When allies become rivals: CU, CSU leaders dish on Rocky Mountain Showdown

The Rams play the Buffs Saturday, Sept. 16 at 8 p.m. at Folsom Field in Boulder for the first time since 2009
Colorado Colorado St Football
Posted at 11:46 AM, Sep 15, 2023

BOULDER, Colo. — Colorado State University travels to the University of Colorado Boulder's home turf Saturday for this year's annual Rocky Mountain Showdown.

The Rams play the Buffaloes at Folsom Field in Boulder at 8 p.m. for the first time since 2009. It will air on ESPN. And both ESPN’s “College GameDay” and Fox’s “Big Noon Kickoff” will visit Boulder for the game. For those who are new to Colorado, the Rocky Mountain Showdown is a long-standing tradition between two of the top rival universities in the state.

Fans haven't seen the two teams face off on campus since 1997 because 18 of the last 22 Rocky Mountain Showdowns were played in Denver at Empower Field at Mile High. Next year, the competition for the Centennial Cup will be played in Fort Collins, Colorado.

The Rams enter year two under head coach Jay Norvell.

CSU last won a conference championship 21 seasons ago under coach Sonny Lubick.

The Buffs, on the other hand, are garnering national attention under Coach Deion Sanders, who has led the team to two wins already this season against Texas Christian University and their old rival — the University of Nebraska.

The excitement for the team reached a fever pitch when fans rushed the field last weekend in the CU game against the Nebraska Cornhuskers, and Coach Prime had to be escorted into the locker room for safety's sake, the Associated Press reported.

The crowd at CU was the largest since 2008 on Week 2 with 53,241 people in the stands, according to AP reporting. And the CU-TCU matchup was the most-watched college football game on Sept. 2, with 7.26 million viewers.

CSU President Amy Parsons and CU Chancellor Phil de Stefano talked exclusively with Denver7 Monday ahead of the Rocky Mountain Showdown.

An inside look at the upcoming Rocky Mountain Showdown between CU Boulder and CSU

De Stefano called Coach Sanders' effect on the university community and city's economy "transformational." CSU President Parsons reiterated how it's good for players on both teams this weekend with ESPN's "College GameDay" and Fox's "Big Noon Kickoff" coming to Colorado to cover the match-up.

Colorado State is 0-1 going into the showdown while Colorado is 2-0. CU has won eight of the past 10 match-ups.

"On Saturday, we're rivals but the rest of the time we collaborate together, especially on research that this past year was over a billion dollars now," Chancellor de Stefano said.

So while there will likely be a lot of houses divided this weekend, Parsons and de Stefano agree the combined power of both universities is beneficial for the state.

"We produce the most degrees out of anyone in the state when you combine us together, the most student enrollment, the most degrees, the most alumni in the state, hundreds of thousands of alumni between CSU and CU and our joint research. You know, our faculty are producing thousands of research papers together," Parsons said.