Tuesdays on The Salute

Tuesdays on The Salute

Photo: KStateSports.com

I love the Thanksgiving week Sunflower Showdown. I know I said it last year and I know not everyone shares my belief, but I think it’s fantastic. There are two reasons I think it should stay: new fans and the rivalry aspect.

What do I mean by new fans? If you pay much attention to K-State Athletic social media or the Alumni Association, you’ll see there are Wildcat fans all over the country. Saturday morning was filled with retweets of various Catbacker Club watch parties. Obviously, those parties were designed for people that could not attend the game. It made me realize how many K-State fans are scattered across the country. I assume a good deal of those people are originally from Kansas and potentially return to see family over Thanksgiving. Those people (myself included) get a rare chance to be within a short driving distance of K-State football. As evidenced by the 53,439 fans in attendance, many took advantage of the chance. For some it’s the only game they’ll see in person all year. Granted, those alumni aren’t new fans, but their children could be. My kids aren’t at a place where they’re ready to go to a stadium for a 3+ hour long game, but soon they will be. I don’t know how they could enter Bill Snyder Family Stadium and not fall in love with the experience of Wildcat football.

10587158As for the rivalry, the Sunflower Showdown belongs on that weekend. Conference realignment has destroyed many rivalries. Case in point, all the pseudo-rivalry games this weekend, like Iowa/Nebraska, Missouri/Arkansas, and Utah/Colorado. Heck, people have even made up the Riot Bowl between Iowa State and West Virginia. At this point, Kansas is our only true rival. I know we hate Baylor and love to own Texas, but they have their own rivals. The same is true of Oklahoma where the Cats rank behind Texas and Oklahoma State (maybe still Nebraska) on their rivalry list. Even the Jayhawks no longer have Mizzou.

At this point the game merely lacks the notoriety of the others played on Thanksgiving weekend. It trails the Iron Bowl, FSU vs Florida, Michigan vs. Ohio State, and this year even the Egg Bowl. This may sound crazy, but it would be nice if the Jayhawks were good enough to generate national attention. Could you imagine if the 1995 game was on Thanksgiving weekend. KU was ranked #6 while KSU was #14. Could you imagine the hype? College Gameday might even give it a full segment of conversation! That 1995 game wasn’t much of contest as the Wildcats ripped the Jayhawks 41-7.

I know many season ticket holders do not like the game because they either have to cut travel plans short or simply miss the game. Realignment has torn apart college football, but this rivalry remains in tact. It can become a great tradition if we embrace it (and if the Jayhawks stop being so terrible).

Go Cats! Beat Baylor!

About The Author

Seth is a 2000 graduate of the A.Q. Miller School of Journalism at Kansas State. While in Manhattan he wrote for the Kansas State Collegian, reported for the Wildcat 91.9 and interned at KSNT-TV in Topeka. He teaches now, but still play with his journalism degree. Living in the middle of Missouri makes it harder to follow the Cats, but he wears enough purple to draw stares at the grocery store. Follow him on Twitter at @catbacker77

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