Colorado-Colorado State Football Series Could Be Ending

By Kevin Kelley -

Colorado and Colorado State have met in football for 20 consecutive seasons and 88 times overall. But the annual series could be coming to an end, according to Colorado athletic director Rick George.

George told The Denver Post Wednesday that it’s in Colorado’s “best interest” to play the game at campus stadiums and not on an annual basis.

“I think our best interest is to move games under the contract to campus sites and then, after 2020, I’m not sure (the series) is in our best interest, and that’s why at this point I wouldn’t extend it,” George said.

Colorado and Colorado State entered into a new agreement in 2009 that extended the series through the 2020 season. The games from 2010 through 2019 were set for Sports Authority Field at Mile High in Denver, while the final game in 2020 is to be played at Colorado State’s on-campus stadium, Sonny Lubick Field at Hughes Stadium in Fort Collins.

Rick George has even attempted to move all remaining games scheduled in Denver (2015-19) to campus site, but Colorado State and the Denver Broncos have apparently not budged on the issue.

“We have approached all parties to bring the games back on campus and we have not been able (to accomplish that),” George said. “We have a contract (through 2020) and we will honor that.”

Colorado wants to move the “Rocky Mountain Showdown” with Colorado State to campus stadiums for a few reasons. First, he says that’s what the majority of fans and season ticket holders want.

Second, Colorado and all other Pac-12 teams have a scheduling imbalance due to the conference playing a nine-game schedule. Every other year, each Pac-12 team has only four conference games at home, which leaves them with the need to schedule a minimum of two non-conference home games to get to six.

And to get seven home games, like most programs want for additional revenue and budget concerns, they would have to schedule three non-conference games at home.

Colorado can’t do that when they play Colorado State in Denver each season. They also aren’t getting maximum revenue out of the neutral-site game due to low ticket sales.

After learning of Colorado’s position on the matter, Colorado State interim athletic director John Morris weighed in.

“CSU is ready to compete in this storied rivalry well beyond 2020, but it takes two teams to compete,” Morris told the Reporter-Herald.

Morris further stated that Colorado State would be open to negotiations, including rotating the game between Fort Collins, Boulder, and Denver, but they would not agree to a two-for-one.

“No, we cannot agree to two games in Boulder and one in Fort Collins,” Morris said. “It would have to be a fair agreement.”

Hopefully Colorado and Colorado State will come to an agreement and continue to play even if it has to be every other year or on a site rotating basis. College football has already lost a few rivalry games due to realignment (Texas-Texas A&M, Kansas-Missouri). We’d hate to see another one fall by the wayside.

Football Schedules

  1. Dave
    February 5, 2015 at 1:03 pm

    Yes, would hope this series could continue, but I do see Colorado’s point. CSU would have to be their only non-conference road game every other year. It would prevent them from playing anyone else on the road short of having only 6 home games some seasons.

    • schoup
      February 5, 2015 at 1:15 pm

      Colorado would not have agreed to the terms set thru 2020 now. The deal was made in 2009 when Colorado was in B12 when they still had 12 teams and played 8 conf games. Even if Colorado was in a 10 team B12 they deal would not be agreed to. The deal is bad for Colorado with 9 game conf schedule.

      Why CSU is enamored with a low ticket sales neutral site over switching to pure home and home thru 2020 is weird. Even in the quote CSU still wantsa rotation including home, home and neutral.

  2. jungle84
    February 5, 2015 at 1:19 pm

    So CU has lost the Nebraska rivalry to conference realignment. They’re thinking about ditching the big in-state rivalry. The closest thing to a rival in the PAC 12 is Utah. It’s hard to generate excitement for a team without some measure of rivalry and history. It’d be a shame to flush away all the tradition in pursuit of money.

    • schoup
      February 5, 2015 at 5:33 pm

      Colorado and Nebraska have a 4 game series set. Calling it a rivalry is being generous since Nebraska leads 49-18-2..over the last 20 it;s 15-4-1 for Nebraska. This was hardly a pinnacle rivalry like OU/ nebraska which in most years decided the old Big 8 and who was going to the orange bowl

  3. Bilbo
    February 5, 2015 at 1:50 pm

    Colorado State is on the way up. The Buffalo on the way down. Colorado would be wise not to mess with this in-state rivalry. The Buffalo pressuring the Rams into changing the contract to 2-for-1 deals is pure ego.

    But indeed rotating it to the campus sites (and every third year in Mile High) makes sense. Games on campus are best. Why the previous AD’s contract for all the games off-campus? I have to ask who made off well in those contract negotiations?

    The question now is how much would the two Colorado teams have to pay the Broncos to buyout from playing every year at Mile-High?

  4. Shep
    February 5, 2015 at 2:02 pm

    CU wanting the game to be on-campus makes sense, I don’t see Michigan and Michigan State having any desire to play at Ford Field against one another, although OSU does use their state’s pro stadiums are a fairly regular basis to play in-state teams.

    • Tony O
      February 18, 2015 at 8:21 pm

      True that OSU does play at pro stadiums in their state but they only do that when they are the “visiting” team.

  5. Bilbo
    February 5, 2015 at 2:27 pm

    Do Buff fans enjoy those home-and-homes with San Jose St, Fresno St and Mass more than the CSU rivalry? Not.

    The Colorado AD is covering up for his inability to contract a P5 to a home-and-home since entering the Pac12 in 2011. Epic fail! Moving from the B12 to P12 is his old excuse for Colorado’s non-conference scheduling impotency.

    Colorado should keep the in-state rivalry with the Rams going, while scheduling Nebraska as much as possible. Both can be done.

    But get the CU-CSU game back on campus.

  6. G of F
    February 5, 2015 at 2:45 pm

    Ego> tradition? Ego killed aTm/UT, Kansas/Missouri, Utah/BYU etc.

  7. Bilbo
    February 5, 2015 at 2:57 pm

    Rivalry games are typically kept on campus for a reason. So fans can immerse in the total rivalry experience. And of course for the economic incentive. Playing the game in a neutral pro stadium significantly waters the experience down.

    Ohio St doesn’t have any in-state rivalries although they do often schedule a MAC team but not to a home-and-home. Last such game in a pro stadium was 2009 vs Toledo (in Cleveland). But that is not a rivalry (although I’m sure Toledo would like it to be, if nothing else but for the big pay day every season and not needing to travel far. But Toledo fans acquiring tix for that game was a difficult exercise).

    But the point here is Ohio State very rarely plays a road game outside of the horseshoe with a non-power program, but will sell out anywhere a game is played. Colorado does not, even when the game is played just a few miles out of town.

    The Rocky Mountain Showdown must continue!

    • Evan
      February 5, 2015 at 3:22 pm

      The only 2 road nonconf gms I can remember Ohio St playing are @Cal in 2013, @Miami FL in 2011, and @ VT in 2015, and @ Navy in 2014

    • schoup
      February 5, 2015 at 5:35 pm


      Are you 16 years old and just started watching CFB to make such a statement.

  8. Bilbo
    February 5, 2015 at 3:59 pm

    Ohio State has a solid P5 home-and-home schedule. 14-15 VT; 16-17 Okla; 18-19 TCU; 20-21 Oregon; 22-23 Texas; 22-23 ND; 23-24 BC

    As you can see the Buckeyes are willing to schedule home-and-homes with programs around the country. Same is true for Texas, UCLA, Oregon, Stanford, USC, LSU, Tennessee, Michigan St, Nebraska, Wisconsin, TCU, Miami-Fl, and Virginia.

    Much different for Alabama, Georgia, Florida, Texas A&M, and the two Missi’s, and [cough] Baylor.

    • gamedayaggie
      February 23, 2015 at 5:59 pm

      Texas A&M schedules home and home series around the nation… they also have neutral site games with Arkansas and with Arizona State next year. A&M also have a home and home with UCLA and Clemson on their future schedule.

  9. Bilbo
    February 5, 2015 at 4:03 pm

    The Navy game was not a road game. It was on a neutral site.

    The Cal, VT, and Miami are from P5 conference, not a non-power conference.

    The point is Ohio State doesn’t schedule home-and-homes with G5 programs.

  10. Jim
    February 5, 2015 at 4:07 pm

    Sec never even travels out of their stadium let alone to dominant Resource 5 teams. Georgia and South Carolina will usually schedule a couple of Resource 5 teams a year. Plus Sec only plays 8 conference games.

    • Phil B
      February 5, 2015 at 5:51 pm

      Really? Auburn played at K State, Arkansas visited Texas Tech and Tennessee traveled to Oklahoma ion 2014. Guess you missed those

    • Maverick
      February 5, 2015 at 7:19 pm

      @Phil B, you are missing his point. First off, the fact that you can name all of the P5 non-conference games is a joke. (Don’t forget WVU). Second, all of the teams from a 14 team conference that don’t play a P5 end up playing some scrub combo of FCS and Sunbelt games. Third, the SEC only plays 8 conference games. Fourth, if an SEC team wants to go to a bowl game, all they have to do is go 2-6 in their conference. WOW. Any team with a losing conference record shouldn’t go to a bowl game.

      So in conclusion, the SEC’s schedule is weak, and they were proven to be overrated in the new era of CFP.

  11. Jim
    February 5, 2015 at 4:11 pm

    Colorado should schedule a Fcs team so they have a chance to win. If I was Colorado st. Would never schedule a 2-1 with a weak resource 5 team like Colorado.

  12. mrvandy212
    February 5, 2015 at 4:12 pm

    Everywhere I’ve read about this, it’s stated that the home-and-home would start in 2016, not 2015.

    I agree with Colorado that it should be home-and-home. I also believe that they are threatening to end the annual rivalry as a ploy to get what they really want, a home-and-home starting in 2016. The home game with CSU would be in odd years, when they play only four conference home games, so that also matches up well.

    Aside from all of this, I’d like to see Colorado restart a series with Air Force on an annual basis.

    • Andrew
      February 5, 2015 at 7:18 pm

      CU season ticket holder, and I have a couple takes-

      One, I hate this game. There are very few P5-non P5 “rivalry” set ups like this-Diss Colorado all you want, but understand that we have won 3 of the last 5 games against CSU and 6 of the last 10. I don’t wanna compare it to Ohio State playing (insert the name of your favorite MAC school here) because I understand that we are nowhere near that level, but try this—Stanford playing San Jose State yearly home and home. It was fine when we were in the Big 12 and getting three additional home games a year, but don’t kid yourself-We would not have agreed to this setup after the conference change.

      Second, Sports Authority Field is an awful venue for a college football game. Its one of the best homefield advantages in the NFL, but it sucks as a college football venue. Its hard to get to, and the Denver PD are EVERYWHERE when these games take place. College Football (with very few exceptions) belongs on campus.

      Third, no annual home and home-We play nine league games, and get four home games every other year. We can’t have setups like the one we have in 2017 (CSU in Denver, at San Jose State-which our former AD agreed to, and Northern Colorado at home)…..that gives us five true home games. Unacceptable.

  13. bradleysmith1212
    February 5, 2015 at 7:02 pm

    The truth: Colorado wants to become bowl-eligible again someday. The easiest way to do that is to buy a couple of wins…er,… home games against FCS and Idaho or NMSU. Then, Colorado has a fighting chance at 6 wins, even if they only get 3 or 4 wins in the PAC (which would be a HUGE upgrade from their recent performances).

  14. bradleysmith1212
    February 5, 2015 at 7:06 pm

    I honestly foresee Colorado St. easily replacing Colorado with BYU. BYU would readily agree to renew a frequent, if not annual, Colorado St.-BYU game – including games at Mile High.

  15. Jeff
    February 5, 2015 at 7:06 pm

    It’s definitely a tricky situation. I know that Texas/OU comes up as an issue with scheduling more times than it is made public. If it weren’t a conference game, and the conference schedule weren’t set up basically based around it so that there are always 4 home games and 4 away games in conference, the series would likely have been made home/home by now. Since the conference views this series as important they’ve made sure that schedules work in the most ideal way around it. It still makes it difficult for either school to get the ideal number of home games (7) very frequently and it has had an affect on OOC scheduling in the past for sure. Right now UT seems to be going out of their way to schedule tough OOC games regardless of whether that means they’ll rarely get a 7th home game, but I also know that they’d really like to have the option of a 7th home game or an occasional OOC neutral site game, and the neutral site game is VERY limiting for that.

    I get why a lot of you don’t think this series should end, but I think Colorado’s concerns in this matter make a lot of sense. Home/home would be ideal for them at this point. The question is whether Colorado is going to be a stickler about trying to get a 2-for-1 series or not. If they are, then yeah, they’re part of why this series might end. If they’re truly interested in doing a home/home series 1 for 1? Then they aren’t causing the problem here.

    Of course, word is that CSU’s home stadium doesn’t have a lot of appeal to it anyway at the moment so there’s that too…

  16. K Bear
    February 5, 2015 at 9:18 pm

    Just posturing, it is the largest revenue generator and highest attended game for both schools. According to a local newspaper article in 2013 even though attendance is down for the series both schools still generate more revenue with it played in Denver. “CU’s profit was $1 million more than it could make playing the game before a sellout crowd in its 53,613-seat stadium in Boulder, assistant athletic director for business operations Cory Hilliard said.” Attendance was up for 2014 so if they lost money with a higher attendance then something is majorly wrong. If the series does end it looks to me more like desperation from CU to try and schedule some easy wins.

  17. Kendall H.
    February 6, 2015 at 8:50 am

    It is in CU’s best interest …. because more times than not, they lose that game.

  18. Stephen
    February 6, 2015 at 11:25 am

    Speaking solely in terms of football, Colorado by and large hasn’t even been competitive with the majority of the PAC-12 since joining in 2011. This coming after the fact they weren’t competitive in the Big-12 for their last 3-5 seasons with that conference either. They have been an absolute doormat most of the time. Colorado hasn’t even been to a bowl game since 2007 and haven’t had an over .500 season since 2005. THAT is what is affecting their ticket sales and fan interest. I know it’s all about the money, I get that… but perhaps they should explore joining the Mountain West and playing CSU as a home and home conference game. They’d also have regional rivals with the Air Force Academy and the University of Wyoming. They could play more regional match-ups, accumulate more wins, actually have a few winning seasons and division/conference titles. THAT is what would input a new fire into their fan base. They would also have more home games every year… Not really the point of the article but I’m just interested if this has ever even been remotely discussed.

  19. dmayeranderson
    February 6, 2015 at 11:56 pm

    The game in Denver used to be great, but lost it’s luster when both programs experienced a slide around 2006. Games from 97-2003 had over 70,000 fans and the 2003 game had over 76,000. CSU is on the upswing, but the Buffs still stink. If CU improves, the game could be viable in Denver, but I’m not opposed to the game being moved back to campuses. No way to a 2 for 1 though. There aren’t many so-called power 5 and not rivalries. Perhaps Utah-Utah St. As a university, CSU belongs in a better conference. As a football program, we’re getting there.

    • Fred Barney
      February 10, 2015 at 11:58 pm

      CSU maybe does belong in a better conference but there aren’t any shopping. The only two potentials would probably not (big-12) and never (pac-12) take CSU.

  20. Stuart
    February 7, 2015 at 1:57 am

    This is one of the last two P5 vs G5 rivalry games. Navy vs Notre Dame, which has a deep tradition going back to Navy helping Notre Dame stay open during WWII that put it in perpetuity. This rivalry in Colorado is a dinosaur, and amazing it will lats out the decade. The Stanford vs. SJSU recently ended for many of the same reasons this one probably will in a few years. It took intervention by the State legislature to keep it running, but no doubt the UC board is pushing back.

    The growing gap between G5 and P5 resources to apply to athletics (Media contracts alone are on the order of $300m more per decade now, other revenue streams and endorsements are also much greater, and so is gate) puts more pressure on P5 schools to up their game and maximize their incomes to keep pace in the arms race. Games like this one are victim. Boulder is looking at $3-4m more in net revenue annually by playing another home game. CSU on the other hand needs this game, as much for credibility as for revenue (heck they can always schedule a road game against Ohio State or Alabama or Oregon to raise money). So CSU fans will be upset. I know I was when SJSU and Stanford effectively came to an end. That game too was on the decline for several years, and Stanford was adding a 9th Pac-12 game and Notre Dame to the annual schedule. The math was inescapable. Same thing here.

    Enjoy the next five games, they are probably the last ones.

    • Drew
      February 9, 2015 at 11:15 am

      TCU-SMU is hanging on, although it was a G5 game until the last couple years.

      But I get the sentiment. Gone are WVU-Marshall, Ole Miss-Memphis, Stanford-SJSU, Miss St-So. Miss, OK St-Tulsa, and probably a couple others I can’t remember. Cinci-Louisville was a conference game but that one is gone. Cinci-Miami Oh. is now a G5 game.

    • Fred Barney
      February 11, 2015 at 12:02 am

      Tennessee and Memphis….
      ECU and the ACC NC squads, also ECU VT
      These don’t need to go every year though. Just try to keep something of it alive every few years.

  21. Tom Stein
    February 17, 2015 at 4:48 pm

    And don’t forget the Nebraska-Oklahoma rivalry ended when the Cornhuskers joined the Big Ten (B1G) in 2011, although they have a pair of games scheduled for the 2020s decade (2021 at Norman, OK and 2022 in Lincoln, NE).

  22. Colin
    September 26, 2015 at 4:51 pm

    The interactions between the two student sections has gotten to a point of embarrassment for both sides. Continuing this rivalry does not benefit Colorado in any way and they have scheduled more difficult, Power 5 opponents in place of CSU. The end of this rivalry is in the best interest of CU and thus if CSU will not agree to a 2 for 1 then Colorado does not care and will happily move on without playing them. Also, to use a point from above mocking the Cu-Nebraska rivalry based on overall record, you would have to deem this series “not a rivalry” as well since the Buffs lead 63-22-2

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