The cross-state rivalry was evident.
Most fans wore the colors Crimson & Blue or Purple & White. Some donned clothing with slogans that insulted the opponent's mascot.
And there was even a pre-game prank gasoline and diesel fuel were poured on Campanile Hill to kill the grass to spell out "WILDCAT" in 4-foot-long letters. (It was fixed up before the game with some lawn dye.)
As about 52,000 football fans filled Kansas University's Memorial Stadium to the brim, another 8,000 to 10,000 KU and Kansas State University fans spilled out Saturday afternoon onto the hill. They were all drawn for the annual KU-KSU football game, won this year by KU, 31-7.
"This is awesome. This is incredible," said Mike McPherson, a 1992 KSU graduate from Spring Hill. "This is the place to be in Kansas. If you're not here, you're lost."
McPherson was standing shoulder to shoulder with other KU and KSU fans. Some listened to radios and peered through binoculars. And a few were trying their best to hide alcoholic drinks from KU police who were enforcing the ban on alcohol.
MARK MEESE, a KU sophomore from Tulsa, Okla., seemed surprised by the multitude on the hill.
"This is the most people I've ever seen at a game here," Meese said. "Actually it doesn't matter who's ranked better. At the time they play, it pretty much equals out; there's such a big rivalry. . . . There's more K-State fans up on the hill than KU fans."
Jeff McQueen, a 1983 KSU graduate from Branson, Mo., said the rivalry is part of the tradition.
"It kind of depends on whether you're going to school there at the time how caught up you are in it," he said. "But the rivalry is always there."
Laura Boone, a 1990 KSU graduate from Overland Park, said she didn't get as excited about the spirited one-up-manship. But she claims KU grads and students have an attitude problem.
"KU PEOPLE just have an attitude. People in Lawrence just think they're better," she said. "I've gone down to Oklahoma and I haven't had people yelling at me because I'm wearing a K-State T-shirt. I just want to see a good game and make the Big Eight look good. And I want it to be close."
Dennis McDonald, a KU graduate from Topeka, said he enjoys the rivalry.
"It's a lot of fun," McDonald said. "My roommate is a K-State fan. All of his family graduated from K-State. It's just a lot of fun."
Aaron Laird, a senior at KSU from Topeka, said he liked coming to the hill.
"It's always always a good time coming up here to the hill," Laird said. "I wish we had the hill in Manhattan. It's a good time."
Kelly Unruh, a KSU junior from Copeland, said the rivalry at times gets intense.
"YOU CAN feel it," Unruh said. "Whoever loses, when they're walking to the street, they can feel it, the tenseness. . . . Two years ago, when we lost and we were walking out of here, you could feel people looking down on you. I think it's good for both schools. Everybody on the hill unites. You're not cheering against somebody, you're cheering for a good football game."
Jason York is something of a cross-breed he graduated from KSU in 1991 and now he's a KU graduate student.
"The rivalry is pretty intense, especially in athletic competition," York said. He said KU fans are more excited about the game.
"KU has a lot more to get excited about," he said. "I have sympathy cards printed up to send to my K-State friends. That's rivalry for you."
NIKOLE HENDRICKS, a KU junior from Overland Park, said the rivalry seemed tame this year.
"It used to be a lot more fierce," she said. "Since we can't party out here (on Campanile Hill), that's part of the problem. But the rivalry in general is kind of friendly. We like to scream obnoxious things at K-State. I have a lot of friends at K-State, so it's fun."
Vicki Bode, an Overland Park junior, said the rivalry is playful.
"We just love to hate them," she said. "If they disappeared if K-State sunk away then we wouldn't have anything to do."
Dave McCullagh, a 1992 KSU graduate, was at the game with Bob Mullen, a 1991 KU graduate. They attended high school together in Kansas City, Kan.
"Bob and I are still good friends," McCullagh said. "The rivalry adds a little extra pizazz to a somewhat anemic football season at times. But yet, it's ironic; when both teams started doing good at the same time, it made the rivalry more intense. If our team was better, it would be more intense."
BOB KRALICEK, a 1986 KU graduate and his girlfriend, Diane Gleissner, a 1988 KSU graduate, both from Kansas City, Kan., said the rivalry doesn't get in the way of their relationship.
"It's a friendly rivalry, but K-State is still the best," Gleissner said.
"In what way?" Kralicek asked. "You have more cows on the hill?"