Saturday, August 31, 2002
Steamboat Springs So what is all the hype about? For more than a week, I've had to listen to, read and think about the Rocky Mountain Showdown. The football game pits the University of Colorado's Golden Buffaloes (applause and cheers) against that other team, the Colorado State Rams (boos and jeers) in the biggest interstate clash of the year at Invesco Field (I hate that name).
Pardon me, but it's still hard for this Boulder graduate to think of Colorado State as a major rival. Oklahoma maybe, Nebraska for sure, but a rivalry with the Rams can't be. Or can it?
Wow, back when I was a student at CU, the Rocky Mountain Showdown was played in front of a lackluster crowd at Folsom Field. I think the two schools played once or twice during my four years in Boulder. The only game I can remember took place at Folsom, so that's the Rams I remember.
I also hate to admit the only thing I can recall about the game was that by the time the third quarter rolled around, the score favored the local guys and the beer-buzzed student section was sobering up and beginning to filter out of the stands to look for a new party on The Hill. If you're a CSU fan don't be offended back then the beer-buzzed students filtered out of every game, with the exception of Nebraska, in the third or midway through the fourth quarters in search of the next party. For most of those students, the game was a good excuse to party with friends, or just party period.
When I was in Boulder, Colorado State was one of those games that helped fill the non-conference schedule but the game didn't have the buildup it does today.
Things have really changed, and so have the teams.
Today, the game, as it should, is played every year. It is one of the biggest in Colorado and has attracted national attention. The rivalry that has developed since I left has been good for both of the schools and the entire state.
As a former Buffalo, I don't hold any longtime grudges against Colorado State fans or the football team. As a resident of this state, I'm just happy to see it happens every year.
The CSU program has grown into one of the best in the Nation under Sonny Lubick, and when the two teams meet, it is always a good game. The University of Colorado won a national title the year after I left but has been inconsistent over the past decade.
I hate to admit it, but the days when the University of Colorado dominated the college football scene here in Colorado are gone but I think these two schools will prove the state is big enough for two national title contenders.
I still don't understand all the hype surrounding the game, but as long as it's good for football in Boulder and Fort Collins who cares.
To reach John F. Russell call 871-4209 or e-mail jrussell@steamboatpilot. com