Although the Rocky Mountain Showdown will no longer be an annual part of the Colorado football schedule, the Buffaloes can look forward to facing their in-state rivals several times over the next 18 years.
On Tuesday, CU and Colorado State jointly announced a six-game series that will take the rivalry through 2038.
Beginning in 2029, the two schools will play in a two-on, two-off format.
Currently, the Buffs and Rams are scheduled to play in Boulder in 2023 and Fort Collins in 2024. This new contract, finalized in the past couple of weeks, added three games in Boulder (2030, 2033, 2037) and three in Fort Collins (2029, 2034, 2038).
“This has been a great series for the state, and we wanted to be sure we had games locked in moving forward,” CU athletic director Rick George said. “The two-on, two-off format we’ve adopted provides both schools some flexibility to schedule other non-conference opponents in other parts of the country, which play a role in several factors, including alumni engagement and recruiting. We have some exciting series coming up this decade, but also felt it was prudent to secure CSU deep into the 2030s.”
CU leads the all-time series, 67-22-2. The two schools played every year from 1995-2019, with 19 of the last 22 meetings being held in Denver. CU has won the last five meetings with the Rams.
The Buffs and Rams were scheduled to play last fall at Canvas Stadium in Fort Collins, but the game was canceled because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
When the rivalry is renewed in 2023, it will mark CSU’s first trip to Boulder since 2009. The 2024 matchup will be CU’s first trip to Fort Collins since 1996.
CU’s non-conference schedule is mostly set through 2028. The Buffs have one opening, in week three of the 2025 season; they were scheduled to host Missouri that week, but that game has been moved to 2031. The two-game set Missouri, announced in 2019, will take CU to Columbia, Mo., in 2030 and the Tigers to Boulder in 2031.
Receiver Brenden Rice had several explosive plays last season for the Buffs but has yet to take off this spring. Prior to the start of spring practices, Rice dislocated his finger. Then, he had to go through COVID-19 protocol.
“He needs to get back practicing and playing, that’s his biggest challenge right now,” CU head coach Karl Dorrell said. “He’s not clear to practice yet but he’s out there watching. If he doesn’t start practicing this week, he’s going to miss three weeks of spring practice, so he’s behind, the way I look at it.”
The Buffs have held seven of 15 practices this spring, but even with the missed time, there are high hopes for Rice. As a true freshman in the fall, he caught six passes for 120 yards and two touchdowns and had an 81-yard punt return for a touchdown.
“We do feel like he’s a guy that can really help us, just like he did last year,” Dorrell said. “He has time to kind of get caught up. He’ll probably get a chance to practice the last couple of weeks and spring and then hopefully have a great summer, going into training camp and we’ll see how things stack up. He is missing some valuable time, but he’s just going to have to make it up on the backend.”
Logjam at tight end
CU has 12 tight ends this spring, including five walk-ons, but likely won’t have that many in the fall.
“I’ve never had 12,” Dorrell said. “That’s a lot, I get it, but it’s pretty competitive.
“I like that group. It has a lot of different types of players; guys that are more just in the run game and some guys that are just new to the position. It’s a luxury right now, I guess, having 12. The problem is I don’t think we’re going to be able to carry that many going into training camp.”
CU can bring 120 players into fall camp, and Dorrell said the Buffs will have to figure out how to reduce their numbers at tight end.
“I don’t know what that number will adjust to yet but it probably won’t be 12,” he said.