The Colorado Buffaloes will be returning to Denver next fall.
On Monday, CU announced that its Sept. 11 game against Texas A&M will be played at Empower Field at Mile High. Kickoff time will be announced at a later date.
When CU and Texas A&M announced their home-and-home set in 2015, there was a clause in the contract that the 2021 game could be moved from Boulder to Denver.
Former Big 12 Conference rivals, the Buffaloes and Aggies were scheduled to play on Sept. 19, 2020, at College Station, Texas, but that game was canceled because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Cancelling the first game could have eliminated the 2021 matchup, as well, but the two sides agreed to play this year and settled on Denver as the location.
“We were disappointed that we couldn’t play in College Station this year, but we worked closely with (Texas A&M athletic director) Ross Bjork and officials at Empower Field at Mile High to bring the game to Denver,” CU athletic director Rick George said in a press release.
George told BuffZone.com that he’s excited to have the Aggies on the schedule for 2021.
“It’s good for both of us to have that quality nonconference opponent,” he said. “I think it’s going to be a game that’s going to have a lot of national prominence. I think that’s going to be good for both of our programs.
“We recruit hard in Texas, and that’s a key area for us, so I think it’s an important game for both of us and certainly for us in getting that exposure on that national platform is going to be incredibly helpful.”
CU went 4-2 in head coach Karl Dorrell’s first season as head coach, earning Pac-12 coach of the year honors. Texas A&M, led by coach Jimbo Fisher, went 9-1 this season and finished No. 4 in the final Associated Press Top 25 rankings. The Aggies are projected as a top-10 team in 2021.
Playing the game in Denver will provide an opportunity for more fans, as well as more revenue for the two schools. Empower Field at Mile High has a capacity of 76,125, compared to 50,183 at Folsom Field in Boulder.
“We are very appreciative of Rick George and the staff at CU for the opportunity to once again host college football at Empower Field at Mile High,” said Jon Applegate, director of events & booking for Empower Field. “Our stadium has become a top destination for sporting events, and we look forward to hosting two premier college football programs in our building in September.”
The game against A&M will not be a part of CU’s season ticket package. However, season ticket holders will have the first opportunity to purchase tickets this spring before the general public. Season ticket renewals for 2021 will go out in March; for more information, call 303-492-8282.
The Buffs are no stranger to playing in Denver. They faced in-state rival Colorado State in Denver 19 times from 1998-2019, including every year from 2010-19. Over the years, the Buffs have played 92 games in Denver, according to CU records, but mostly against in-state schools, such as CSU, Denver, Regis and Colorado Mines.
CU has not faced an out-of-state opponent in Denver since a 14-12 win against Oklahoma on Nov. 28, 1912, in a Thanksgiving Day matchup at Broadway Park.
The Buffs and Aggies have met nine times, with CU leading the series 6-3 (4-1 in Boulder). They met as nonconference foes in 1995 and then eight times, from 1996-2009, when both were in the Big 12. CU won the most recent meeting, 35-34, in Boulder on Nov. 7, 2009.
In 2011, CU left the Big 12 for the Pac-12, and in 2012, A&M left the Big 12 for the SEC. A&M will be the fourth former Big 12 rival CU has faced since leaving the conference, along with Nebraska (2018, 2019), Oklahoma State (2016 Alamo Bowl) and Texas (2020 Alamo Bowl).
CU will face a few more former Big 12 rivals in future years, including Nebraska (2023, 2024), Missouri (2025, 2030) and Kansas State (2027, 2028).
CU is slated to open the 2021 season on Friday, Sept. 3, in Boulder against Northern Colorado. Following the game against A&M on Sept. 11, the Buffs are scheduled to host Minnesota on Sept. 18 in Boulder.
The Pac-12 has not set the conference schedule. However, the conference rotation has the Buffs hosting Arizona, Oregon State, Southern California and Washington; with road trips to Arizona State, California, Oregon, UCLA and Utah.