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?