To quote a World War II era ditty, "We did it before and we can do it again."
Missouri and Kansas fire up yet another installment of their storied rivalry today at Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City. In the interest of full disclosure, I'll remind readers that I'm a Mizzou alum and, therefore, not entirely fond of the University of Kansas athletics department as a whole.
I can tell you as a former MU Summer Welcome freshman orientation leader that the Mizzou/KU rivalry is something that is ingrained in the hearts of Tigers months before you first take that first symbolic walk through the columns or attend your first 500-person gen-ed lecture at Middlebush Auditorium.
We like to call it the oldest rivalry west of the Mississippi. And until last year -- when the No. 1 ranking was on the line and both teams were undefeated -- people weren't really aware that these two programs still fielded teams, much less that they were bitter rivals.
The stakes are a little lower tonight than last year's contest. Much lower, also, than the circumstances surrounding the origin of the rivalry. You can read the full story here, but in summation, it all has to do with slavery and some enterprising Missourians burning of the town of Lawerence.
KU can play spoiler tonight, a role that Missouri will fill next week. The Tigers' national title hopes went away a very long time ago, but fans are still hoping for a magical, memorable season. With its second straight trip to the Big 12 championship game already wrapped up, Mizzou has the opportunity to play spoiler to either Oklahoma or Texas Tech, depending on a number of factors outlined in the Houston Chronicle.
Missouri fans are chiming in with their usual fervor. From the MizzouRAH blog comes this encapsulating quote:
"I don't like a lot of things. I can't stand onions, geometry or college football analyst Brent Musberger. But there's probably only one thing I truly hate: The University of Kansas."
All this week at that blog, the authors have been providing daily vitriol, embarrassing KU-related video and less-than flattering photos of the men who frequent Lawerence, Ks. bars and the women who love them.
But the venom is much harder to track down on the Jayhawks' side.
This brings me to something I observed in college and maintain to this day: Missouri fans hate Kansas WAY more than Kansas fans hate Missouri.
With KU's basketball program completely eclipsing that of Missouri's -- especially in recent years -- all we really have left is football.
Kansas fans have a pesky way of always bringing numbers into any my-school-is-superior-to-yours conversation. Numbers like "zero" -- as in the amount of Final Four college basketball appearances Missouri has. And numbers like 2008 -- the year KU last won the national championship in said sport.
It's hard to make fun of a team for looking so silly while winning because, in the end, they win.
But Mizzou owns football -- barely. We're up 54-53-9 in the second-most played rivalry in college football history. The Tigers have taken the last two after losing three in a row to the Jayhawks.
So, for the sake of our ailing basketball program. For the sake of their thriving one, don't blow this one, Tigers. If this rivalry is to live on for Missouri and Kansas students for years to come, we must continue to own the Indian War Drum.
And, oh yes ... a bully for Old Mizzou!