By Ian Echlin and Greg Echlin
Kansas Jayhawk fans know basketball’s regular season starts Nov. 11 because they lost focus on KU football a long time ago. Missouri Tiger fans also saw an early downward slide.
As both football programs have plummeted, here are some fall alternatives in both states that won’t lack in sports entertainment:
Northwest Missouri State Football – The defending NCAA Division II national champions have kept rolling since their title game at Children’s Mercy Park last December in Kansas City, Kansas. The Bearcats, 10-0, set a program record for 25 wins in a row, the longest current winning streak in college football. NMSU is outscoring opponents by an average margin of 33 points. The homecoming rout over Pittsburg State, 69-10, attracted national attention with “The Northwest Lateral” featured on ESPN highlights. The Bearcats wrap up their regular season against Missouri Western, then on to the playoffs.
Kansas Volleyball – The No. 4 ranked Kansas women collided with Texas, ranked No. 2 at the time, shortly after the KU football team kicked off against Oklahoma with a big difference in results. Kansas (22-2, 11-1) upset Texas, beating the Longhorns for the first time after 25 straight losses to the Longhorns. Texas fell to No. 5 in last week’s poll and was idle over the weekend, so KU leads by a half-game after road wins at Kansas State and Oklahoma to stretch their winning streak to ten straight matches.
Baker University Football – Down the road from Lawrence, Baker in Baldwin City is 10-0 and one of three teams undefeated in NAIA football. Baker, No. 2 in the NAIA Coaches Poll, plays one more game before the 16-team playoff bracket is announced. Baker is shooting for its first NAIA Football Championship in program history. Senior Day against Evangel University will be televised on KSMO in Kansas City.
Missouri Volleyball – Mizzou volleyball, ranked No. 21 in this week’s AVCA poll, is on its way to its third NCAA tournament in four years. The Tigers, 21-4 overall and 12-1 in the SEC, defeated Tennessee and No. 18 Kentucky to wrap up the latest week of play. The Tigers are tied for first in the SEC with No. 6 Florida, MU’s last big hurdle in hopes of winning the SEC. The MU-UF match will be at home on Nov. 20.
Emporia State Football – Since losing to top-ranked Northwest Missouri to open the season, Emporia St. has won its last nine games. The Hornets have positioned themselves for a spot in the Division II playoffs. With one game left, the Hornets are fourth in the Division II regional rankings which would guarantee a post-season berth. ESU’s path could lead to a possible rematch in the playoffs against the Bearcats who eliminated the Hornets from the playoffs last year. The Division II national championship game will again be held at Children’s Mercy Park.