FORT COLLINS — Although the Colorado and Colorado State football teams aren't scheduled to play after 2020, it may not be long before future games are announced.
CSU athletic director Joe Parker said Saturday and he and CU athletic director Rick George "have talked very, very seriously and really have a strong verbal commitment" for a home-and-home set in 2023 and 2024.
Parker and George have talked about the Rocky Mountain Showdown being played in Boulder in 2023 and in Fort Collins in 2024. The rivalry will not be played in 2021 or 2022, because CU's schedule is filled up for those years.
The verbal agreement for 2023 and 2024 has been in place for a while, but just hasn't been finalized. Parker said it's just a matter of drawing up the contract and signing it, and he didn't rule out that getting done as early as next week.
"I'm confident it's going to happen (at some point)," he said. "I don't have any doubt in my mind that it will. I'm patient. We've talked about it. I would expect that we'll get something done pretty soon and have it on paper and be able to formally announce it."
The 2020 game, to be played in Fort Collins, will end a 26-year run of the Rocky Mountain Showdown. The model of two years on, two years off could become the standard after that.
CSU already has two Power 5 conference teams (Texas Tech and Vanderbilt) on the schedule for 2025 and 2026 and Parker said it's unlikely the Rams would add a third Power 5 opponent in those years. So, after the 2023 and 2024 games, the next likely games would be 2027 and 2028.
"I think it would be a good rhythm for us, playing two years and taking two years off," Parker said. "That gives us each a chance to be creative with our non-conference schedule and bring some teams into Colorado that we wouldn't have room for if we were playing every year."
Last week, George said that CU won't agree to any more games in Denver, and Parker said he's on board with that. The 2019 game will be the 10th in a row — and 19th overall — in Denver.
"That's advantageous for both of us," Parker said of playing on campus sites, as he watched his Rams open their brand new stadium Saturday against Oregon State. "We've got this wonderful, beautiful, amazing resource embedded on campus. It gives us an opportunity to show people in the state of Colorado what Colorado State is all about."
In 2023 and 2024, CU has games scheduled for the first two weeks of the season, so games with CSU in those years are likely to be played in Week 3.