Jim Sterk, Jeff Long did a great job bringing back Mizzou-Kansas basketball. Let’s do the same for football
Mizzou fans needed some good news this week after dropping a game in inexplicable fashion at Vanderbilt on Saturday. They got that good news in unexpected form, as it was announced that the Mizzou-Kansas Border War men’s basketball rivalry had been renewed.
The Tigers and Jayhawks will play for 6 consecutive seasons, starting next year. The first game will be played in Kansas City. Then, the series will alternate between Lawrence and Columbia the next 4 years before wrapping up in Kansas City.
Kansas AD Jeff Long (in his second year with the Jayhawks) and Mizzou AD Jim Sterk deserve a lot of credit for moving on from the pettiness that has kept these schools from playing each other.
While a return to the court is welcome news for Tiger fans, there is something that would be even sweeter — a chance to play the Jayhawks on the gridiron again.
The fierce rivals haven’t played in football since 2011, when Mizzou won its 3rd consecutive game over the Jayhawks at Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City, 24-10.
The problem with football is that the Tigers have their nonconference schedule filled every year until 2026. Kansas has openings starting in 2022, but the Jayhawks are already playing Duke and Houston in nonconference play and might not want to schedule a second Power 5 team.
Both teams have openings starting in 2026, though, so perhaps that should be the target date for the renewal of the Border War football rivalry. Yes, that’s still 7 years away, but hey, it’s better than nothing.
Then, we can get back to the days when those were the most important games of the year for each school. It should even be the final matchup of the year for both teams.
In the SEC, Florida ends with Florida State, Georgia finishes with Georgia Tech, South Carolina ends with Clemson and Kentucky finishes against Louisville. Therefore, it isn’t unprecedented to make this the last game for Mizzou and Kansas if the two sides can agree to play again.
Heck, Arkansas fans always insists they don’t have a rivalry with Mizzou (and indeed, it hasn’t been much of a contest, as the Tigers have won 7 of the 10 meetings, including 4 of 5 since entering the SEC), so we can safely assume they won’t miss the Battle Line game.
Who knows where the Jayhawks and Tigers will be in 2026? Will it be on par with the 2007 game? Chase Daniel. Todd Reesing. Gary Pinkel. Mark Mangino. Or, will it be more like some of the other years when neither team was ranked but still gave each other a tough test?
Who cares? The important thing will be getting the teams back on the field together.
It’s been a long time since common sense ruled the day at Kansas, but Long is already doing some good things in Lawrence. That is a welcome sign after the former Kansas regime.
The return of the basketball rivalry game is a great start, and Long and Sterk deserve a round of applause for bringing back an important game for the region. Now, let’s focus on getting the football rivalry back in 2026!
(Let this be a lesson to you, too, Texas A&M and Texas. Hurt feelings can and should be set aside for the good of the fans.)