Ever since Colorado’s move to the Pac 12 last season, fans have been wondering who will replace Nebraska as the Buffs’ new conference rival. The obvious pick for many is Utah due to the close proximity between the schools and since the Utes’ primary color is red, just like Nebraska’s.
The rivalry has been somewhat forced by the fans and the media but it seems that Colorado has other ideas.
Last night at the Parade of Buffs event, a rally featuring legendary Colorado athletes, former head coach Bill McCartney announced to the people in attendance that each season Colorado was going to highlight the USC and UCLA games in “red”.
What does this mean exactly? Well, let me explain.
Back when coach Mac was hired in 1982 he immediately singled out Nebraska to be Colorado’s main rival in order to motivate his team. At the time, Nebraska was a perennial powerhouse and Colorado had struggled against them losing 14 straight games. He highlighted the Nebraska game in red and wanted to use that game as a measuring stick of Colorado’s success and how far they needed to go.
It took four years but Colorado finally beat Nebraska in 1986, in stunning fashion, upsetting the #3 ranked Cornhuskers 20-10. After that game, the Buffs finally felt like they could threaten Nebraska every year and compete for the Big 8 title.
The fans have been wondering who Colorado’s next rival(s) would be and the question was answered last night. McCartney’s explanation behind the selection of the two Los Angeles area teams is that they are two of the best teams in the Pac 12 and to be the best you have to beat the best.
Most fans around the Pac 12 will understandably roll their eyes at this and say Colorado will never be on the level of those two teams. However, that’s exactly what happened in 1982 when Colorado singled out Nebraska, many people thought that the Buffs would never properly matchup with the Cornhuskers but within four years they did. Nebraska never thought of Colorado as its main rival, they considered Oklahoma as their historical rival, and I’m guessing that USC and UCLA will feel the same way.
I’m not saying that history will repeat itself and Colorado will be beating USC and UCLA consistently within the next four seasons but it’s something for the program to strive for.