The marquee game circled on most Colorado college football fans’ calendars and that is the Rocky Mountain Showdown which will take a short hiatus after this season before returning until the year 2034. However, this year the fans in the Centennial state will be given the treat of something most have never seen since the mid 1970’s, the University of Colorado Buffaloes lining up against the United States Air Force Academy Fighting Falcons. Not only will this be the first meeting between the two schools in nearly half a century it will be the first time one of the three major collegiate universities in Colorado will be able to claim the title of “State Champ”. This may not be an official title you can bet it won’t be lost on the minds of players or fans when they play 2⁄3 games in early September than again when Air Force and Colorado State, who seems to be the red headed stepchild of the Mountain West due to their sub par performance recently, meet as the regular season wraps up in November.
Until recently when CU made it to the PAC-12 championship game in 2016 Air Force had been seen as the dominant gridiron team in Colorado enjoying a great bowl game appearance streak as well as normally making a run at a conference title by beating CSU more times than not in that stretch as well. One can bet that the Falcons are going to be taking this opportunity to retake their claim to the throne of Colorado college football while trying to erase the 4-16 record against the Buffaloes of Boulder. Folsom Field will be rocking to see how the two teams will ignite the rivalry that had been lain dormant for so long.
The Rams of Colorado State should be paying close attention to the outcome of the game taking place in Boulder just one week after the Rocky Mountain Showdown, September 14th, because if the outcome of the game sees Air Force on top it will tip the scales in favor of the Mountain West Conference over the lowly PAC-12 which has been in decline for sometime. The Rams and Falcons generally have highly contested contests and though I don’t think CSU will regain footing in the head to head rivalry any true Fort Collins fan will tell you when CU looses it is a good day.
The narrative of the “State Champ” is interesting for a couple reasons, the first being it is the first time in 50 years Colorado will be able to have one amongst their Division 1 colleges, the most recent example of this idea being played for in college football goes back to the Bourbon Street Brawl that took place the day before Florida and Miami renewed their rivalry in the 2000 Sugar Bowl which had been dormant for thirteen years prior to the game in which Miami established itself as the undisputed Florida Champ. The stakes won’t be as high in Boulder, especially if the Rams can pull off the upset in the week prior, but you can bet that blue lightning bold on the helmet of the Cadets playing for the Air Force Academy will savor the contact with the gold buckets of mighty CU to prove that service academies will be returning with a vengance.