The Border War is set to end in 2012 and it's not hard to find cries that the longtime rivalry between Kansas and Missouri should continue. This weekend's game showed just how great the contests can be when both teams are competitive and many hope to see both teams putting forward a hand to shake on some sort of continuation even after Missouri leaves for the SEC while KU remains in the Big 12.
But that's not going to happen anytime soon. Bill Self and the KU administration have not capitulated to such suggestions like Missouri has and Seth Davis says that's for good reason. No matter what local reasons are thrown out there, the Kansas brand simply doesn't need a rivalry with Missouri to make good on its reputation or ability to compete for recruits and rankings. Davis writes:
If Missouri is going to convince Kansas to change its mind, it's going to have to overcome more than just the hurt feelings of a jilted lover. The hard truth is, Missouri needs this game significantly more than Kansas does. The Jayhawks have won three national championships and have been to 13 Final Fours. Missouri has never even been to one. Kansas can recruit on a national scale, while Missouri has to focus on the Midwest. If injected with truth serum, I'll bet Haith would tell you the move to the SEC is making his job harder. So why would Self do something that will only make it easier?
Besides, it's not like Kansas has trouble scheduling nonconference games. The Jayhawks still have two years left in the Champions Classic that will rotate them with Kentucky, Duke and Michigan State. They are a perennially plum choice for all the major Thanksgiving and Christmas week tournaments. Their decision to participate in an intersectional matchup guarantees that it will be broadcast on ESPN or CBS. If Kansas agreed to play Missouri, it would be providing the Tigers with a national platform they currently lack. Hard to see the upside in that for the Jayhawks.
Davis is right in terms of the bigger picture, although there are some fans who hate to see the rivalry end. For the short term, the Border War's inevitable end is a sad moment and will be mourned by many. In the process, Self and the rest of the KU admin could seem heartless or, at the very least, stubborn like a spurned lover. Yet the interest of the SEC and Kansas' consistency in the win column will be enough to move everyone along. Missouri has to hope they aren't left wishing they hadn't made the move after all.