Off the Cuff: Border War, I Bid you Adieu

Posted on November 22, 2011


By Jeremy Sickel

The Border War is the moniker given to the intense rivalry between two universities planted squarely in the heart of our great country. The University of Missouri Tigers and the University of Kansas Jayhawks have a rich history matched by no other, due to their roots dating back to the Pre-Civil War Era. Missouri, then a slave state, spent a great deal of time in trying to persuade Kansas to enter the Union, similar to their own standing. Kansas refused, thus creating chaos that only intensified once the Civil War erupted.

The athletic rivalry didn’t begin until the two football programs met on October 31st, 1891; thus cementing itself as the second-most-played series in the history of college football. The overall series record is in dispute, but is either tied 55-55-9 or 56-54-9 in favor of Missouri; you can guess as to which side favors each outcome.

It is not the on-field results that make up the bulk of this rivalry’s magnitude. This rivalry is deeply entrenched within the hallowed grounds that helped fortify this great land that we are all blessed to call the United States of America. The games, at the time, are all that we are concerned with, but the verity of knowing that we will have them one after another, year after year, is the real muscle behind all of our heart-emptying cheers and jeers. We all either embrace the idea that “we will get ‘em next year” or have the entire span of the following calendar year to gloat, which is the driving force behind this machine.

Unfortunately for all that have a vested interest, this Saturday’s tilt at Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City between the Tigers and Jayhawks appears to be the last football game between the two programs for the foreseeable future; an uninspiring ending further dampened by Missouri’s down year and Kansas being historically awful this season.

Dissecting the grounds on which this rivalry is ending is an exercise in futility. Did Missouri’s careless handling of its departure from the Big 12 cause Kansas to not budge and save tradition and quite possibly the city of Kansas City too? That captures the problem in a nutshell, although it is rooted much deeper than that, akin to how the rivalry was originally born.

I previously alluded to the fact that the results of the games are hardly the focal point of this rivalry and that it is the voyage traveled that best signifies the impact with regards to the history between the two programs. But what happens when that road comes to an end?

Like it or not, we won’t have next game or season to look forward to. When we pour our hearts out in victory or defeat this time, there will not be another opportunity to reverse those emotions. Like the old cliché goes, us fans, like the players, will be forced to leave it all out on the field. We will simply be left with one outcome that will stick with us for the rest of our lives.

Contact Jeremy at and follow him on Twitter @kcpopflyboy 

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