• Cliff Grassmick / Staff Photographer

    Former Colorado head coach Bill McCartney spoke about the Buffs' rivalry with Nebraska at Tuesday's luncheon

  • Cliff Grassmick / Staff Photographer

    Colorado coach Mike MacInytre, left, talks with former coach Bill McCartney at Tuesday's luncheon.



Nearly 24 years after he coached his last game, Bill McCartney still knows how to get a crowd fired up.

And, he hasn’t lost his hatred for Nebraska.

“I’d rather be dead than red,” the legendary former Colorado head coach said Tuesday, as a guest at the Buffaloes’ weekly press luncheon.

CU (1-0) will renew its rivalry with Nebraska (0-0) on Saturday with a trip to Lincoln, Neb. It’ll be the first meeting since 2010 between the former Big 12 Conference rivals and time has not diminished the distaste that McCartney has for the Cornhuskers.

It was McCartney, after all, who circled Nebraska as the team to beat when was hired as head coach in 1982.

“It’s more important than any other game,” said McCartney, who coached CU from 1982-94, going 3-9-1 against the Cornhuskers. “With all due respect, this is the game.

“I’d like to have a shot at (speaking to) the players; give me 2 minutes with them, because we’re all counting on them, we’re all depending on them. Sleep good this week and then bring your A game. And when you do, we will carry you off the field. That’s how I look at it.”

At 78, McCartney, who went 93-55-5 at CU and led the Buffs to the 1990 national title, speaks with the same passion he’s had for decades, even inspiring a room full of reporters.

“He’s talked to our team quite often and we’d love for him to come talk to our team, for sure,” CU head coach Mike MacIntyre said. “He’s one of those speakers that gets you riled up, so to speak. The last time he did it, he dropped the mic and walked out. It was pretty cool.”

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