Colorado Buffaloes football

Colorado Buffaloes football
2016 Colorado Buffaloes football team
First season 1890 (1890)
Athletic director Rick George
Head coach Mike MacIntyre
4th year, 2029 (.408)
Stadium Folsom Field
Year built 1924[1]
Seating capacity 50,183[1]
Field surface Natural Grass
Location Boulder, Colorado
NCAA division Division I FBS
Conference Pac-12 (2011–present)
Division South (2011–present)
Past conferences Independent (1890–1892)
CFA (1893–1904)
Independent (1905)
CFA (1906–1908)
RMAC (1909–1937)
Mountain States (1938–1947)
Big Eight (1948–1995)
Big 12 (1996–2010)
All-time record 68148136 (.583)
Bowl record 1216 (.429)
Claimed nat'l titles 1 (1990)
Conference titles 26[2]
Division titles 5 (4 Big 12 North)
(1 Pac-12 South)
Heisman winners 1 [3]
Consensus All-Americans 30 (5 unanimous) [4]
Current uniform
Colors Black, Gold, and Silver[5]
Fight song Fight CU
Mascot Ralphie
Marching band Golden Buffalo Marching Band
Rivals Colorado State Rams
Utah Utes
Nebraska Cornhuskers

The Colorado Buffaloes football program represents the University of Colorado Boulder in college football at the NCAA Division I FBS level. The team is currently a member of the Pac-12 Conference, having previously been a charter member of the Big 12 Conference. Before joining the Big 12, they were members of the Big Eight Conference. The CU football team has played at Folsom Field since 1924.[1] The Buffs all-time record is 681–491–36 (.583 winning percentage) through the finish of the 2014 season. Colorado won a National Championship in 1990. The football program is 23rd on the all-time win list and 30th in all-time winning percentage. The football team also has the distinction of being the all-time NCAA leader in 4th down conversions. They are one of two NCAA Division I teams to complete a 5th down conversion (the other being Cornell). This was a result of a mistake by the officials and happened on a play displayed by chaincrew as the 4th down.


Beginning in 1890, Colorado football has enjoyed much success throughout its 125+ years of competitive play. The Buffaloes have won numerous bowl games (28 appearances in bowl games (12–16), 36th all-time), eight Colorado Football Association Championships (1894–97, 1901–1903, 1908), Colorado Faculty Athletic Conference (1909), eight RFMAC Championships (1910-11, 1913, 1923–24, 1934–35, 1937), four Mountain States Conference Championships (1939, 1942–44), five Big Eight conference championships (1961, 1976, 1989-91), one Big 12 conference championship (2001), four Big 12 North Division Championships (2001-02, 2004-05), and a National Championship (1990, Associated Press).

Folsom Field was built in 1924, and since then, Colorado has a 301–165–14 record at home through the 2014 season. The road game against the Nebraska Cornhuskers on November 24, 2006 was Colorado's 1,100th football game. The game on September 12, 2015 against Massachusetts was the school's 1,200th football game.

1990 national championship

Colorado won its first national championship in 1990 under the direction of head coach Bill McCartney, who helmed the team from 1982 to 1994. The national title was split with Georgia Tech who won the United Press International Coaches Poll, whereas Colorado won the Associated Press and Football Writers Association of America polls. The largest arguments against Colorado were that they had a loss and a tie, whereas Georgia Tech had a tie and no losses, and Colorado's "unfair" win in the Fifth Down Game against Missouri. Another major controversy was a Colorado's Orange Bowl win over Notre Dame, which Colorado won in part because of a controversial clipping call that brought back a Notre Dame touchdown. The major argument for Colorado was that they played a more difficult schedule than Georgia Tech.[6] Colorado capped the season with a 10–9 win over Notre Dame in the Orange Bowl, a rematch of the 1989 season Orange Bowl Game which Notre Dame won 21–6. Colorado's tie came against Tennessee, who was ranked #8, the first week of the season when Colorado was ranked #5. The second week gave the Buffs a scare, scoring with 12 seconds left in the game on a 4th and Goal attempt. The next week gave Colorado its only loss of the season, losing 23–22 to Illinois and dropping Colorado to #20 in the polls. Colorado then went on to beat teams ranked (at the time) #22 Texas, #12 Washington, #22 Oklahoma, and #3 Nebraska. They ended the season 7–0 in the Big Eight Conference for the second straight season. They then capped the season with a win over Notre Dame who were number 1 until a loss in their second to last game of the regular season.[7]

1990 Final AP Poll
Rank School Record (W-L-T) Points
1 Colorado (39) 11–1–1 1,475
2 Georgia Tech (20) 11–0–1 1,441
3 Miami (FL) (1) 10–2 1,388
4 Florida State 10–2 1,303
5 Washington 10–2 1,246
6 Notre Dame 9–3 1,179
7 Michigan 9–3 1,025
8 Tennessee 9–2–2 993
9 Clemson 10–2 950
10 Houston 10–1 940
11 Penn State 9–3 907
12 Texas 10–2 887
13 Florida 9–2 863
14 Louisville 10–1–1 775
15 Texas A&M 9–3–1 627
16 Michigan State 8–3–1 610
17 Oklahoma 8–3 452
18 Iowa 8–4 370
19 Auburn 8–3–1 288
20 So. California 8–4–1 266
21 Mississippi 9–3 253
22 Brigham Young 10–3 246
23 Virginia 8–4 188
24 Nebraska 9–3 185
25 Illinois 8–4 146

Yearly results



A traditional college football rivalry with the Nebraska Cornhuskers restarted in the 1980s (many historical documents show the importance of this game going back to 1898) when Bill McCartney declared the conference opponent to be their rival. His theory was since Nebraska was such a powerhouse team, if Colorado was able to beat them then they would be a good team. Colorado began to repeatedly threaten Nebraska in the late 1980s, following their win over the Huskers in 1986, and then surpassed the Huskers for the Big 8 crown in 1989.

In 1990, Colorado beat Nebraska 27–12 in Lincoln for the first time since 1967, en route to their first national title. From 1996–2000, the series was extremely competitive, with the margin of victory by NU in those five years being only 15 points combined. The rivalry was further buoyed by the introduction of the Big 12 Conference in 1996, which moved Oklahoma & Oklahoma State to the southern division with the four new schools from Texas, formerly in the Southwest Conference. Nebraska had traditionally finished the Big 8 conference schedule with a rivalry game with Oklahoma, but the two were now in different divisions, which meant they met every other year in the regular season. Colorado replaced Oklahoma as Nebraska's final conference game of the regular season, which further intensified the rivalry. In 2001 #1 Nebraska came to Folsom Field undefeated and left at the short end of a nationally televised 62–36 blowout. Both teams departed the Big 12 in 2011, as NU headed east to join the Big Ten and the future of the rivalry was in doubt. On February 7, 2013, Colorado and Nebraska agreed to renew the rivalry.[8][9][10][11][12][13] Colorado will travel in 2018 to Lincoln, and then return to Boulder in 2019. After a 3-year break, Nebraska will go to Boulder in 2023 and then host CU again the next year to finish the series. Nebraska currently leads the series 49–18–2.

Colorado State

Colorado's in-state rival is the Colorado State Rams of the Mountain West Conference, located north of Boulder in Fort Collins. The two schools are separated by 45 miles (72 km) and both consider it important and noteworthy to beat the other for bragging rights for the next year. The two football teams annually compete in the Rocky Mountain Showdown for the Centennial Cup, played in Denver, Fort Collins, and Boulder. The trophy takes its name from the state of Colorado's nickname of "The Centennial State". Colorado currently leads the series 64–22–2.


Main article: Rumble in the Rockies

The rivalry with Utah ran from 1903–62, in which Utah and Colorado played each other nearly every year; through 1962 they had met 57 times.[14] At the time, it was the second-most played rivalry for both teams (Utah had played Utah State 62 times;[15] Colorado had played Colorado State 61 times[16]). The rivalry was dormant until 2011, when both teams joined the Pac-12, renewing the rivalry on an annual basis. The Colorado–Utah rivalry remains the fifth-most played rivalry in Utah's history, and eighth-most in Colorado's history.[17][18]

Move to the Pac-12

On June 10, 2010, the Colorado Buffaloes accepted an invitation to become the 11th member of the Pac-12 Conference.[19] The move represented the first expansion of the Pacific-10 Conference since it added Arizona and Arizona State in 1978.[20] The Buffaloes began play in the Pac-12 in 2011. Moving from the Big 12 to the Pac-12 did not stop the Colorado vs Colorado State rivalry. This rivalry game will continue to be played through the 2020 season.[21] The rivalry game with the Colorado State Rams will be played at Sports Authority Field in Denver until 2019.[22]

All-time record vs. Pac-12

Opponent Won Lost Tied Pct Streak First Last
Arizona 14 5 .737 Won 1 1931 2015
Arizona State 1 7 .125 Won 1 2006 2016
California 3 5 .375 Lost 1 1968 2014
Oregon 9 12 .429 Won 1 1949 2016
Oregon State 4 5 .444 Won 2 1931 2016
Stanford 4 6 .400 Won 1 1904 2016
UCLA 3 9 .250 Won 1 1980 2016
USC 0 11 .000 Lost 11 1927 2016
Utah 32 28 3 .532 Won 1 1903 2015
Washington 5 9 1 .367 Lost 6 1915 2014
Washington State 6 4 .600 Won 1 1981 2016
Totals 75 100 4 Pct .430

Bowl results

Colorado Bowl Scoreboard (Won 12, Lost 16)
Date Bowl Opponent Result Score Attendance TV
1938 Cotton Rice L 14 28 35,000
1957 Orange Clemson W 27 21 72,552 NBC
1962 Orange LSU L 7 25 62,391 NBC
1967 Bluebonnet Miami (FL) W 31 21 30,156 ABC
1969 Liberty Alabama W 47 33 50,144 ABC
1970 Liberty Tulane L 3 17 44,500 ABC
1971 Astro-Bluebonnet Houston (N) W 29 17 54,720 ABC
1972 Gator Auburn L 3 24 71,114 ABC
1975 Astro-Bluebonnet Texas L 21 38 52,728 ABC
1977 Orange Ohio State (N) L 10 27 65,537 NBC
1985 Freedom Washington L 17 20 30,961 Lorimar
1986 Bluebonnet Baylor L 9 21 40,470 Raycom
1988 Freedom Brigham Young (N) L 17 20 35,941 Raycom
1989 Orange Notre Dame (N) L 6 21 81,191 NBC
1990 Orange Notre Dame (N) W 10 9 77,062 NBC
1991 Blockbuster Alabama (N) L 25 30 52,644 CBS
1993 Fiesta Syracuse L 22 26 70,224 NBC
1993 Aloha Fresno State W 41 30 44,009 ABC
1995 Fiesta Notre Dame W 41 24 73,968 NBC
1996 Cotton Oregon W 38 6 58,214 CBS
1996 Holiday Washington (N) W 33 21 54,749 ESPN
1998 Aloha Oregon W 51 43 34,803 ABC
1999 Boston College W 62 28 35,762 ESPN
2001 Fiesta Oregon L 16 38 74,118 ABC
2002 Alamo Wisconsin (N)(OT) L 28 31 50,690 ESPN
2004 Houston Texas-El Paso W 33 28 27,235 ESPN
2005 Champs Sports Clemson L 10 19 31,470 ESPN
2007 Independence Alabama L 24 30 47,043 ESPN

Current coaching staff

Name Position
Brian Lindgren[23] Co-Offensive Coordinator/Quarterbacks
Darrin Chiaverini Co-Offensive Coordinator/Wide Receivers/Recruiting Coordinator
Jim Leavitt Defensive Coordinator/Linebackers
Klayton Adams Offensive Line
Gary Bernardi Tight Ends/Fullbacks
Darian Hagan Running Backs
Charles Clark Cornerbacks
Jim Jeffcoat Defensive Lineman
Joe Tumpkin Safeties

Head coaches

The Buffaloes have played in 1,109 games during their 125 seasons, through 2014. In those seasons, nine coaches have led Colorado to postseason bowl games: Bunny Oakes, Dallas Ward, Bud Davis, Eddie Crowder, Bill Mallory, Bill McCartney, Rick Neuheisel, Gary Barnett, and Dan Hawkins. Nine coaches have won conference championships with the Buffaloes: Fred Folsom, Myron Witham, William Saunders, Oakes, Jim Yeager, Sonny Grandelius, Mallory, McCartney, and Barnett.

McCartney is the all-time leader in games coached with 153, total wins with 93, and conference wins with 58.[24] Folsom had the longest tenure as head coach, remaining in the position for 15 seasons. Harry Heller and Willis Keinholtz are tied for the highest overall winning percentage. Each served a single season and won eight of his nine games for a winning percentage of .889. Of coaches who served more than one season, Folsom leads with a .765 winning percentage. Davis, in terms of overall winning percentage, is the worst coach the Buffaloes have had with a .200 winning percentage. No Colorado coach has been inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame. McCartney is the only coach to have won national coach of the year honors, with all of them coming in 1989. Barnett won conference coach of the year honors in 2001 and 2004. The most recent coach, Mike MacIntyre, was hired on Dec. 10, 2012.[25] MacIntyre has compiled a 20-29 record in four seasons at Colorado. In 2016, MacIntyre lead Colorado to a 10-2 regular season and a trip to the Pac-12 Championship Game. It was the first winning season for Colorado since 2005, ending a 10 year streak of finishing below .500. 2016 was also the best season for the Buffaloes since 2001. As well, it marked their first time playing in a conference championship game since the 2005 Big 12 Championship Game. The team also went 8-2 in the Pac-12 after having five conference wins in the previous five seasons.

Notable players


Heisman Trophy

Rashaan Salaam's Heisman Trophy

Rashaan Salaam won Colorado's only Heisman Trophy in 1994,[3] though the Buffaloes have had many other players receive votes:

Year Name Position Rank in Heisman voting Points
1937 Byron White HB 2nd 264
1961 Joe Romig OG/LB 6th 279
1969 Bobby Anderson TB 11th 100
1971 Charlie Davis TB 16th 28
1989 Darian Hagan QB 5th 242
1990 Eric Bieniemy TB 3rd 798
Darian Hagan QB 17th 17
Mike Pritchard WR 50th 2
1991 Darian Hagan QB 20th 12
1992 Deon Figures CB 30th 4
1993 Charles Johnson WR 15th 24
Michael Westbrook WR 61st 1
1994 Rashaan Salaam TB 1st 1743
Kordell Stewart QB 13th 16
2002 Chris Brown TB 8th 48

Other award winners



1989 Bill McCartney

College Football Hall of Fame


The following is a list of Consensus All-Americans from CU as listed in NCAA record books.[4]

Colorado's All-Century Team 1890–1989

Taken from the 2005 Colorado Football Media Guide: The University of Colorado selected an “All-Century Football Team,” as public balloting in 1989 tabbed 11 All-Americans among the top 25 selected to the 100-year squad. Over 6,200 ballots were received in the public selection process, with over 150,000 votes cast from those ballots. Former CU players pared a list of 881 lettermen down to 118, which were in turn presented to the public for the final team selection. Byron “Whizzer” White, the U.S. Supreme Court Justice who was CU’s first All-American (1937), received 5,812 of a possible 6,265 votes. Bobby Anderson, who starred at both quarterback and tailback between 1967 and 1969, was the second leading vote-getter with 5,636, and two-way-star Joe Romig, who led CU to its first outright Big Eight Championship in 1961, was third with 5,145. White (#24), Anderson (#11) and Romig (#67) are the only Buffs to ever have their numbers retired. One other player topped the 5,000 vote mark, as flashy Cliff Branch, whose name still frequently appears in the CU record book and who played a big part in the Buffs’ No. 3 national ranking of 1971, captured 5,111 votes. The player with the fifth most votes, 3,989, was the only active Buff at the time to make the top 25, tailback Eric Bieniemy (a junior in 1989).
Joining White, Anderson and Romig as All-Americans on the century squad were Dick Anderson (’67), Pete Brock (’75), Mark Haynes (’79), Dave Logan (’75), Herb Orvis (’71) and Bob Stransky (’57). Four players in the early years of CU football made the team, led by Walt Franklin, who played center and end between 1917 and 1921. Back Lee Willard (’21), Judge Hatfield Chilson (’25) and guard Bill McGlone (’26) round out the quartet which represents the formative seasons of CU football, when the team was known as the “Silver and Gold.” Other familiar names on the team include Hale Irwin, who starred at defensive back in the mid-1960s but gained his fame on the PGA Tour; John Stearns, another pivotal player of the 1971 team who went on to be a star catcher with the New York Mets; Dave Logan, a veteran of 10-plus NFL seasons and current sportstalk celebrity in Denver; Carroll Hardy, who played in the early 1950s and is the only man ever to pinch-hit for Ted Williams; and John Wooten, one of the first African-American players at CU who has spent several years in the scouting departments of the NFL Dallas Cowboys and Philadelphia Eagles. Listed below are the 25 members of the University of Colorado All-Century (1890–1989) Football Team, selected by lettermen and the public over a three-month voting period.

Retired numbers

No. 24 Byron "Whizzer" White

Colorado’s first All-American and one of the greatest students in the history of the school, Byron "Whizzer" White, retired as a justice of the Supreme Court in March 1993, after serving 31 years on the nation’s high court. White made all the All-America teams after a brilliant 1937 season in which he led CU to an 8–0 record and Cotton Bowl Classic bid as he set national records with 1,121 rushing yards and 122 points. Those marks, erased nationally only after colleges went to 10- and 11-game schedules, set CU records.

White was a Phi Beta Kappa, Rhodes Scholar, two-time All-Pro halfback with the Pittsburgh Steelers and Detroit Lions, leading graduate of the Yale Law School in 1946, decorated naval intelligence officer in World War II, leading Denver attorney, and deputy attorney general for the United States. White is a member of the National Football Foundation’s College Football Hall-of-Fame, the GTE Academic Hall-of-Fame, and was selected to CU’s All-Century Team. In 1998, he was the first inductee into CU’s Athletic Hall-of-Fame. He died at the age of 84 on April 15, 2002.

No. 67 Joe Romig

Romig was a two-time All-American selection, a member of the Big Eight Hall-of-Fame and the National Football Foundation’s College Football Hall of Fame. As of 2004, a senior research associate in radio physics in Boulder, Romig was the Buffs’ 1961 team captain and the United Press International Lineman of the year. Romig had no peers as a linebacker, as he ranged far and fiercely from his middle linebacker position behind a four-man line. Fast and strong, he was consistently in on most of CU’s tackles. Offensively, Romig developed into an excellent straight-ahead and pulling blocker. Like White, he was an inspirational leader with extraordinary physical and mental abilities.
Romig was an excellent student, earning all A’s his last six semesters and a 3.9 grade-point average. As a Rhodes Scholar, Joe received his master's degree in physics at Oxford University and a doctorate in physics at Colorado in 1975.

No. 11 Bobby Anderson

Anderson set 18 single-game, single-season and career marks during his three-season career with the Buffs along with earning All-Big Eight and All-American honors. A professional player with the Denver Broncos (the team’s No. 1 draft choice), Washington Redskins and New England Patriots, Anderson started his CU career as a quarterback but switched to tailback for the third game during his senior season (1969). In his career, he rushed for 2,729 yards and had over 5,000 yards in total offense. Anderson concluded his Colorado career with a 254-yard rushing effort in the 1969 Liberty Bowl. As of 2004, he is a Denver-area businessman, and has worked over two decades for KOA-Radio handling pre- and postgame shows as well as sideline reporting on the CU Football Network. He is a member of CU’s All-Century Team. In 1999, he received the University Medal, awarded to those who have performed outstanding service to or for the University.

National Play-of-the-Year

In 1992, Nu Skin International and CoSIDA started sponsorship of "The National Play-of-the-Year," honoring the most outstanding play annually in college football. Notre Dame won the inaugural honor in 1992, but the University of Colorado won for both the 1993 and 1994 seasons. Here’s a closer look at CU’s winning plays:


October 16: #20 Colorado 27, #9 Oklahoma 10
Lamont Warren throws a 34-yard touchdown pass to Charles Johnson on the halfback option play. What made it special? Warren slipped on the slick artificial surface as he threw the ball, and some 40 yards later in the end zone, Johnson made the catch on the ground after he was interfered with. The play defied imagination, and is truly appreciated when looked at in slow motion.


September 24: #7 Colorado 27, #4 Michigan 26

Main article: Miracle at Michigan

College football’s play of the decade, this effort also won an ESPY Award from ESPN for the play of the year for college football in 1995. As time expired, Kordell Stewart threw a 64-yard touchdown pass to Michael Westbrook, who made the catch after a Blake Anderson deflection. CU had trailed 26–14 with under four minutes left, and trailed by five with 15 seconds left on its own 15-yard line after stopping Michigan on defense.


Colorado Buffaloes Football team recruiting rankings:

Class Rank Commits Top Commit


65 19 Juwann Winfree(JC)


75 19 Tim Lynott Jr.


72 24 Shay Fields


69 20 George Frazier


29 30 Yuri Wright


62 21 Paulay Asiata


70 22 Paul Richardson


57 19 Nick Kasa


27 20 Darrell Scott


35 27 Ryan Miller


50 22 Cody Hawkins


44 24 Matthew DiLallo


49 19 Ryan Walters


19 26 Dominique Brown


22 23 Clint Worth

Future non-conference opponents

Announced schedules as of September 16, 2016[29]

2017 2018 2019 2020 2021 2022 2023 2024
Colorado State (at Denver, CO) Colorado State (at Denver, CO) Colorado State (at Denver, CO) at Colorado State vs Minnesota at Minnesota vs Nebraska at Nebraska
vs Texas State at Nebraska vs Nebraska at Texas A&M vs UMass vs. TCU at TCU
vs Northern Colorado vs New Hampshire vs Air Force vs Fresno State vs. Texas A&M at Air Force


  1. 1 2 3 "Folsom Field Home". Retrieved 2007-03-06.
  3. 1 2 "Heisman Winners". Retrieved 2010-11-13.
  4. 1 2 "NCAA Football Award Winners" (PDF). NCAA Football Records. NCAA. 2009. p. 13. Retrieved 2010-11-13.
  5. "Typography/Color". Retrieved 2015-02-08.
  7. "The McMNC for 1990: Georgia Institute of Technology – | Google Groups". Retrieved 2013-04-22.
  8. "Colorado Buffaloes renew football rivalry with Nebraska Cornhuskers".
  9. "Colorado and Nebraska schedule 4-Game Football Series".
  10. "Nebraska Cornhuskers, Colorado Buffaloes to renew rivalry in 2018".
  11. "Colorado & Nebraska To Renew Football Rivalry".
  12. "Huskers and Colorado Agree to Four-Game Series".
  13. "Agreement reached on resuming Colorado-Nebraska rivalry".
  14. "Colorado vs Utah". College Football Data Warehouse. Retrieved 2010-06-19.
  15. "Utah vs Utah St.". College Football Data Warehouse. Retrieved 2010-06-19.
  16. "Colorado vs Colorado St.". College Football Data Warehouse. Retrieved 2010-06-19.
  17. "Utah Opponents". College Football Data Warehouse. Retrieved 2010-06-19.
  18. "Colorado Opponents". College Football Data Warehouse. Retrieved 2010-06-19.
  19. "CU Regents vote unanimously to join Pac-12". The Denver Post. June 11, 2010.
  20. "Colorado Board of Regents approves move to Pac-12". Seattle Post-Intelligencer. Sports Network. June 11, 2010.
  21. "Future Colorado State Football Opponents". Retrieved 2013-04-22.
  22. "Colorado vs Colorado State TV Schedule". What America is Searching. August 30, 2010.
  23. John Henderson. "CU Buffs coach Mike MacIntyre will bring in both coordinators from San Jose State". Retrieved 2012-12-19.
  24. "All-Time Record" (PDF). 2014-06-28. Retrieved 2015-05-19.
  25. "MacIntyre Named Head Football Coach At Colorado". 2012-12-10. Retrieved 2015-05-19.
  26. "NCAA Football Award Winners" (PDF). NCAA Football Records. NCAA. 2009. p. 19. Retrieved 2010-11-13.
  27. 1 2 3 "NCAA Football Award Winners" (PDF). NCAA Football Records. NCAA. 2009. p. 20. Retrieved 2010-11-13.
  28. 1 2 "NCAA Football Award Winners" (PDF). NCAA Football Records. NCAA. 2009. p. 21. Retrieved 2010-11-13.

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