Blog Entry

Living in the Big Doughnut Hole

Posted on: October 5, 2011 11:29 am
Edited on: October 6, 2011 10:22 am

KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Welcome to the Big Doughnut Hole.

This used to be the center of the college universe. At least one of them. This city still has hosted more Final Fours (10) than any other. It's a Chiefs town first and a Jayhawks town second. Most of all, it's a melting pot with a sizable amount of Iowa State, Nebraska, Missouri alums here as well.

We have the NFL and Major League baseball (barely) but it's a college town more than anything. A better college town than New York or L.A. We are connected by our teams and events. They give us our sense of self.

The annual Big 12 basketball tournament is a gathering place to drink, gossip and people watch. The Missouri-Kansas football game at Arrowhead is an event that traces its roots back to the Civil War. Kansas, and all its basketball history, is 40 miles away. Bill Snyder is still working miracles down the road at Kansas State.

But with Missouri declaring its intentions to look around on Monday night, suddenly there is no center here. Just a big hole where that gathering place used to be. You can feel it. To the right of us, probably soon, will be the SEC (Missouri);  a short three-hour drive to the north of us is the Big Ten (Nebraska). To our left will be what's left of the Big 12 (Kansas and Kansas State).

Kansas City could become a great staging area for GameDay's equipment semis in the Midwest, but for the actual college experience, it's slipping away. The Big 12 tournament is now in danger. It will continue, somewhere. But it has to be hard to anchor a conference tournament in a state where the league has no teams.

The Kansas-Missouri rivalry is now in danger too. That's another shame. After the Iron Bowl and the Red River Rivalry, it is the best.

A few years ago, they moved MU-KU football to Arrowhead Stadium and it became a spectacle. In 2007, No. 2 Kansas lost to No. 3 Missouri and the Tigers became No. 1. ABC/ESPN still counts the game among its most highly-rated in history.

But like that Wicked Witch, it's all melting away. I know this because Bill Self didn't hold back Tuesday when Missouri declared its intentions

Kansas' basketball coach told the Lawrence Journal-World that the MU-KU series may be over.

" ... I don't think I would be interested in having a once-a-year game like I did when I was at Illinois, playing Missouri," Self said. "I could probably change my mind (but) trust me, we would have no trouble finding a non-league game to play.

"I love the rivalry .. but I can't imagine why would we continue playing?"

Which is sad because the basketball series goes back to 1907. The football series goes back to the 1890s. Kansas, like a lot of folks in Kansas City and the Big 12, are upset at Missouri. By taking its ball to the SEC, it would be impacting that Big 12 tournament. It would damage the Kansas rivalry.

Point being: Why put money in Missouri's pocket by playing a non-conference game?

"I have no ill will toward Missouri at all," Self said, "but to do something at a time that could be so damaging and hurtful to a group, I can't see us just taking it and forgetting ."

If this is truly the end , then someone may want to hire extra security for what could be the final regular-season Border War game in history -- Feb. 25 in Lawrence. Forget the fans for a moment, there are scores of sportswriters who would shed tears over the end of this epic rivalry.

We are losing that sense of self here in Cowtown. Clearly, Missouri administrators don't care. The SEC doesn't care. The networks will continue to televise games. They don't care.

Conference realignment goes on unabated. Traditional rivalries are being cut down like rainforests. Our natural habitat is being destroyed. Is this a good thing for college athletics? No, that's not really the point.

Interim Big 12 commissioner Chuck Neinas called modern conferences "scheduling opportunities" and "amalgamations". I called them "content farms."

Now it's hitting home. It would suck to be a doughnut hole.



Since: Dec 14, 2009
Posted on: October 5, 2011 1:17 pm

Living in the Big Doughnut Hole

This used to be the center of the college universe. At least one of them. This city still has hosted more Final Fours (10) than any other. It's a Chiefs town first and a Jayhawks town second. Most of all, it's a melting pot with a sizable amount of Iowa State, Nebraska, Missouri alums here as well.

How could you not include K-State in that sentence? There are more K-State alums here than Iowa State or Nebraska alums. The local media covers K-State at least as much as Missouri. The shops are filled with K-State gear, the bars with K-State fans, the cars with K-State stickers. K-State has been playing at least one regular season basketball game at Sprint Center every year and has played regular season football games at Arrowhead. Certainly KU is more popular here, but K-State is not far behind.

Since: Aug 31, 2011
Posted on: October 5, 2011 1:07 pm

Living in the Big Doughnut Hole

Kansas city is a college basketball town at best.  There is the big 12 tournament for basketball here but that is a huge advantage for Kasas because they are so close.  As far as any other college sports, most kansas fans forget they have any other sports.  I do agree with Self (just threw up in my mouth after saying that) that there is no reason to continue to play this if Missouri leaves the big 12.  I don't know why they would wait for the big 12 to calm down a little bit to look to move.  Maybe they are just weighing their options..but why now? why not a month or 2 ago?

Since: Jul 14, 2008
Posted on: October 5, 2011 1:06 pm

Living in the Big Doughnut Hole

Did you really just say that Kansas-Missouri is better rivalries than Ohio State/Michigan (American sports greatest rivalry), Army-Navy, Florida-Georgia, USC-Notre Dame, West Virginia-Pitt, and even Texas A&M-Texas?  You wonder why people stop reading and commenting on CBS' website.

Since: Jan 23, 2009
Posted on: October 5, 2011 12:57 pm

Living in the Big Doughnut Hole

I'm guessing that you don't live in Kansas City, so you probably missed the gist of what Dodd means.  He's not saying KC is a "college town" in the same sense as Madison, Lawrence, etc.  He's saying that KC has passion for college sports that is unique.  Go to Ann Arbor - it bleeds maize and blue - but that's to be expected.  Same with a lot of college towns.  But Kansas City isn't dominated by one team in the same way as a traditional college town.  Instead, there are pockets of fans from multiple schools who all love college sports.  People in KC care about college sports in a way that's unique for a larger city without an "anchor" college.  KC vs. NY is actually pretty illustrative.  In NY, people care more about the Jets/Giants/Knicks/Yankees than they do college sports.  In KC, it's the other way around.  People would much rather watch and talk college sports than anything else.  The Kansas-Missouri rivalry is a big part of that, and it just won't be the same if they're not in the same conference.  The Big 12 tournament will be relocated.  Kansas-Missouri at Arrowhead Stadium probably goes, too.  College sports would never be the same in KC if Missouri goes - that's Dodd's point.

Since: Oct 14, 2010
Posted on: October 5, 2011 12:49 pm

Living in the Big Doughnut Hole

Hey DaveDawgATL, you have to take the Aggies.  We don't want them and you don't have any trouble beating them.  The state of Texas was one of the Confederate states so there is some southerness if not southeasterness about having them. Mizzou has no such claim.  But their flirting with the SEC makes sense given they have always been on the border wondering if their sympathies lay with the North or South.  The value of football was never the issue, it seems to me, the value of the dollar is.  You make the case for A&M when you say their addition will lead to short-term financial gain. That's the pay-off in today's college football merry-go-round.

Since: Oct 14, 2010
Posted on: October 5, 2011 12:42 pm

Living in the Big Doughnut Hole

KCchiefs0321, if you are going to use such horrific grammar--writing "to" when you mean "too", ending sentences with prepositions--please don't begin your post with As a Mizzou alum who just graduated.  Of course you want us to look at content of your missive.  Your butchering of the English language and our prose is painful.  I am offended as a Missouri resident and more so as a person with an education.

Since: Oct 5, 2011
Posted on: October 5, 2011 12:35 pm

Mizzou + SEC = Bad Blind Date

Here's an interesting argument for adding Georgia Tech as the SEC's 14th member.  The part about protecting / enhancing the quality of the league's BRAND is spot on.  No offense, but Mizzou doesn't get the juices flowing down here in the South, which will translate and tarnish the value of the brand:

Adding Texas A&M and Missouri will lead to short-term financial gain, but in the long run, devaluing the SEC's southern football brand will negatively effect the bottom line.  I though Mike Slive and the SEC presidents were smarter than that.

Since: Apr 28, 2008
Posted on: October 5, 2011 12:27 pm

Living in the Big Doughnut Hole

Dodd: I'm not your biggest critic. It is largely inappropriate for the readers who pick apart minutiae in your columns and follow it with the obligatory "Your (sic) an idiot." But I am joining the fray this time. I promise to use a different derogatory term. I believe you are delusional. First: KC is not a college town when compared to college towns. You compare it to NY and LA, but that is so wildly inappropriate that it is a head shaker. This country's two most major, international, cosmopolitan cities are not as college town as KC? No. Neither is London (though it has Cambridge and Oxford over UMKC) nor Paris, Berlin, Tokyo, etc... Nobody would think to rank any of those for their college town-ness. Compared to college towns, KC is terribly low on the scale. See Madison, WI. Or San Luis Obispo, CA for a town whose entire impact is because of its college. Want an actual city? Berkeley is a city and a much, much richer college town environment. Despite the presence of KU hoop fans - the large majority of whom are on the Kansas side of the border and not in KC at all - does not make this seem anything like a college town. Second, the KU-MU rivalry is third in all-time importance? It can't be necessary to point out how bizarre that contention is. (Possibly even stranger is that you put Bama-Auburn as 2nd). So many examples are sure to flood in on this board that have more importance that I will leave it to them. Again, rather than be angry, I will just convey that these bizarre contentions are delusional. Lastly....We have survived the breakup of Oklahoma-Nebraska - though it was a slow withdrawl before a final punctuation - and somehow I think that the college football fan who was able to overcome that one will also overcome the rivalry between two programs who - regardless of current condition - have historically had almost no impact whatsoever on the national college football scene.

Since: Sep 2, 2007
Posted on: October 5, 2011 12:14 pm

Living in the Big Doughnut Hole

Just to let you know how important the Kansas - Missouri game is, i did not even know they were rivals.

Maybe in KC this game is important, but at the end, it does not get national attention or much viewership outside of KC.

Mizz is doing the right thing.  The Big 12 will eventuall dissolve and OK and Texas will be ok and as you seen their action earlier this year, they don't care what happens to the other Big 12 schools.  Not to mention...they will have their heads even more inflated now that they will claim they alone saved the Big 12 (all other members worship me!) 

If I was Mizz, i would get out while the getting was good too.  Or suffer looking for a home later once the arrogant 2 start flexing their conference muscles again or better yet, find themselves a new home.

Since: Sep 3, 2006
Posted on: October 5, 2011 12:01 pm

Living in the Big Doughnut Hole

As a Mizzou alum who just graduated I find this annoying.  Dodd, you always have blatant Mizzou homerism whenever you write anything about them, until yesterday.

As for KU, they are pissed that Mizzou might be leaving, and I would be to.  KU doesn't have the cards on the table and thats not something Mizzou should feel sorry for. Their football traditions lasted for about 4 months in 2007, and their football team simply won't allow them to hold the cards in the football driven realignment.

I lived in KC and KU basketball rules the town, which it its own is extremely annoying as a mizzou, chiefs, and royals fan; and it takes away from the football game when KU football is horrible.  The Royals are poised to take that town by storm, obviously you are a cardinals fan after your unabashed Brad Lidge calls last night.

If KU was smart they know they would be making plenty money by playing Mizzou every year. Whether it takes a few years for them to find a better conference and get over the fact that Mizzou pulled a rare one-upper, the rivalry will reignite.

Plus, there isn't even a guarantee that Mizzou is leaving the Big 9.  I could easily see something crazy like cuse/pitt leaving for the ACC where KU pairs up with Mizzou to push for the Big 10 or they could all end up being in the big 12, considering Mizzou's history of unlucky events. 

The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or