After a thrilling end to a great rivalry, KU and MU fans are left with the good old "to play or not to play" argument. Look, we all know how most feel. MU fans want to keep the rivalry going and blame Kansas for ending the games. Kansas fans feel like MU shouldn't get that "privilege" after bailing on the Big 12 and that the school doesn't gain much from an economic standpoint. Fine, whatever, we have heard every argument by now.
Let me throw a little gasoline on the fire by saying this: nothing can be as big a KU-MU conference basketball game. KU constantly wins the league; MU has a history of being one of KU's only conference losses and making an occasional run at the league crown as well. Playing the games in November or December will never mean as much. Especially at a neutral site (but I'm also the guy who hated the idea of moving the football games to Arrowhead).
So let's just pretend for a minute that in a few years, or 20 years, KU and MU renew the rivalry and decide to play basketball again (we will worry about football another time). How can we jazz the game up? How can we make it super exciting? How can we capture a little bit of the high-stakes atmosphere we saw on Saturday?
Check out my ideas after the jump.
Option One - The Official Bad Blood Former Conference Foes Tournament Sponsored By Coke
Let's get Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska, Colorado, Texas A&M, and Texas. Throw them in a tournament, and let old rivalries play out. Put KU and Texas on opposite sides so they wouldn't play each other until the final. A lot of advantages here. For starters, we have all said for years how it is a shame we couldn't play Texas more than once a year due to the whole North-South dynamic. Well, now you could! Kansas and Missouri can play each other. Texas and Texas A&M can play each other. We all get cracks at Colorado and Nebraska for old time's sake. If you needed to add a team or two, you know Kansas State would join too, as would Oklahoma. Have the tournament be in Kansas City. This would be awesome, kind of like a weird former Big 12 tournament to kick the season off.
Option Two - The KU-MU Outdoor Classic at The Legends Presented By Bud Light
That's right, play an outdoor game on Sporting KC's turf. The game is in Kansas, surrounded by the Legends (you do know they just opened a Casino out there right) and would get a ton of coverage for being outdoors (like every other special circumstance game has over the past few years). You have the Legends atmosphere, seating for 22,000 or so, its outside, it is the start of college basketball season, etc. Now I know it might be too cold and weather could factor in, so maybe we develop some roof alternative. Still, I think this would be fun. Plus we could gamble afterwards.
Option Three - Play Missouri at the Sprint Center
I know; we don't want the game to be played in Missouri. Still, hard to find a more central location than Kansas City and the Sprint Center is a great place to play basketball. Surrounded by Power and Light, and you know this would be a huge draw every year. This one probably makes too much sense though so moving on.
Option Four - Start a Home-and-Home System
We play in Lawrence one year, and Columbia the next. Both schools are getting a very nice boost to their non-conference S.O.S., and we get all the passion that comes from the home arenas. I can't see Self and co. agreeing to travel to Columbia, but it is an option.
So, if you had to pick one scenario in which we play Missouri again in basketball, what would it be?