Ryan Thorburn, Camera Sports Writer
Ryan Thorburn, Camera Sports Writer ( PAUL AIKEN )

College football contracts are made to be broken.

Coaches leave for better jobs. Players transfer. Programs are abandoning tradition for super-conference television money.

It's time for Colorado to consider trying to get out of the absurd 10-year contract to play Colorado State annually at Invesco Field.

What's that? Oh yeah, Sports Authority Field. Cha-ching.

Two years ago, athletic director Mike Bohn wisely decided to exercise the option in the previous contract that allowed the game to be moved to Folsom Field so CU would have six home games.

The Buffs were bad -- losing that opener 23-17 -- but the atmosphere was great. And moving the game to Boulder worked out pretty well for the Rams and their fans, who capped the night with a dance party on the CU logo.

Unfortunately, the 2010 rematch was not held in Fort Collins.

Bohn and CSU athletic director Paul Kowalczyk announced that the Rocky Mountain Showdown was moving back to Denver for 10 consecutive meetings.

"This is the state's signature college football event and the game belongs in Denver," Kowalczyk said. "This state is fortunate to have two premier football programs, and we're going to continue to showcase this rivalry for at least another decade."

Thanks for the warning.

CU beat CSU 24-3 in the Centennial State's signature college football event last season in front of an announced crowd of 60,989 (there were actually about 40,000 to 45,000 people in the stands). The third deck was completely empty and almost all of those wearing green were on I-25 by halftime.


The head coaches, both coming off 3-9 seasons, were just as exciting as the play on the field during their postgame press conferences.

"A win is better than a loss. I thought our defense played really well, and at times we played well on offense," Hawk-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named said. "We just have to clean up a lot of things."

"This is more about Colorado," Steve Fairchild said. "They showed up, they were the better football team, and they certainly deserved to win that game."

The Buffs took the momentum from the big rivalry win to Berkeley the next week where they lost 52-7. The Rams finished 3-9 again and closed the season with an equally inspired performance in the Border War (CSU lost 44-0 at Wyoming).

I understand why the 4A and 5A state championships are played at Sports Authority Field. It's a once-in-a-lifetime experience for those high school players to step on the same field where Tim Tebow watches the Denver Broncos play.

But the Buffs should want to beat the Rams in front of a rowdy crowd at Folsom Field. That's what their loyal season-ticket holders want.

And CSU should make CU come to Hughes Stadium instead of selling out for a Mile High paycheck.

From coast to coast -- Florida-Florida State, Alabama-Auburn, Iowa-Iowa State, Michigan-Michigan State, USC-UCLA -- the best in-state rivalries are played on campus.

Let's face it, college football isn't popular enough in Broncos Country to fill up Sports Authority Field every year.

Especially when CU and CSU are both non-factors on the national scene. Since the 2006 season kicked off, the Buffs are 21-42 and the Rams are 22-41.

Fans can't even enjoy tailgating this season without an alarm clock. Nothing screams big-time rivalry like an 11:30 a.m. kickoff.

When the deal to keep the series in Denver was reached the reasoning was that both programs make more money -- CU about $750,000 more and CSU between $800,000 and $1 million more -- than when the game is played in Boulder.

CU should have called the Rams' bluff and demanded that game be played at Folsom Field when the Buffs are the home team and at Sports Authority Field when CSU is the home team.

Instead, Jon Embree has to overcome a schedule that includes five games in Boulder, Saturday's "home" game in Denver, and seven road games.

If the CU-CSU series had ended and the Buffs still wanted to play a money game in Denver, there is a team from Lincoln that might be interested in filling up Sports Authority Field. Why not set up a regional rotation that includes Air Force, Nebraska and CSU?

The next on-campus date scheduled between the Buffs and Rams is Sept. 5, 2020, at Hughes Stadium.

Of course, the 20-year, $120-million naming deal with Invesco was set to expire in 2021.