There are numerous story lines, tributes and celebrations on tap for the college football season that individually could make this year at the University of Colorado one to remember on the gridiron. But com-

bining them all into one autumn will make it a historic year for the Buffs.

Will this be the year coach Dan Hawkins finally gets the program turned around and back in the postseason, saving his job in the process? Or will it be Hawkins` final year in Boulder as the Buffs produce more sour results? Those questions and the answers that unfold will serve as the backdrop to the entire campaign.

But that is just where it starts.

This could be the final year the Buffs play in the Big 12 Conference before moving on to a better fit with new Pac-12 partners, though athletic director Mike Bohn told the Camera earlier this week that CU still is planning on playing a Big 12 schedule in 2011.

We already know CU will be making its final trip to Lincoln, Neb., on the Friday after Thanksgiving before parting ways with the Cornhuskers, a team that has made every Buffs fan see red for much of the past six decades. Nebraska is joining the Big Ten next year.

But, if plans change, the Buffs also could be playing the final conference games against other long-time foes such as Kansas, Kansas State, Iowa State, Missouri and Oklahoma.


No one in black and gold is likely to have any misty-eyed emotions about playing host as a conference partner a final time to Baylor on Oct. 16. Baylor alumni publicly badmouthed CU earlier this summer as talk of conference realignment heated up and it became clear CU would be joining the Pac-10.

CU sources also have said privately they believe somebody at Baylor was responsible for providing Academic Progress Rate results to the Texas media that put the CU football program in a negative light right around the same time.

Before the Bears come to town, CU will host Hawaii and Georgia in non-conference tilts.

Former Buffs linebacker Alfred Williams will be honored Sept. 18 (vs. Hawaii) for becoming the fifth CU player to be voted into the College Football Hall of Fame. Two weeks later, the entire 1990 national championship team will be welcomed back to Boulder for a weekend celebration of the 20th anniversary of their achievement as the Buffs take on Georgia.

"I just think it will be an overwhelming appreciation for what that team accomplished, coaches and players," veteran linebackers coach Brian Cabral said. "At the same time, I think when this team sees that, I don`t doubt they will have any other response than to feel a great responsibility representing that tradition."

The Buffs will wear 1990 throwback uniforms this season as another way of honoring the championship team. Running backs coach Darian Hagan, who quarterbacked the Buffs to that title 20 years ago, believes it will be good for this season`s team to spend time with his former teammates.

"I think it will let the guys know that some guys did some really good things," Hagan said. "To see those guys in person and not just to see them on old game film or in pictures in the building, to see those guys and talk to them and have them impart some wisdom on them will be really, really important."

When No. 23 Georgia comes to town Oct. 2, it will mark only the second time in history a member of the powerful Southeastern Conference has played in Folsom Field. Louisiana State came to Boulder way back in 1979 and trounced the Buffs 44-0.

Georgia also will bring its famed live mascot Uga the bulldog on the trip to Boulder putting the two best mascots in college football, according to a recent poll conducted by the Associated Press, on the same field for a day.