The Full Wiki

Sunflower Showdown: Wikis


Note: Many of our articles have direct quotes from sources you can cite, within the Wikipedia article! This article doesn't yet, but we're working on it! See more info or our list of citable articles.


From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Comparison of the two universities

School Kansas Kansas State
Ownership Kansas Kansas
Location Lawrence Manhattan
Conference Big 12 Big 12
Students 30,004 23,581
School Colors Crimson & Blue Purple & White
Nickname Jayhawks Wildcats
Mascot(s) Big Jay, Baby Jay Willie the Wildcat
Football Stadium Memorial Stadium Bill Snyder Family Stadium
Basketball Arena Allen Fieldhouse Bramlage Coliseum
Baseball Stadium Hoglund Ballpark Tointon Family Stadium

The Sunflower Showdown is the series of athletic contests between Kansas State University and the University of Kansas, most notably football and men's basketball. The name is derived from the official nickname for the state of Kansas: the Sunflower State. In addition to being natural geographic rivals, both schools are members of the Big 12 Conference North Division, so they are guaranteed to play each other annually in all sports.

The two schools compete each year for the Governor's Cup in football. The football series dates back to 1902, and has been played every year since 1911, making it the fourth-longest uninterrupted series in college football history.[1] The University of Kansas built a large advantage in the series by 1923, and leads the overall series 64-38-5 or 65-37-5 (depending on whether a 1980 forfeit by KU is counted)[2] after the 2009 game.

The basketball series dates back to 1907, and is the most-played series in either school's history and 7th most played in NCAA history.[3] KU leads the basketball series 180-90 following their third meeting of the the 2009-2010 season, in the final of the Big 12 Conference tournament. This ranks as the third most victories by one school over another in the NCAA.[3]



Charles Robinson

The rivalry between the two schools can be traced indirectly back to their creation in the 1860s. The towns of Manhattan, Kansas (now home to KSU) and Lawrence, Kansas (now home to KU) both competed to be the site of the state University – required in the Kansas Constitution – after Kansas achieved statehood in 1861. Manhattan would have become the home of the University in 1861, but the bill establishing the University in Manhattan was controversially vetoed by Governor Charles L. Robinson of Lawrence. An attempt to override the veto in the Legislature failed by two votes. In 1862, another bill to make Manhattan the site of the University failed by one vote. Finally, on the third attempt, on February 16, 1863, the Kansas Legislature designated Manhattan as home to the state's Land-grant university. Yet the legislature was not done. Prodded by former Governor Robinson, the Legislature distinguished this institution from the "University" in the Constitution, and on February 20 the Legislature named Lawrence as the home to the state University (provided Lawrence could raise $15,000 and acquire 40 acres (160,000 m2) of land). When Lawrence met these conditions, the University of Kansas was established there in 1865.[4]

The two institutions officially met for the first time in athletic competition a little more than thirty years later, in a baseball game in 1898.

Men's basketball

Sunflower Showdown

Kansas State Wildcats Kansas Jayhawks
Originated 1907
Continuity Continuous since 1912
Overall series leader Kansas (180-90)
Most recent winner Kansas

The two schools have had a strong rivalry in basketball for several decades, peaking in the 1950s. Recently, the University of Kansas has been dominant in the series, including a winning streak over K-State that lasted from 1994 to 2005, and an 10-1 record against the Wildcats since then. Despite the lopsided record, the rivalry has become highly competitive again in recent years, with both teams ranked in the AP Top 25 for many of the match-ups.[5]

Even when the schools are at different levels, upsets are always a possibility in the rivalry, as when Kansas State upset a KU team that was ranked #1 in the AP Poll on January 17, 1994, or when KU pulled the upset on a K-State team ranked #1 on January 17, 1953.

Over the decades, the rivalry has seen a number of notable coaches match wits, including Jack Gardner, Tex Winter, Lon Kruger and Jack Hartman at Kansas State, and James Naismith, Phog Allen, Larry Brown, Roy Williams and Bill Self at KU.


Early years

The teams were fairly even up until the 1930s, with the series standings at 31-27 in favor of Kansas entering the decade. During the 30's and 40's, Kansas would gain a large lead in the standings with a number of win streaks, including 22 in a row from 1938 to 1947. In 1935 Kansas tied an NCAA record by beating Kansas State five times in the same calendar year, a feat that was only accomplished one other time, when Kansas beat Nebraska five times in 1909.[3]


Both schools were national title contenders in the 1950s, with Kansas State starting the decade in the title game of the 1951 NCAA tournament, and KU winning the title at the 1952 NCAA tournament. Befitting a clash of these titans, one of the best games of the 1952 season was an epic 90-88 overtime victory by #4 KU over #8 K-State. KU returned to the title game in the 1953 NCAA Tournament, claiming the league title along the way over a KSU team that had earlier been the top-ranked basketball team in the country.

The rivalry heated up even further with the arrival of Bob Boozer at Kansas State and Wilt Chamberlain at KU in the middle of the decade. In the 1955-1956 season, Kansas State split the season series with KU and won the Big Seven Conference title. The following year, Chamberlain led KU to the league title and a triple-overtime loss to North Carolina in the title game of the 1957 NCAA tournament. Kansas and Kansas State played another classic the following season, when Boozer scored 32 points in a 79-75 double-overtime victory at KU on February 3, 1958, while KSU was ranked #4 and KU was ranked #2. (When the two teams had previously met that season on December 30, 1957, they were ranked #2 and #3 in the country.) Following that season, KSU made another appearance in the Final Four. To close the decade, Kansas State swept the season series from KU on the way to a 25-2 record and a #1 ranking in the final AP Poll for 1959.

During the 1950s, the two schools also engaged in one-upsmanship in facilities. In prior decades, Kansas State had played their games in Nichols Hall, which doubled as a gymnasium, livestock pavilion, and pool.[6] In the late-1940s the state Legislature approved and paid for the construction of a new and much larger basketball facility. In 1950 Kansas State opened Ahearn Field House, one of the largest basketball facilities in the country at the time, which seated 14,000 spectators. Meanwhile, KU still played their home games on a converted stage in Hoch Auditorium with a seating capacity of 5,500. In response to the construction of Ahearn, the University of Kansas successfully lobbied the state to pay for the construction of Allen Fieldhouse, which would seat 17,000.[7] KU opened the facility with a 77-66 victory over Kansas State on March 1, 1955.

This period also saw the beginning of the 'Sunflower Doubleheader', with two non-conference teams visiting the state to play KU and K-State at one venue one night, then switching venues and opponents the following evening. This event was held from 1957 to 1968, and featured national powerhouses such as UCLA, Xavier, San Francisco, St. Joseph's, Cal, and Marquette.

1960s and 1970s

The basketball rivalry between the two schools continued unabated through the 1960s and 1970s, with the two schools competing annually for the Big Eight Conference championship (see chart below). In Dick Harp's last two seasons as the KU coach, the Jayhawks plummeted to losing records of 7-18 in 1962 and 12-13 in 1963. Nevertheless, in the championship game of the Big Eight Holiday Tournament in December 1962, KU posted a surprising 90-88 quadruple-overtime victory over K-State. Also, on February 20, 1965, one of the classic pranks in the series was perpetrated when a pair of 6x12 banners saying "Go Cats, Kill Snob Hill Again" unfurled on the east and west sides of the Allen Fieldhouse scoreboard with eight minutes left in the first half of an 88-66 KU victory. Another popular "prank" perpetrated by Kansas State students throughout the years is throwing live chickens on the court during pre-game introductions, as a taunt at the Kansas mascot, the Jayhawk. For years the Kansas State administration has attempted to stop this practice, and following a nationally-televised game on February 19, 2007, PETA complained about it in a letter to KSU President Jon Wefald.


The 1980s saw the return of star power to the schools and arguably the rivalry's most high-profile game. At the start of the decade, Rolando Blackman at Kansas State and Darnell Valentine at KU squared off in some classic match-ups. To close the decade, it was Mitch Richmond (K-State) and Danny Manning (KU) battling.

With Richmond and Manning in their senior years, the 1987-1988 season proved to be momentous in the rivalry. In the first matchup of the season, on January 30, 1988, Richmond scored 35 points to lead Kansas State to a 72-61 win to halt KU's then-record 55-game home winning streak. On February 18, KU turned the tables, prevailing 64-63 in Ahearn Field House to deny K-State a victory over KU in the old field house's last year. In what was supposed to be the rubber game, in the 1988 Big Eight Conference tournament, Kansas State won a decisive victory by a 69-54 score. However, the biggest was yet to come. Both teams qualified for the NCAA tournament, and after three wins apiece in the tournament they faced each other on March 27 in Pontiac, Michigan, for the right to advance to the Final Four. Led by Manning's 20 points, KU turned a tight game into a runaway and prevailed 71-58. They eventually advanced to claim the school's second NCAA Tournament Championship (4th national title overall).[8] That game in the Pontiac Silverdome was the first of only two meetings between the 'Hawks and the 'Cats that was not played in Lawrence, Manhattan, or Kansas City, Missouri (the second meeting being the 2007 Big 12 Tournament in Oklahoma City).

The 1990s and 2000s: KU winning streaks

The rivalry slipped in significance after the 1988 season, as K-State slowly declined in the Big 8 and Big 12 conferences. Only occasionally would K-State make some noise, such as the 68-64 win over then-#1 KU in Allen Fieldhouse in 1994.

From 1994 to 2005, KU won 31 straight games against K-State, the longest streak for either school in the series. Also, from 1984 to 2007, KU won 24 straight games on the Wildcats' home floor, the third longest win streak on an opponents home court in NCAA history.[3] During the latter streak, K-State won seven games against KU, but all were away from Manhattan: four games in Lawrence (1988, 1989, 1994, 2006) and three games in the Big Eight Tournament in Kansas City (1988, 1989, 1993). That streak began in Ahearn Field House, where KU won the final five meetings, and carried over into Bramlage Coliseum, where KU won the first 19 contests. KU's streak at Bramlage Coliseum came to an end on January 30, 2008, when #22-ranked Kansas State upset previously-unbeaten #2 Kansas 84-75.[9]

2006-Present: Reigniting the rivalry

When Kansas State hired coach Bob Huggins to replace Jim Wooldridge in the 2006 off-season, it promised to reignite the rivalry. At K-State's Madness in Manhattan celebration to start the 2006-2007 season, Huggins said that "February 19th is when we break the streak."[10] However, KU managed to sweep the season series from Kansas State, and Huggins departed following the season to take a position coaching at his alma mater, West Virginia University.

The 2007-2008 season presented an intriguing contrast between youth and experience. KU was led by the experienced coach Bill Self and retained a lineup of experienced players. Kansas State was led by a first-year head coach, Frank Martin, and featured one of the top-rated groups of freshman players in the nation. Prior to the season, Kansas State freshman phenom Michael Beasley boasted that "We're gonna beat KU at home. We're gonna beat 'em at their house. We're gonna beat 'em in Africa. Wherever we play we're gonna beat 'em."[11] KU came into the first match-up of the 2007-2008 season, on January 30, 2008, with a 20-0 record and a #2 ranking, but Kansas State prevailed 84-75. Kansas State's trip to Lawrence later that year was not as enjoyable for the Wildcats as they lost 88-74 to Kansas, leaving Beasley's prophecy unfulfilled. Both schools advanced to the NCAA tournament at the conclusion of the 2008 regular season, and Kansas went on to win its third NCAA championship.

The two teams played three high-profile matchups in the rivalry during the 2009-2010 season. In the first match-up on January 30, 2010, in Manhattan with ESPN's College GameDay broadcasting live from the game, Kansas came into the game ranked #2, while Kansas State was ranked #11. KU prevailed in overtime 81-79, in a game that ESPN described as a "classic."[12][13] After the game, Kansas center Cole Aldrich said, "You're going to get done playing basketball, and you're going to look back and say, 'I loved playing that game.'"[12] The Wichita Eagle wrote that the "rivalry is back."[5] The second match-up on March 3, 2010 was the first time since 1958 that both teams were ranked in the top 5 with Kansas at #2 and KSU at #5. With number one seed implications on the line, Frank Martin called it "the biggest game we've ever played at K-State".[14] Kansas went on to win 82-65 and secure sole possession of the Big 12 Championship. To two teams met again in the 2010 Big 12 Men's Basketball Tournament Championship Game with KU ranked #1 in the nation and KSU ranked #9. The Jayhawks won 72-64, completing the three game sweep of the Wildcats and winning the Big 12 Tournament title.

Conference titles

From 1946 through 1978, Kansas and Kansas State made the competition for the basketball title for their conference (known as the Big Six, Big Seven and Big Eight during this time) virtually a two-way affair. During this 33-year period, KU or KSU won or shared the title 26 times. The following chart shows the conference titles captured by the Sunflower Showdown schools during this span of time.

Team Season Conference
Kansas 1945-1946 Big Six Conference
Kansas State 1947-1948 Big Seven Conference
Kansas 1949-1950 Big Seven
Kansas State
Kansas State 1950-1951 Big Seven
Kansas 1951-1952 Big Seven
Kansas 1952-1953 Big Seven
Kansas 1953-1954 Big Seven
Kansas State 1955-1956 Big Seven
Kansas 1956-1957 Big Seven
Kansas State 1957-1958 Big Seven
Kansas State 1958-1959 Big Eight Conference
Kansas State 1959-1960 Big Eight
Kansas State 1960-1961 Big Eight
Kansas State 1962-1963 Big Eight
Kansas State 1963-1964 Big Eight
Kansas 1965-1966 Big Eight
Kansas 1966-1967 Big Eight
Kansas State 1967-1968 Big Eight
Kansas State 1969-1970 Big Eight
Kansas 1970-1971 Big Eight
Kansas State 1971-1972 Big Eight
Kansas State 1972-1973 Big Eight
Kansas 1973-1974 Big Eight
Kansas 1974-1975 Big Eight
Kansas State 1976-1977 Big Eight
Kansas 1977-1978 Big Eight

Both schools have also won a number of other conference basketball titles, with the University of Kansas alone winning or sharing 53 conference titles in 101 years of conference play following the 2008-2009 season – more conference titles than any other Division I basketball team in the country.



After the two programs began playing football in 1902, ill will soon surfaced. Following the 1909 contest, a 5-3 KU victory, a dispute between the schools led them to cancel the game scheduled for the 1910 season. After taking the break in 1910, the teams have met on the field for 97 consecutive autumns; only three other series in college football had been contested for more consecutive years.

KU was notably dominant in the series during the early years, building a 17-1-3 advantage through the 1923 season.[15] Since 1923, the programs have been much more even, with KU holding a 47-36-2 advantage during that period (including a 1980 forfeit[2] by KU). Because KU does not acknowledge its forfeit, the two schools disagree on the overall series record. KU and the Big 12[16] say it leads the series 65-37-5, while Kansas State reports the record as 64-38-5.[17]

The teams began competing for the Governor's Cup in 1969, and many of the most storied or interesting games between the programs have come during this period, including a 1995 matchup between sixth-ranked Kansas and fourteenth-ranked Kansas State, won by Kansas State 41-7.

During the 1990s and early 2000s, Kansas State fielded a much stronger team – annually garnering high national rankings – resulting in a winning streak over KU that lasted from 1993 through the 2003 season, finally ending in 2004.

Kansas currently holds the advantage in the overall series at 65-37-5 or 64-38-5 following the 2009 game.


The schools first met on the baseball field in 1898. The all-time series record is disputed between the two schools, with the KU media guide[18] listing the Jayhawks ahead 175-158-1, while the KSU media guide[19] list the series with KU ahead 159-158-1. The discrepancy is likely the result of highly inaccurate records by both schools for the early years of the series, with games missing from both record books. For example, in the 1912 season the KU media guide states that the teams met four times with KU winning three of four. On the other hand, the KSU media guide lists only one matchup, with KSU the victor. A four game series was the standard at the time, as both record books reflect a four game series in 1911 and 1913. Another example is in the 1914 season where the KU record books reflect four matchups with each team winning two, while the KSU books show only two matchups and KSU the winner of both. In the 1916 season the KSU record books show a four game series with KU winning all four, while KU books do not reflect having played KSU at all. These sort of discrepancies are frequent until the late 20's when both schools books begin to coincide.

Series standings

The schools compete annually in football, men's basketball, women's basketball, women's volleyball, baseball, cross country, track and field, women's tennis, rowing, men's golf, and women's golf. Kansas State does not sponsor fast-pitch softball or women's soccer, and Kansas does not sponsor men's tennis. Below are the series records in the major sports.

Sport Series Record Last Result
Football KU leads 65-37-5 or 64-38-5 17-10 KSU win on November 7, 2009
Men's Basketball KU leads 180-90 72-64 KU win on March 13, 2010
Women's Basketball KSU leads 57-42 70-60 KU win on February 07, 2010
Women's Tennis KU leads 40-7 5-2 KU win on April 8, 2009
Women's Volleyball KSU leads 60-39-1 3-0 KU win on November 11, 2009
Baseball KU leads 175-158-1 or 159-158-1 17-7 KU win on May 17, 2009
Women's Rowing KU leads 13-11-0 12-8 KSU win on April 11, 2009

† - As recorded in the KU record books.

‡ - As recorded in the K-State record books.

See also


  1. ^ "NCAA Football Record Book" (English). Retrieved 2006-10-11. 
  2. ^ a b "Sports People" (in English). New York Times. August 27, 1982. Retrieved 2006-10-20. 
  3. ^ a b c d NCAA Division I Basketball Record Book
  4. ^ Griffin, C.S.. "The University of Kansas and the Years of Frustration, 1854-64" (English). Retrieved 2006-10-06. 
  5. ^ a b "The Night The Rivalry Was Reborn" (English). The Wichita Eagle. Retrieved 2010-02-02. 
  6. ^ Nichols Hall
  7. ^ "Fieldhouse Built to Catch KSU, MU" (English). Lawrence Journal-World. Retrieved 2008-06-24. 
  8. ^ "Rock Chalk Site" (English). Retrieved 2006-10-10. 
  9. ^ K-State beats KU in Manhattan
  10. ^ "KU at K-State: 23 and counting?" (English). The Topeka Capital-Journal. Retrieved 2008-06-24. 
  11. ^ Beasley ensures K-state leaves no doubt
  12. ^ a b "Kansas' 'Mr. Big Shot' Comes Through for KU Late" (English). ESPN. Retrieved 2010-02-01. 
  13. ^ "Collins, KU Win Epic Showdown" (English). Topeka Capital-Journal. Retrieved 2010-02-01. 
  14. ^ Kansas St.-Kansas Preview
  15. ^ "College Football Database" (English). Retrieved 2006-10-11. 
  16. ^ 2008 Big 12 Football Record Book
  17. ^ Kansas State University (November 18, 2006). "KSU-KU Postgame Notes". Press release. Retrieved 2006-12-30. 
  18. ^ KU Baseball Season by Season Record
  19. ^ KSU Baseball Season by Season Record

External links


Got something to say? Make a comment.
Your name
Your email address