Woodling: KU-MU hatred mostly one-sided

From what I have been able to gather, neither the Kansas University bookstore nor the KU Alumni Association offer any anti-Missouri novelty items.

No trashed Tigers. No bashed Bengals. No mangled Mizzou signs.

On a conspicuous level, Kansas is fairly benign about its geographic rivalry with the notable exception of those “Muck Fizzou” T-shirts that seem to show up on KU student torsos every time Kansas and Missouri meet in athletic competition.

Anti-Kansas novelty items are, however, readily available from the Missouri Alumni Association. In its current catalog, Mizzou offers its alumni the opportunity to purchase:

  • A ceramic rendering of school mascot Truman the Tiger wearing a chef’s cap while standing over a large black pot that contains a certain distinctive red-and-blue bird with a yellow beak.
  • A rock-shaped paperweight with a Missouri inscription. When upended, the rock reveals a squashed caricature of a KU football player.

Missouri doesn’t like Kansas, and vice versa. You know that. Yet many KU fans and alumni believe Kansas State is more of a rival than Missouri. Not that KU folks have any love lost for Mizzou. It’s just that shared dislike isn’t as fervent as one-sided loathing, and poor ol’ Missouri doesn’t have a Missouri State to pick on.

Instead of concentrating solely on Kansas, I think Missouri needs somebody else to pick on, too. Why don’t the Tigers play Southwest Missouri State in football every year?

Yes, Southwest Missouri is a Div. I-AA school, but practically every Div. I-A school has a I-AA opponent these days. This year, for instance, MU played Eastern Illinois. Meanwhile, Missouri hasn’t met Southwest Missouri in football since 1923.

It’s not like the Bears aren’t eager to schedule Div. I-A schools. Kansas played Southwest Missouri in 2001 and 2002, and the Bears met Oklahoma State this season. So get with it, Missouri. Neighboring rivalries are fine, but in-state rivalries are fun, too.

Speaking of rivalries, you can’t beat the thrill you’ll get if you whack me this week. Check out KUsports.com on the Web and enter the Whack Woodling contest. You won’t win a paperweight or a ceramic, but you might win a “We Whacked Woodling” T-shirt.

Here are this week’s Big 12 Conference picks. Note that the Nebraska-Southern Mississippi game has been omitted because it was played Thursday night. Baylor, Colorado, Kansas State, Oklahoma and Oklahoma State are idle.

Texas A&M 20, Pittsburgh 15 — Pitt’s Rod Rutherford is the only QB in the country with better pass efficiency stats than KU’s Bill Whittemore, but the Aggies boast the nation’s third-best pass defense and will be ruthless toward Rutherford.

Northern Illinois 26, Iowa State 11 — High-flying Huskies are unlikely to negate stunning victory over Alabama last week by losing to Cyclones at home. Can ISU’s shaky defense stop Michael “The Burner” Turner?

Texas 55, Tulane 45 — Tulane’s J.P. Losman is averaging nearly four touchdown passes a game, but the Longhorns rank No. 1 nationally in pass defense. Will this be Texas RB Cedric Benson’s breakout game?

Texas Tech 39, Mississippi 36 — Another match of touted gun-slinging quarterbacks features the Red Raiders’ B.J. Symons — the nation’s total offense leader — and Rebels’ Eli Manning. Tech steals one on the road.

Kansas 37, Missouri 31 — Mizzou is ranked 23rd in the Associated Press poll, but Kansas basically is the same team. The Tigers and Jayhawks both feature showcase quarterbacks, average running backs and good wide receivers on offense, and both have suspect defenses. KU has home-field advantage, plus mental incentive provided by last year’s rub-it-in goal-post incident in Columbia.