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Christmas in May …

Come Tuesday, the Colorado home opener on August 29th against North Dakota State will be 100 days away … and Buff fans can’t wait.

There are still many unknowns when it comes to the CU roster, its makeup and its chemistry. The talent has improved, as has the depth – will that translate into more victories? Will the changes in the coaching staff, including two new coordinators, prove to be a sign of Coach Prime’s genius, or of his desperation?

While the countdown to kickoff will soon sneak into double digits in terms of days to wait, Buff fans did get some early presents this past week, whetting our appetites for what’s to come.

Some May gifts …

Non-conference kickoffs being set

CU fans have known for several years who the Buffs would be up against in non-conference opponents for the 2024 season. The return games in the home-and-homes against Nebraska and Colorado State were scheduled years ago, as was the home opener against North Dakota State.

What we now know, though, is the kickoff times and television partners for two of those games.

CU v. North Dakota State … Thursday, August 29th, 6:00 p.m., MT, ESPN … The game had earlier been moved to Thursday night, but it was announced this week that kickoff would be at 6:00 p.m., and that ESPN will carry the game.

This is good news on several fronts.

First, it’s good that the game will kickoff at 6:00 p.m., as opposed to say, 8:30 p.m., like last year’s CSU game, which ended after midnight. It may make it difficult for some Denver-based fans to make it through rush hour traffic in time for kickoff, but that should be offset by the number of empty seats which might have resulted from having a late weeknight start.

Second, it’s clear that the networks are still planning on making money off of the Prime Effect. The fact that CU is playing an FCS school – albeit a very, very good one – has been more than offset by the lure of a prime time Coach Prime game. The only Power Four v. Power Four game on August 29th is North Carolina at Minnesota. Other Big 12 games that Thursday involve Kansas (v. some school named Lindenwood), Utah (v. Southern Utah) and UCF (v. New Hampshire).

Think ESPN will be promoting the CU game the week leading up to the opener?

CU at Nebraska … Saturday, September 7th, 5:30 p.m., MT, NBC … For starters, the announcement that CU will be playing on NBC in Week Two means that, for the third season in a row, CU’s first two games will be on network TV or the flagship ESPN channel. Prior to 2022, that had happened only four other times for the Buffs (1990, 1995, 2003 and 2019).

Second, it’s big that CU will be playing on NBC, which is getting back into college football games not involving Notre Dame. CU has been on NBC seven times in its history, with four of those being Orange Bowl appearances (1962, 1977, 1990 and 1991), as well as two Fiesta Bowls (1993 and 1995). CU was also on NBC for its tie against Tennessee in the Pigskin Classic on Aug. 26, 1990.

More importantly, the CU game at Nebraska will be second NBC prime time game this fall. The Peacock network will open its season with Fresno State at Michigan on September 7th. While the Michigan game will likely not be much of a contest, there will be many eyeballs wanting to see the defending national champions play their first game … and there will be plenty of promotions during the Michigan telecast for the CU/Nebraska game.

CU at Colorado State … Saturday, September 14th … TBD … Kickoff and television partner for the game will likely be announced this week. The Mountain West has the home game rights, with CBS Sports and Fox being the Mountain West’s primary partners.

There are some big games that Saturday: Alabama at Wisconsin (Fox), Texas A&M at Florida (ABC), and Georgia at Kentucky (ABC). The Mountain West will also have the Oregon at Oregon State, a game which will have its own share of intrigue. Considering the CU/CSU game last season drew over 10 million viewers despite a 10:30 p.m., ET, kickoff, it wouldn’t be a surprise to see the Buffs’ trip to Ft. Collins played under the lights as well.

‘Coach Prime’ series has been renewed for a third season

There will be a third season of the “Coach Prime” series on Prime Video.

During its Upfront presentation to advertisers on Tuesday, Amazon announced that the documentary series about Colorado head football coach Deion Sanders would be renewed for another season.

The first season of the “Coach Prime” series followed Sanders during his final season as the head coach at Jackson State in 2022. After Sanders was hired as the head coach at Colorado in December of 2022, Amazon announced it would bring its crew to Boulder for another season.

Season two took viewers behind the scenes of CU’s 2023 season, in which Sanders helped the Buffaloes improve from one win in 2022 to four wins in 2023 while being one of the most-watched teams in the country. The six-episode season debuted in December on Prime Video.

The third season will follow this year’s Buffs as they make a return to the Big 12 Conference and feature two of the best players in the country in quarterback Shedeur Sanders and receiver/cornerback Travis Hunter.

The renewal is a present not only for Coach Prime, but for the Buff Nation. In an era when NIL and collectives help determine rosters, having free money to distribute to players for being a part of the series is a serious bonus.

EA Sports puts Travis Hunter on the cover of its college football video game 

After dazzling at cornerback and wide receiver for Colorado in 2023, Travis Hunter often hears people describe him as a video game player. Now he is on the cover of the long-anticipated return of the college football video game from EA Sports.

Hunter, Texas quarterback Quinn Ewers and Michigan running back Donovan Edwards share the cover of EA Sports College Football 25, set to be released July 19 for PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X. The popular game, which has been on hiatus since 2014, will include all 134 FBS teams and the names, images and likenesses of a large majority of current players.

Even if you are not a gamer, you know that getting the EA Sports video game back in circulation after ten years is a big deal. The game will sell millions of copies, and having a CU player on the cover – a player which game players will want to have on their teams – will only help to build the CU brand.

And it’s coming at a time when having a national brand is crucial to survival for programs hoping to remain relevant for the next round of realignment.

Singe game tickets are now on sale 

Single game tickets went on sale this past week (for season ticket holders. Single game tickets will go on sale for the general public this Tuesday, the 21st), and there were hidden gifts there to be found as well.

I had to pick up some extra tickets for the Baylor and Kansas State games, and I was pleasantly surprised when I went to the website.

CU athletic director Rick George had been quoted that there was a 98% renewal rate for CU season ticket holders, and that he anticipated that every game would sell out for second year in a row.

In scanning over the available seats for the Baylor and Kansas State games, I counted hundreds of unclaimed tickets (so yes, you will still be able to get tickets on Tuesday, if you are not a season ticket holder, and are worried about availability), but it’s not hard to understand Rick George’s optimism about six sell outs this fall.

Why a surprise?


— The bloom is at least a little off of the Coach Prime rose, with CU coming into the season on a six-game losing streak, having finished the final season of the Pac-12 with a 1-8 record; and

— The home schedule is nothing like the 2023 season. Last fall, CU’s first three home games were against Nebraska, Colorado State, and USC. All three of those games have been sellouts – or close to sellouts – even during the seasons of despair in Boulder. This fall, the first three home games are North Dakota State, Baylor, and Kansas State … not exactly huge draws.

For CU to have another season of sold out games – for only the second time in school history – is just this side of amazing.

There are still more than three months left to wait before the 2024 season opener, and there are still plenty of issues to navigate between now and August 29th (not the least of which being the looming House settlement, and it’s impact on the future of the game).

But, at least this week, as the Buffs hit the 100-day mark leading up to the start of the 2024 season, the Buff Nation has plenty to be thankful for … and to be excited about.


3 Replies to “Christmas in May …”

  1. I am hopeful that Coach Prime’s vision will come to fruition this year. If we win we will be bigger than life but if we struggle through a 6-6 season as much as we would take it I could see the national media turning it off.

    1. Agree, I think Prime needs 8+ wins to really be deemed successful. Get more than eight wins and Shedeur’s NFL stock is high, and goes up with each win; six or so wins and he falls a bit. I know captain obvious . If Hunter and Shedeur have great stats & the Buffs win enough, their daft spots, along with those wins will catapult the Buffs recruiting to another level.

      Struggling to add wins in a conference w/o Oregon, USC & UW, wouldn’t be a good look. Here’s to that new O-line & D-lines, get those wins Buffs.

  2. “having free money to distribute to players for being a part of the series is a serious bonus.”

    CU climbed from worst and no budget for NIL to ponying up and hiring Prime, and with it came all the benefits of his fame helping to rebuild the team and get NIL monies that we could of never seen coming before Prime. After the 2 decades of being out of the ranked to get this type of media attention is the kind of opportunities the Buffs needed to rebuild.

    And to help fund Prime’s hiring: “For CU to have another season of sold out games – for only the second time in school history – is just this side of amazing.”

    But this is a long term game changer: “The game will sell millions of copies, and having a CU player on the cover – a player which game players will want to have on their teams – will only help to build the CU brand.”

    Young kids and high school kids playing the game will be seeing Hunter & CU for hours playing the game, add in Coach Prime saying he’s staying for tens years or when he accomplishes what he came to CU to do, and the long term positive effect on recruiting could be worth so much more than Hunter is getting for being the game.

    Shedeur could have great stats this year too, how does that effect the game?

    Win this season and everything that has surprised us so far will be just the beginning of the Prime effect.

    Thanks Stuart for all the historical stats, lot’s of research.

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