Wednesday, November 24, 2010
Trash talk flows one way in Border Showdown
By ESPN.com staff
Missouri receiver T.J. Moe started all this, sharing some strong words for his feelings toward the Tigers' neighbors to the west, Kansas.
"I hate them," Moe, a St. Louis native, told reporters on Monday. "I’ve been a Mizzou fan my whole life. From day one. Every time I see a [KU] shirt I just want to burn it."
Moe wasn't shy about sharing his comparisons between this year's Tigers and a struggling Kansas team.
"I don’t like them," Moe said. "I can’t give them credit for anything. They don’t have an advantage anywhere."
Several Kansas players had a chance to respond on Tuesday, but chose to douse the flames, rather than fan them -- publicly, at least.
"That's what he said?" Kansas defensive tackle Richard Johnson said. "OK, cool, cool. I'll take note of that."
Said linebacker Steven Johnson: "That just throws a little bit more coal on my fire."
Kansas coach Turner Gill is in his first year as Kansas coach, but he's been well-educated on the rivalry with Missouri that's one of the nation's most fiery.
"'Dad, you better win this one,’” Gill says his daughter, Jordan, told him this week.
Wise words for the coach looking to end a difficult first year on a high note.
"This is for our fans, this is for our alumni, this is for our players. On Sunday, they were very spirited, they were upbeat, they were focused, they were ready. And we as coaches were ready," Gill said. "I’ve already got a sense of what this is all about, this Border Showdown, so I’m excited about that. I hope you’ve already sensed that in my voice. I think our players have already sensed that in my voice, I’ve already sensed that in their body language and their voices, too, of what this is all about. You guys probably know more about it than I do, but I am excited about this opportunity to represent Kansas here against Missouri."
Missouri needs a win to stay alive in the Big 12 race, but it'll know its fate well before kickoff, since a Nebraska loss to Colorado on Friday means it'll play for a spot in the Big 12 title game on Saturday. A Nebraska win means Missouri will have to settle for just beating Kansas. Of course, for guys like Moe, that might be plenty.
"You inherit this rivalry when you come to Mizzou as a player or a coach. It's one of the great rivalries of college football. I've said this every year -- you can throw the records out," said Missouri coach Gary Pinkel. "It means so much to each team and it certainly means so much to our fans. We'll get KU's best effort and their best football game because that's what that does."