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Friday, May 24, 2013
Sunflower Showdown looms large for KU

By David Ubben

We've got a runaway winner in Kansas' biggest game of the 2013 season. I couldn't agree more. The Jayhawks lost their final 11 games of 2012 and need a win -- any win -- badly, but 38 percent of you say Kansas' biggest game of 2013 is the season finale against Kansas State.

That was 18 percent more than any other game got. The Jayhawks' winnable date at Rice got 20 percent of the vote, ahead of the Big 12 season opener at home against Texas Tech. The Red Raiders' game commanded just 16 percent of the vote.

Games against rebuilding programs Iowa State and West Virginia finished tied for last with just 13 percent of the vote each.

The task ahead of Weis was a difficult one before the 2012 season, but I remember talking with him in July and he said he sat down and looked at Kansas' program, and looked at its two nearby neighbors: Missouri and Kansas State. Both were obviously enjoying far more success than the Jayhawks. What were they doing? Why couldn't Kansas do that?

Objective No. 1 became surpassing the programs in the area. The 2013 season could be the start of something, but it's about building for the future. Kansas isn't going to do anything in 2013 that's remembered forever in program history. It might, however, build in that direction. Doing so would get a lot easier if 1) Kansas can prove it's the better team within the state and 2) do so in the season finale to leave a sweet taste in fans' mouths heading into 2014.

Anything Weis says during the offseason is going to have a whole lot more credibility if he's got state bragging rights after K-State has beaten Kansas by an average of more than 43 points the last three seasons. Even a close loss would be productive in convincing fans the program is worth getting behind.

No doubt about it: The Jayhawks' season finale is enormous for the program, and the biggest game of 2013.