BOULDER — The future of the Colorado/Colorado State game may not be as certain as the schedules indicate.
The in-state rivals have loosely agreed to play until at least 2010. However, after Saturday, when the Buffaloes and Rams square off for the 11th consecutive season, the schools are not legally bound to appear on each other’s schedules.
So, as the institutions continue to debate the permanent location of the game, it’s conceivable to wonder if they will continue it at all. And to listen to the respective athletic directors, it appears the
Rams are more eager than the Buffs to move forward with what has become the state’s biggest football game of the year.
CSU athletic director Mark Driscoll said Monday he is optimistic CU and CSU will continue to play each other and that he “feels like it has developed into a very competitive game that the two schools should definitely play each year.”
Buffs AD Mike Bohn wasn’t nearly as definitive.
“As far as the future games, Mark and I talk on a pretty frequent basis about different scenarios,” he said. “I have tremendous respect for Colorado State and Sonny Lubick, but it’s just a matter of trying to learn more about the different changes in the landscape.”
The biggest issue, one that could end up terminating the series, is whether the schools will play the game in Denver, as they did in 1999-2003. That scenario helps both financially, but only helps CU to the point where the extra money may not be worth giving up home-field advantage.
For that reason, and to satisfy their season-ticket holders, the Buffs have played the game in Boulder the past two years.
In contrast, the game marks the single best payday for the Rams when it’s played in Denver. But even though they will earn $500,000 to play at Folsom Field this year, Driscoll said Monday he is not interested in a scenario where the Rams consistently give up a home date to play in neutral Invesco Field without the same commitment from CU.
“The game should be played in Denver,” Driscoll said. “Both schools have put a lot of money into our stadiums, and we want a return on that investment. But I still think we best serve our fans by having the game in Denver.
“We better be sure we look at all the options and come up with the best solutions.”
Bohn said CU enjoys playing in Denver, but the campus environment is special to his school. While discussing another topic — CU’s trend of having a big-money game first on the schedule — Bohn went as far as to downplay the value of playing CSU at Folsom, suggesting that other opponents may be more profitable.
“I don’t really see the financial gain as a windfall for us,” he said. “We play Wyoming in 2009, and we anticipate that will be a sellout … which is why there is value exploring opportunities regionally.”
The school’s differences got a bit heated this week, when published reports hinted that Driscoll requested only 3,500 tickets for this year’s game at Folsom — 1,500 fewer than last year — in order to prevent Saturday’s game from selling out.
Driscoll insisted the accusation is bogus. He said he requested fewer tickets, all of which have sold, because his department had a difficult time selling 5,000 tickets last year. He said he will not request more tickets this week because it was too close to game time to assume they would sell.
By Monday evening, CU had 2,987 tickets remaining for the game, all of which are available through the school or at any King Soopers outlet.
Although the two schools continue to discuss the future of the series, Bohn said he doesn’t expect any progress until the end of the month.
“Our focus is exclusively on the opener,” he said. “After that we’ll try to get as much information to move forward.”
This and that: After finally earning his eligibility from the NCAA Clearninghouse, freshman tailback Kevin Moyd returned to practice Monday.
He is listed third on the depth chart behind Hugh Charles and Byron Ellis. … Receiver Vance Washington (hamstring), safety Ryan Walters (knee) and offensive linemen Daniel Sanders (elbow) and Edwin Harrison (flu) practiced and are expected to play against CSU. … Dominique Brooks (high-ankle) did not practice and Barnett said he was “very doubtful” for Saturday’s game. … Freshman cornerback Gardner McKay’s transcript from the clearinghouse had not yet been read Monday, meaning he will miss at least two more days before he can return to practice. … Bohn said the school will fall “just short” of it’s attempt to raise $3.7 million by the first of next month, but that donations are approaching $2.5 million and that he expects to have the full amount in the near future.