The Kansas City area has seen higher-stakes Sunflower Showdowns in football, no question, but there’s reason to believe this year’s edition could be among the better in recent memory.
Kansas has shown signs of life under first-year head coach Lance Leipold, and K-State is gunning for a bowl appearance that would extend its lengthy streak of postseason invitations.
It’s also a big week ahead for the Chiefs (when isn’t that the case? this is the NFL!), and local high school sports fans will have plenty of opportunity to cheer for some outstanding area teams and the student-athletes they love.
Sporting KC? All they’re doing this week is closing out the regular season with no fewer than three games in the span of eight days. And then it’s on to the playoffs for them, too.
College football buzz
K-State and Chris Klieman recorded an important win on Oct. 23 in Lubbock, Texas, outlasting the Red Raiders 25-24 to snap an eight-game conference losing streak.
Kansas led ranked Oklahoma in Lawrence that same afternoon before losing 35-23. The Jayhawks, under first-year coach Lance Leipold, had the Sooners befuddled — they led OU, for real — before order was restored to the Big 12 universe.
Are we dreaming to think this year’s Sunflower Showdown sets up nicely as a game of competitive football and perhaps even the closest final score between these two neighbors since 2018, when KSU prevailed 21-17? Maybe. After all, the Cats have flat-out dominated KU since a 52-21 Kansas victory at Lawrence in 2008.
Not to overlook Mizzou, here. The Tigers also play Saturday, and their task is gargantuan: at Georgia.
Fans of the Chiefs have two opportunities at Arrowhead Stadium to see their team try to improve its lot in the next week.
The Chiefs play host to the New York Giants on Monday Night Football, then meet the Green Bay Packers here on Sunday, Nov. 7.
It’s a busy week ahead for Sporting KC. And it’ll get even busier, or more intense, anyway, as the MLS postseason begins.
Before we can start thinking playoffs, however, there are three more regular-season games to be played in the coming week: Sporting KC is at Minnesota today (Sunday, Oct. 31); at Austin Wednesday; and home, for the regular-season finale, against Real Salt Lake next Sunday (Nov. 7).
And then the playoffs can begin.
College hoops is back
The K-State men’s basketball team tips off the 2021-22 season at Bramlage Coliseum Thursday night against Pittsburg State.
Kansas’ and Mizzou’s respective first games aren’t far behind: KU opens with a marquee matchup at Madison Square Garden against Michigan State on Tuesday, Nov. 9, while the Tigers get rolling the same day with a home game against Central Michigan.
High school sports-fest
So much happening in high school sports for Kansas City-area teams and individual competitors this week. Some of it’s going down here in the metro, but a lot of it takes place elsewhere.
Here’s a snapshot of what’s happening besides the slew of prep football games that will narrow the field in classifications across Missouri and Kansas:
- Kansas soccer championships: Semifinals are Friday and finals Saturday on fields in Olathe, Wichita and Topeka.
- Missouri volleyball championships: State tournaments are Thursday-Saturday at the Show Me Center on the Southeast Missouri State campus in Cape Girardeau; the finals are Friday and Saturday.
- Missouri cross country: State championships are Friday and Saturday at the Gans Creek course in Columbia.