Big 12 LogoAs basketball season heats up, and conference games lead to big rivalries, I have noticed that fans on both sides of the court sometimes get a little cranky. There is nothing wrong with a little friendly banter, but we need to remember that we are all just people, and, even though we may think some made horrible life choices, we should all be civil and kind in our interactions. To help everyone along, I have come up with some conversation helpers for when you are interacting with other Big 12 fans.


Baylor fans are generally great people, who have a humility and grace about them. Whether they win or lose, they are usually happy to have a chat. The best way to recover from a lull in conversation with a Baylor Bear is to find something you both like, such as beer, and say, “Sic ’em beer!” Conversation re-boot is immediate. And if all else fails, there is always your mutual dislike of KU.

Iowa State

I will admit, back in my Kilt Guy days, I had a great reception from Iowa State fans, so I have never had trouble coming up with a friendly way to engage these folks. I know, right now there is some sting to our relationship, but remember they are very much like us. They are a land-grant school, we were the first land-grant school. They have a great agriculture and veterinary school, we have amazing agriculture and veterinary schools. Conversation will be easy, and if you find it difficult to find common ground, just rely on your mutual dislike of KU.

Oklahoma State

First of all, if my google image search is representative of OSU fans, than about 85% are highly attractive women. So if you are a dude, conversation should be easy (or difficult, depending on your ability to speak with attractive women….so in my case, difficult…). Barring this, I find OSU fans among the easiest in our conference to have a conversation with. Sure they love their team, and the state of Oklahoma, but they are not mean or pushy about it. Just be careful not to accidentally call them Sooners, and you should be fine. And of course, you could always discuss your mutual dislike of KU.

Texas Tech

This is a team whose fans I have honestly never had much contact with. They have the added obstacle of being from Texas. But there is always something nice that can be discussed. Like how they can be glad they are not Texas Longhorns, or your mutual dislike for KU.



Now we are getting into a tougher realm. Oklahoma fans can be tough to talk to. If they are  winning or have just won, they are unbearable, and will try to tell you that Oklahoma always wins at everything. If they are losing or have just lost, they will go into great detail about all the reasons why this game was a fluke. The best way to keep the conversation friendly is to ask them about their team. Yes, it means less talking about the Cats, but really, they probably won’t listen anyway, so humor them. Also, you could discuss your mutual dislike of KU.


This is another team that according to Google seems to have an overabundance of female fans, though far more scantily clad than OSU fans. Probably because it is so warm in Texas. Anyway, this can be another difficult group of fans to converse with. Some great conversation starters are: “So, how is Matthew McConaughey”, or “Have you ever actually been hooked by horns, because that sounds like it would hurt.” Try to avoid statements like, “Man, every year you help us remember that we own Texas.” If you should accidentally say that, quickly laugh and change the subject to your mutual dislike of KU.

West Virginia

Remember when speaking with a West Virginia fan that they are new to the conference, and we want to make them feel welcome. Having spent a significant amount of time in WV, I have a special place in my heart for the people and the area, and can vouch that the people of West Virginia in general are great people. This past football season we had some tough interactions with WVU fans, so remember that tension may still exist. Maybe start off easy with, “So, do you think Huggie’s heart will make it through the season?”, reminding them that we too have had Huggins on our sideline. Avoid rude accents and cousin jokes, they are old and outdated. Instead, introduce them to some great jokes with KU at the butt of them, since soon you will both have a mutual dislike for KU.

Texas Christian

Again, not much to say about these newbs. It might be difficult to find common ground, so you might want to go with a subject that I find always gets the convo rolling. I am speaking of course of the Hadron Collider. Whether they are for or against the possible destruction of all mankind in the name of scientific progress will tell you both a great deal about each other. Then, steer the conversation towards the question of “If you could reverse matter to get rid of just one university in the Big 12 which would you choose?” By now, they should have a mutual dislike of KU, and you can both have a good laugh.


This brings us to KU. The toughest of them all. You might try talking about how we are both from Kansas, and both teams should be happy to do well. You might try to steer the conversation towards politics, religion, or some equally easy topic, but the fact is there are going to be awkward pauses and he or she will no doubt keep reminding you how great they are at basketball. Don’t worry. They can’t help themselves. Keep it civil, keep it short, that is a rule you will have to live by. And who knows, maybe if you do make a real connection you will find that deep, deep down, even KU fans have a mutual dislike for KU.

Whoever you are talking to, keep the conversation classy my friends.

About The Author

John graduated from K-State in 2007 with a History degree. He's currently a law student and dreams of the day when he can both practice law AND be a regular game attender. He has a passion for human rights, Tallgrass Buffalo Sweat, and anything Joe Posnanski writes. Follow him on Twitter at @Creagarmania.

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