Gary Pinkel’s right: It’s time for MU and KU to play again

07/21/2014 9:37 PM

07/21/2014 9:39 PM

Hurray for Gary Pinkel: The University of Missouri head football coach wants to play the University of Kansas on the gridiron.

“It would be great,” he said Monday on ESPN’s SportsCenter.

And last week, Pinkel said much the same thing: “I wish we were still playing Kansas. I’d like to think that we’d get together and get that game going again.”

So the storied football rivalry is getting closer to resuming, right?

Well, not so fast.

Many Jayhawk fans — and to be clear, as a KU grad, I am not one of them — still harbor grudges against MU for leaving the Big 12 and going to the football-superior Southeastern Conference.

That’s resulted in a silly feud that needs to wither away, the sooner the better.

College sports too often is driven by the all-mighty dollar. Everyone gets that these days. That’s why MU left, in large part. And it’s why KU stayed in the Big 12, to be in a safe harbor with rivals that attract big-time money to the conference, such as the universities of Texas and Oklahoma.

But fans of the Jayhawks and Tigers over the decades were part of what’s reported to be the second-most played rivalry in Division 1 history. The games played at Arrowhead were well attended and spirited. They brought attention to both schools, especially in the Midwest.

MU has a far better record than KU in football in recent years. Pinkel’s “invitation” to resume the rivalry is notable because it would allow the Jayhawks to get a chance to knock off a superior squad.

In other words, there’s not a lot of reason from a purely competitive reason for MU to want to play KU.

But Pinkel — more so than some KU “fans” — gets it: The two schools had a rivalry that was meaningful in the past to many, many people on both sides of the state line.

It can be meaningful again, if officials at both schools will grow up and play each other.

To reach editorial columnist Yael T. Abouhalkah, call 816-234-4887 or send email to abouhalkah@kcstar.com. Twitter @YaelTAbouhalkah.

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