It is now official, well if one reads between the lines. The Rocky Mountain Showdown between the Colorado State Rams and Colorado Buffaloes are very likely ending their in-state rival. Colorado did not officially make the announcement but the Buffaloes 2021 non-conference schedule is complete with the addition of former Big 12 conference member Texas A&M, and the Rams are not one of the three teams on the schedule.
Colorado's athletic director Rick George announced on Feb. 4 that the contract to extend this rivalry to be played in Denver was over.
"After the current contract, playing the game in Denver is dead," George said. "And I'm not sure where our series with CSU goes after that either. Today, we would not extend our agreement (for CU to play CSU in football) past 2020."
it is sad, yet not surprising, that Colorado did not want to play a road, or neutral-site game, against a non-power team, and instead wants to stack its schedule with as many home games as possible. Plus, losing to the Rams isn't good for business in Boulder.
These two teams have played every year since 1995 and the first game of the series was seven years before the turn of the 19th century in 1893. In total, these two teams have played 86 times and the longest stretch the two schools did not play was between 1958-1983. Colorado leads the all-time series with a record of 62–22–2.
These is an interesting note in the press release about the Colorado and Texas A&M series which will allow for the possibility of the game not being played at Folsom Field.
The CU-A&M rivalry will resume on Sept. 19, 2020, at Kyle Field in College Station, with the Aggies to return the game on Sept. 11, 2021, most likely at CU's Folsom Field in Boulder but with a clause in the contract making Sports Authority Field in Denver a possible option.
Now, it is understandable that Texas A&M is a bigger name than Colorado State and could draw a bigger crowd to play in Denver. It seems awfully coincidental that the first year the Rams are not on the schedule the Buffs would choose to have a game in Denver.
2021 has Colorado playing six home games and the seventh would be either at home or down the road in Denver. The other non-conference opponents are Minnesota and UMass.
The comical part about the press release is this statement:
"Schools are scheduling tougher non-conference games in case they are in position for the College Football Playoff or to quality for a ‘New Year's Six' bowl game..."
Adding Texas A&M does do that but Colorado State is very likely to be a better opponent than UMass and maybe even Minnesota. Plus, there is the fact that Colorado has an extremely long way to go to be in the conversation for any big time bowl game, yet alone the College Football Playoff.
This rivalry is not officially dead by any means, but just ask Utah and BYU on how hard it is to get two rivals back on the field after any sort of break of playing each year. Colorado has two non-conference games slated in 2022 and 2023, and the next time these two teams do play it will be at the home of the Buffaloes since the 2020 game is being played in Fort Collins.
Losing this game does hurt Colorado State more than Colorado. Playing the game in Denver allowed for more revenue than what the Rams would get at home, and without knowing the details the Buffaloes might actually have been making less than a home game at Folsom Field.
Also, playing the in-state team that has always been in a better league was a chance for Colorado State to prove they are a good football team, and that still holds true in recent years when Colorado has not been a good football team.
The end result for this rivalry will like come down to playing maybe a few times a decade, if that.