Rethinking CSU

It’s been 30 years since the Colorado state legislature forced the CSU Rams back onto the Colorado football schedule.

After three decades of dealing with the Ram Nation, is it time to rethink the “rivalry”?

First, some history.

The CU/CSU rivalry, which had laid dormant since 1958, was renewed in 1983. The first game of the renewed rivalry was not very interesting for the casual football fans, with an appropriate 31-3 thrashing by a lousy CU team over an even worse CSU squad.

Over the past three decades, the teams have played 25 times, with CU enjoying a healthy 18-7 advantage. The Buff Nation looks down its nose at the Rams and their fans, with distain and contempt equal to that which Nebraska fans have long held for the Colorado faithful. “There is no rivalry”, proclaims Buff fans, all the while wanting to beat CSU as much or more than any other team on the schedule.

I was there in 1983, watching CU earn a rare (at the time – over any team) easy victory. I was also in Boulder for the first game of the 1986 season. The Buffs had shocked the world in 1985, going from 1-10 in 1984 to 7-5 and a bowl game in 1985. Better things were expected in 1986, but the Buffs were humbled at home in the opener by the Rams, 23-7.

After the loss in 1986, the ship was righted, with Colorado winning the next eight games in the series.

Then, in 1999, there was the riot game, when tear gas met CSU fans at the end of the game as they celebrated a 41-14 victory, the first win in the series since the 1986 game.

The Mile High years in general have been a mixed bag, to put it mildly. For the first six years of the Rocky Mountain Showdown, one of the two teams came into the game with a national ranking. Three times – 1999, 2000, and 2002 – Colorado came into the contest with a national ranking … and lost to the unranked Rams. Three times – 1998, 2001, and 2003 – Colorado State came into the contest with a national ranking … and lost to the unranked Buffs.

Doubt that’s ever happened in any other rivalry.

The vitriol between the two fan bases has only been exacerbated by the neutral site games. With the stadium split between the black-and-gold and green-and-gold (okay, more like 60-40, CU), there is cheering on every play by one side of the stadium. Little brother is placed on an equal stage with big brother, with the Ram fans relishing the opportunity; Buff fans longing for the day when the Rocky Mountain Showdown contract will expire.

Still, the game isn’t that much better for CU fans when the game is in Boulder. In 2004 and 2005, the games were played in Folsom Field, but CU could have lost either or both games, pulling out 27-24 and 31-28 victories.

Then, there were the last two victories by the Rams in the series. The 2009 CSU 23-17 win in Boulder was a very bitter pill to swallow, and the 2012 game (can someone please turn back the clock to the last minute of the first half, and tell the CU coaches to get their act together, and not have a freshman try a fair catch after going for a block??) is a black eye in the history of Colorado football.

Now, Buff fans have to live with a Colorado State athletic department which seems to have it figured out when it comes to fund-raising and facilities upgrades. While the proof will be in the actual turning of shovels, the CSU athletic hierarchy at least seems to have a vision, while the CU administration seem to take every opportunity to give the college football world their latest emulation of the Keystone Kops.

So, there are plenty of reasons to dislike Colorado State University: The games in Denver are awful. The games against CSU are no win propositions – win, and no one notices; lose, and everyone makes fun of the Buffs. The series gives little brother equal billing on the statewide and national stage. And the Ram fans …

But … then there was this past week.

As many of you know, my wife and I have Keeshonds. Regulars on the website know that this past week was the anniversary of our losing my good friend, Mouse.

This past week, one of our current dogs, Maggie, starting urinating blood. The local vet did an ultrasound, and determined that Maggie had a tumor, and possibly cancer. There was nothing more they could do for her in Bozeman, but there was hope for surgery and treatment at the best vet school in the region …

… at Colorado State University.

With no time to waste, Lee drove Maggie down to Ft. Collins over the weekend. After performing more tests, the doctors determined that Maggie did have a tumor, and that it had attached to a kidney. More tests to ensure the viability of the remaining kidney ensued, and they operated on Wednesday to remove the tumor and the affected kidney.

Maggie made it through, and was released Friday.

Maggie was better. And we had the vets at Colorado State University for saving her life.

Now what?

I have the University of Colorado to thank for my education, and for giving me great experiences and lifelong friends. The quality education I received in Boulder has allowed me pursue a career in law, which, in turn, has provided me the resources to adjust my life to help take care of our sick puppy (thank God for pet insurance!).

But it was Colorado State University vets who saved my dog. It was the training and talents of green-and-gold veterinarians and vets in training which gave us back our Maggie.

What to do with that?

Can I continue my 30-year dislike for the Rams?

Can I continue to make fun of Colorado State, knowing that I owe the school and their students so much?

Can I become a CSU fan?




Never gonna happen.

My distain for CU’s little brother to the north remains in tact.

Maggie can be a CSU fan, but not me.

Maybe I’ll get her a green-and-gold bandanna to wear … and tell anyone who asks that she is a Green Bay Packers fan.

7 Replies to “Rethinking CSU”

  1. play the game . it gives both schools a chance to have bragging right to who ever wins. I am a CU fan during the game and after I back both sckools including Air Force. Its turns out to be a better game then its been in years. So who else would take the Rams place, I don”t think that the Rams are always going to be that little bro so easy to kick around. They are also better to play then some 1AA school who wont help the cause once the Buffs get the ball rolling again

  2. Our vet is a CU undergrad and a CSU grad from the vet school. Both degrees hang on his office wall. We trust him with our dogs and he runs with the Buffs.

    Glad you dog is fine. We should continue turning out great vets at CSU and forget playing them in sports. I’d much rather see the Air Force Falcons in Folsom than the CSU Rams at Mile Hi.

  3. I am so glad Maggie is doing well. CSU has had one of the top vet schools in the country for several years and they do great work. However, I still think it is time to do away with the CSU game (personally I would rather see us play Air Force). The CSU game has become very mundane and with hardly any of their fans (even students) showing up, I cannot believe this is good for us financially. Time to move on! Again, glad Maggie is okay.

  4. They also have excellent agriculture, animal husbandry, and forestry programs – basically anything having to do with plants or animals. Glad your dog is going to be OK, and sorry I couldn’t resist the jab.

  5. Stuart:

    I smiled reading the information about Maggie and not only b/c of the excellent work performed by the folks at CSU, which as a dog lover made me very happy. I smiled because my son’s job landed him on the Front Range (he works in Cheyenne Wyoming and lives in Fort Collins). Although he is a Jersey kid himself, as luck would have it upon settling into Fort Collins he meets – and falls in love with – a wonderful young woman. Like Rob, Jess is a Jersey kid. She is also a CSU graduate.

    On 06/06/14 they are to be married, which means that while I could not convince either of my kids to go to school at my Alma mater my daughter-in-law will be from the enemy camp 🙂

    She is also a hell of a good sport. In Coach Embree’s first season we placed friendly wager on the CU/CSU game. My wife and I went out to Boulder in November and Rob/Jess drove down from Fort Collins to watch the CU/Arizona game with us. While she is not exactly smiling in it, Jess was not only agreeable wearing my black CU football jersey to watch the game but to being photographed with it on during the pre-game tailgate.

    Perhaps our tales just go to show that we even though the Rams are our rivals, it is not impossible to find a bit of common ground to share with them….

    ….every now and again.


  6. Did you become an Oregon Duck during the 80’s when their fanbase cared for one of our own? I recall a story during WWI where both trench’s declared a ceasefire on Christmas and enjoyed Christmas day together only to resume the fighting the following day. CSU fans are good people and being their big brother we must do what big brothers do. We must tackle them and rub their face in dog shit and when we get busted we must pick them up and say “sorry bro”.

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