When Colorado and Nebraska bolted from the Big 12 to join their new conferences after the 2010-11 season, the biggest question was whether these two rivals would play again in the future. It took almost three seasons but the two schools have agreed to renew their football rivalry with a four-game series beginning in 2018.
The two schools will play each other four times between 2018 and 2024. Colorado will host the first meeting on Sept. 8 2018 in Boulder, and the series will shift back to Lincoln, NE the following year on Sept. 7, 2019. There will be almost a four-year break before they player their final two games, starting in 2023 in Boulder and 2024 in Lincoln.
Colorado athletic director Mike Bohn announced the move to a group of boosters and donors during their annual recruiting luncheon and it will be a welcome addition to Colorado’s future non-conference schedule. Colorado and Nebraska played annually for decades while in the Big 12, and their game was almost always played during a prime time slot on the day after Thanksgiving. The Cornhuskers lead the all-time series 49-18-2, winning the final three meetings before they both left for new conferences.
The renewal of this series will probably mean more to Colorado fans than to Nebraska fans mostly because the series has been mostly one-sided, and Cornhusker fans don’t really consider Colorado a “rival”. However, there have been plenty of classic games over the years especially in the late 1980’s when Colorado coach Bill McCartney singled out Nebraska as their designated rival. He circled the game in red on their schedule in an attempt to motivate his team and it sparked a new rivalry after Nebraska had defeated them the previous 18 times in a row leading up to 1986.
Perhaps the most memorable win for Colorado over Nebraska was in 2001, when the Cornhuskers went into Boulder with the No. 1 ranking and got drubbed 62-36. Colorado was ranked No. 15 at the time, and it clinched the Big 12 North title and sent the Buffs to the Big 12 championship game, where they defeated Texas. Somehow, Nebraska still made it to the National Championship game despite not even playing for the conference championship and losing to Colorado, but that’s a whole other argument.
With all that said, renewing the rivalry should set up for some interesting storylines once the games finally roll around in 2018. Of course, none of the players that will be playing in those games will likely remember much about the Colorado-Nebraska rivalry – but they will certainly be reminded when the time comes.