Make someone happy
Make just one someone happy
And you will be happy too
– Jimmy Durante

February 10, 1893 brought the world a number of gifts, but one of the bright lights of that date 130 years ago was the birth of actor/comedian/musician Jimmy Durante. While known more for his silliness and comedy, a few of his more emotional songs endure to this day. Jimmy was known for “having a heart even bigger than his nose”, and gave back to his family, friends, and community almost ceaselessly. He found that his popularity gave him a chance to shed light in places that had been dark for a while, and sometimes attention was the greatest gift he could give.

That same day of that same year 130+ years ago also brought the very first football game between the University of Colorado football team and their upstate cousins at Colorado Agricultural. Why the Buffaloes and Aggies played their first game in February is a mystery still undiscovered by this reporter, but it was the first of two games the teams would play that year. The February game was won by Colorado 70-6. The October contest was 44-6, Colorado. Playing the next two Octobers, the University squad would hang up two more resounding wins of 67-0 and 63-0.

That’s right, in their first four contests, the Buffs would win by a combined score of 244-12. Which is about how the math has always felt to the fans of what would eventually become the State school.

Quick, which of the two schools was the last to send their football team to a Bowl game?

That would be the Buffs, who went to the Alamo Bowl at the end of a COVID-shortened 2020 season with a 4-2 record under Coach Karl Dorrell. The Buffs would go on to lose that game to a tough Texas squad.

While the first contest was 130 years back, this year will mark the 92nd game between the teams, and the first in the last four seasons. How lopsided an affair has it all been after that 244-12 start? The Buffs lead the head-to-head matchup 67-22-2, with the two ties happening in 1906 (0-0) and 1920 (7-7).

Quick, which of the two schools was the last to win a Bowl game?

That one would go to the Rams, who won the New Mexico Bowl in 2014. The Buffs last postseason win came in 2004 at the Houston Bowl.

Was there ever a moment where CSU was even making things competitive? The only examples of that sort of a sample came for the school when they were the Aggies in the ’20s and ’30s, enjoying three-year runs in each of those decades, and one stretch from 1999-2002 when they knocked off the Buffs three out of four trips. Even more amazingly, CU was ranked in the AP Top 25 for each of their three losses. The Buffs only win in that quartet would come when they were unranked, and the Rams were ranked 24th.

With that, when was the last time either of these teams was ranked when they played the game? That would be two decades back, when the 23rd-ranked Rams lost to a motivated CU squad. As the two teams have slowly slid further from relevance, you even wonder when the last time this game much mattered was.

And that’s the true gift of what Deion Sanders and even a don’t-forget-about-me Jay Norvell have brought to this years’ proceedings. For the first time in who knows how long, this game actually feels as if it matters. It matters, and will have the appropriate and attendant number of eyes on it when we finally get to kickoff. We can only hope it will be a great football game. Win or lose for either side will make a lot of Coloradoans happy and a lot of them sad. But shining the light on a big brother/little brother rivalry that has often favored the underdog? That cannot help but bring attention and happiness back to us all. For fans, schools, programs, and recruits. The best thing that can come from this year’s contest will be to earn the name Showdown. Go Buffs. Go Rams. Go Colorado collegiate football.


Mike Olson is a weekly columnist for DNVR. The Colorado State University alum was born and raised in Fort Collins and has been writing about Denver sports for the last decade-plus. After over a decade away, he is thrilled to be back in and around Colorado. No place like home.

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