder's stranglehold on Kansas — the university, not the state — would never be relinquished.
Then, in 2004, coming off three losses in which it was outscored 146-12, KU beat Kansas State 31-28 in Lawrence. It was Mark Mangino's third year as coach and K-State was slipping, but it didn't matter. Kansas had done the unthinkable.
And now we're at a point where Kansas has won four of the past five meetings, including three in a row over Ron Prince. Remember him?
Just three weeks ago, no one fathomed Kansas wouldn't run its winning streak over the Wildcats to four.
They're fathoming that now.
The Kansas-Kansas State game will be played today and nobody — I mean nobody — knows what to expect. Don't kid yourselves; even if you think you know what to expect, you don't.
Kansas is slumping, having lost three in a row. The Jayhawks are out of sync offensively and quarterback Todd Reesing is in the biggest rut of his career, having passed for only 405 yards and one touchdown in the past two games.
It got so bad in the fourth quarter last week at Texas Tech that Mangino benched Reesing in favor of Kale Pick, who has one of the worst names a quarterback could ever have.
Reesing benched? More on that later.
Meanwhile, K-State is rolling. The Wildcats were even able to bring away more positives than negatives from a loss last week at Oklahoma and lead the Big 12 North. After a daunting start, K-State has settled in to being a pretty good football team — solid offensively, defensively and on special teams.
In fact, I suspect more people than not are picking K-State to win today, and for good reason. Still, it's a head scratcher to think we're at this point this soon.
Has KU really slipped so far, so fast? Is Kansas State really as improved as it appears?
Nothing that happens today will surprise me unless the Wildcats dominate from start to finish. That would shock me.
Which brings me back to Reesing, who is the key player today.
He obviously didn't turn cartwheels upon his benching last week in Lubbock and while he has said all the right things when asked about it this week, you just know he's ready to take somebody's head off.
Mangino has caught flak for the decision to sit Reesing, but I think it was a brilliant move. The Jayhawks were struggling, Reesing was being chased and often caught by Texas Tech defenders and by the time he went to the sideline, the game had been decided.
What was there to gain by leaving Reesing in? Maybe — maybe — he would have gotten the offense going and regained some confidence.
It seems to me, though, that Reesing needed a jolt to bring him back to being one of the most dangerous and prolific quarterbacks in the country.
Reesing will play today with a chip on his shoulder. He's mad and he's got something to prove and while that might be detrimental for a younger, less-experienced quarterback, Reesing will, I suspect, put his anger to good use.
He's the wild card in this game. Without a running game — KU backs Jake Sharp and Toben Opurum have combined for 166 yards and 3.2 yards per carry during the three-game losing streak — Reesing has had to shoulder too much of the load.
It shows. KU's offense has become too easy to predict and defend. Even so, it would be foolish to think Reesing doesn't have a few surprises in store for the Wildcats.
K-State has the momentum and the home turf. KU has an irritated quarterback and all-around better players.
A K-State win today changes things. It wouldn't necessarily mean the Cats have the better program, or that they'll embark on another string of wins over KU.
But it would put an emphatic stamp on Snyder's return and help, at least some, K-State's recruiting efforts in Kansas.
Don't kid yourselves, K-State for years loved being the top dog in this state, rolling up one lopsided win over KU after another and then bragging about it to the state's best high school players.
The Jayhawks stopped the bleeding with that win in 2004, then went on to turn the tables. Four wins in five years make this KU's state, at least for a few more hours.
Anything could happen today. I think K-State wins, 24-20. But I'm not locked in.