Oct 6, 2012; Manhattan, KS, USA; Kansas State Wildcats quarterback Collin Klein (7) makes a pass during a 56-16 win over the Kansas Jayhawks at Bill Snyder Family Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Scott Sewell-USA TODAY Sports

The Sunflower Showdown: A Kansas State Wildcat Quandary About Dominance

I have been a Kansas State Wildcat fan all my life.  I was born in 1983 and really began becoming a sports fan in the early Nineties.  So pretty much my entire life, the Sunflower Showdown pitting the Kansas State Wildcats against the Kansas Jayhawks pretty much means one thing: If it’s football it’s a win for K-State, if it’s basketball it’s a win for KU.  I am sure you have heard this response, “Wait until basketball/football season!”  I am not proud, but I have issued that response to Jayhawk fans before.  My question, which I hope will strike up talk in the comments section, is this: Would you fellow Wildcat fans, trade dominance in football to be more competitive in basketball?


To further understand the question, let’s look back at the problem.  Let’s look back the past twenty or so years.  In football, the Wildcats have beaten the Jayhawks 16 out 20 matchups, including an eleven-year run that started in 1993 and ended in 2004.  By the way, three of those four losses where during the beloved Ron Prince Era…  In basketball, (we all know where this is heading, sorry guys….) the last 50 matchups of the Sunflower Showdown, the Hawks are 47-3 against the Cats.  This included a stretch of 31 games from 1994 to 2005.  Ouch.


The “Bill Effect” is something strongly to consider to the lopsidedness of both sides of this series.  Bill Snyder and Bill Self are both widely recognized as two of the best collegiate coaches in the nation.  Both of these two men stress the meaning of beating their in-state rivals.  Let’s look at what these two have done against the opposing school.  Coach Snyder is 17-4 against the Jayhawks, losing 3 out 4 games when he first took over and was rebuilding the program.  Coach Self is currently 22-3 against the Wildcats.  In Frank Martin’s tenure, the rivalry in basketball peaked; grabbing two of those victories against Self, but Martin still went 2-9 against the Hawks.  In comparison, former Kansas football coach Mark Mangino went 4-4 against the Wildcats, including one win against Bill Snyder towards the end of his first tenure.


Consider this, if the games were divided evenly in their respected sports, would you be willing to lose some of that team’s prominence?  K-State has dominated the football series while becoming a football powerhouse in the Big 12 under Snyder.  KU has owned the series while owning the league the two decades years.  If these two leveled off would it change?  Would you trade some of those football wins if that meant a more middle of the pack football team?  I don’t think so, and I may have just answered my own question.  Something for us to consider when debating this quandary.  So fellow Wildcat fans, I want to hear your thoughts?  Would you trade football wins for a few basketball victories?

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Tags: Big 12 Big XII Kansas State Kansas State Basketball Kansas State Football Kansas State Wildcats Sunflower Showdown

  • Bruce Barrett

    Give KSU and KU equally matched recruiting classes for football and basketball every year and I’ll be happy.

  • Rcjk

    just stumbled upon this article and speaking as a KU fan i feel like this rivalry is a little forced because the two schools are the largest in our state and due to that we’re supposed to care about the other school. Which i don’t mind, but that’s one of the reasons i don’t like in-state rivalries. don’t get me wrong, i hate K-State, because of their “we got all sports BS” but it’s just not the same way i hated Mizzou, that was different. K-State always took a backseat to Mizzou (to me anyway) when the border war was still going on. and to be honest, most Kansans root for the other school during their dominant seasons (K-State for football and KU for basketball) because the rivalry is so lopsided the world would be thrown in chaos if K-State won the National championship in basketball and Kansas started getting good football (which i want to happen but realistically speaking probably won’t, maybe a couple wins but that’s it). but my point is i don’t think there is genuine hatred in this rivalry, it’s more like a “big brother-little brother” type thing. Michigan-Ohio State, Texas-Oklahoma and Florida-Georgia are all fanbases that truly hate each other but none of them are in-state rivalries because almost always one school is bigger and better than the other school (Oregon, Florida, Texas, etc.)

  • Powell

    It’s one thing for a team to elevate their game to the level of another (i.e. K-State basketball or KU football recruiting, competing and winning at a national level as the other does), and a completely different thing for the elite team to drop off and become mediocre. I’m bias, but I think K-State recently has done a better job of this, which is seen in winning the conference in both football and men’s basketball (and now baseball, 3MAW!!). I agree, KU was the better team overall in bball (3 wins over K-State and a sweet 16 appearance), but K-State still improved their team back to what it use to be and has risen closer to KU’s basketball program. KU football on the other hand has, well nothing really needs to be said. At least they’re headed in the right direction. I like with where we (K-State) are at. I always want to win and keep improving and building like any other fan/alum/donor/etc. However, to be realistic, K-State has done a great job. I mean c’mon, the trifecta!! I guess my choice is that I would not want to trade wins in football if it meant wins in basketball. I want to win in both, and that appears more and more possible, albeit still fairly far out of reach when consistently beating KU in basketball at the moment. But we’re much closer in bball then KU is in football, that is certain. Although things could always change either way.

  • Manhattan_Wildcat

    There is no chance that I would want to exchange football wins for basketball wins. I get my KU beat down fix in the fall and then when the rare Wildcat win over KU happens in basketball it’s even more special because we all know we don’t get the recruits KU does.

  • Cole R.

    If I were a KSU fan I wouldn’t give up anything to take less dominance off my football series with KU. When you’re only playing 12 or 13 given games a year, 1 loss can wreck your season. (i.e. Baylor game) In basketball two losses won’t kill your season even if it is two beat downs. With that said, it’s also how you favor each sport. Wildcat fans have adapted to cherish the fall/football more so they’re going to care more about football losses. Most Jayhawk fans have grown to soak up the glory on the hard court and look the other way on football losses. Football is the bigger money maker and builds more hype going into each game especially in Big 12 country.