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[dropcap]W[/dropcap]hen it comes to rivalries, recent conference realignment has certainly hurt the Big 12. The storied battles of Missouri vs Kansas, Texas vs Texas A&M, and Nebraska vs Oklahoma have been put on hold, and only time will tell if they’ll ever renew again.

The Big 12 still features many of the nation’s most historic and closely battled rivalries in all of college football though, and conference realignment wasn’t all bad. Here’s our list of the Big 12’s best football rivalries!

6. The Sunflower Showdown

All-Time Leader: Kansas 65-42-5
Last Game: (#12) KSU 51 – KU 13

The Sunflower Showdown, named after the state’s nickname, is one of the most historic rivalries still played today. The roots of the contest between the Jayhawks and the Wildcats can be traced all the way back to Kansas’ statehood in 1861. As the story goes, the state’s constitution requires there be a state university. That school was to be in Manhattan. However, Governor Charles L. Robinson wasn’t happy with that. He wanted the school to be in Lawrence. He failed to block the creation of the school in Manhattan, but settled for the next best thing. Another school was built in Lawrence and he lobbied for it to be the school mentioned in the constitution. Anyone want to guess where Governor Robinson was from?

The Jayhawks controlled the rivalry in the early years, and they lead the overall series by 23 games. However, as in any good rivalry, there’s some debate about the official record. KU running back Kerwin Bell helped lead the Jayhawks to a 1980 victory, but the Jayhawks were forced to forfeit the contest three years later after it was determined Bell was academically ineligible. It might not be on the official record, but KU fans haven’t forgotten about the win.

While the Jayhawks lead the series, it’s been all Wildcats as of late. Since the early 90’s, the rivalry has been dominated by the Kansas State, and Kansas has won just four games since 1993. K-State fans know this as the Bill Snyder era.

Don’t expect the current trend to break this year in the fight for the Governor’s Cup. (see what they did there?)  The Wizard will have to conjure up something special to return to last year’s form as K-State rebuilds, but nobody is rebuilding more than the Jayhawks in 2015.

Up Next: 5. Farmageddon

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