Athens, GA (Nov 24, 2007) - Kevin Butterfield of The New York Times has an excellent article on the Kansas-Missouri rivalry, and its ties to the Civil War and slavery. Last July, I was out in Kansas City, where the game is being played tonight, and learned quite a bit about this piece of history that I did not know.
"Most great college sports rivalries emerge from memorable moments on the field, coaching feuds or recruiting battles, but the annual football game between the Kansas Jayhawks and the Missouri Tigers, to be played tomorrow night in Kansas City, Mo., with unusually high import, taps into a mutual animosity born of a flashpoint in American history...But before there were football teams, there was hatred and bloodshed along the border between Missouri and Kansas. From 1854 until the beginning of the Civil War in 1861, “Bleeding Kansas” lay at the heart of the United States’ crisis over slavery. Nearly 200 people died in what was itself a civil war."You can read more about this small slice if true history on the New York Times web site (registration required).