Coach Marshall has said, nothing about our program is mid-major, not how we travel, not our facilities, nothing. I will agree with all that to a single point, and that single point is that we have no major rivalry game or games each year. The closest game you could go with would be Creighton, and in all fairness, Creighton is a rival. However, is there a name of the rivalry? Is there a trophy handed back each year to the team who wins? Not that I know of. I’m a huge fan of college football, and being an alumnus at the time I went to school at WSU, we did not have football, so I always felt that I was robbed of a little college experience. I won’t go off on a tangent about how we need football, I promise, but it does relate to my point about having annual basketball games with Kansas and K-State.
The beauty of college football is the pageantry, the years of tradition that have established bitter hatred between two teams. So much so that a team’s fan base can have a losing season, and it all be saved by beating that one rival team. Trophies are passed back and forth between the victors, and the team has bragging rights for 365 days. We need that type of rivalry at Wichita State, and we can have it in the form of basketball rivalries. We need to have an annual rivalry game with both KU and K-State.
There is absolutely no reason for this to not happen. I’ve heard KU fans say for the longest time “There is no upside for KU to play WSU.” I find that hard to believe. WSU finished the season with an RPI of 36. How would that hurt you if you happened to lose to WSU? It wouldn’t. I doubt that come Selection Sunday, KU would be passed over because of a loss to WSU. There is no downside to either team, to avoid playing this game. Bragging rights for the rest of the year. I’ve heard from friends that WSU couldn’t hold KU’s jockstrap if we played. Well its time to play, and put your jockstrap where your mouth is. I’d propose to make this a big time rivalry, with a trophy, and even name it. I’m sure there are people out there that could come up with a good name, JayShock Shootout, Kansas Cup, etc. etc. The beauty of the rivalry would be to make it a neutral site game, where we alternate years playing at the Intrust Bank Arena, and the Sprint Center. Both schools split the profit each year. It is a win/win for both teams.
Why K-State and WSU stopped playing each other is beyond me. But I remember being a kid, and going to Henry-Levitt and watch K-State play WSU, and it was always a great game to watch. Back then both teams were pretty bad, and our seasons were both meaningless. No post season for either team, but it always seemed that when we played, both teams would turn it up a notch. I don’t necessarily want to make this a rivalry with a trophy or name, or anything overtly special, but I do think its in the benefit for both teams to play each year. Rivalries are what make sports amazing, and it would make the beginning of each team’s season that much more enjoyable.