When Missouri travels to Allen Fieldhouse on Saturday afternoon to take on the Kansas Jayhawks, it will be the last scheduled game between the two schools for the foreseeable future, ending a basketball rivalry spanning 105 years.
Although this game is always circled on the schedule by both teams, the stakes are higher this time. This one games carries the weight of the entire historical span of the relationship and the result will be the key factor in determining the regular season Big 12 Champion.
If Kansas wins, they will have won outright or shared the title for eight-straight seasons, but if Missouri wins, it will be their first and last taste of Big 12 regular season glory as they pack their bags and head to the SEC next season (this is assuming both teams win out with their remaining schedules of course).
The one thing that I fear happening is that this one game will ultimately overshadow the history of the rivalry itself.
Will this one game dim the true meaning of why these schools have gone to battle for so long? Will this one game, with so much on the line and with the diverging futures of both schools, eclipse the culmination of the Border War up to this point? Will the players, coaches, and fans be so wrapped up in one outcome that they forget how important the adversary actually has been to their own chronicle?
The singular objective of each game is to win, but this rivalry embodies more than just one game. The outcomes of the games are hardly what this rivalry signifies—it is the voyage traveled that best captures the impact of its long-standing history.
But what happens when there is no more road to travel?
To the dismay of many, we won’t have that one more game to look forward to. When we empty our hearts out in victory or defeat, there will not be another chance to repeal the emotions. This is why this one game will have so much impact that it will be difficult for those that are vested to look at the bigger picture.
This one game is monumental to the landscape of this one season, but means so much more to everything on the horizon for each program and even more to all the singular events that preceded it.