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The Border War is everything we love about college football

Justin Michael Avatar
November 3, 2023

There is nothing quite like the Border War. 

Two communities separated by roughly 65 miles. Two teams that have played for over 100 years and have faced each other consecutively for the last 77. This is a rivalry that means so much more than a simple win or loss in the standings. 

The Border War is about pride. It’s about representing your side and knowing that defeat means 365 days of living in your most hated rival’s shadow. 

It’s deep rooted, it’s personal, and while the games themselves are played out on the gridiron, the Colorado State-Wyoming rivalry is bigger than sports. Children grow up in Wyoming learning to despise the Rams. Families in Fort Collins look at Laramie with disgust. 

This rivalry is everything that makes college football unique. And in a time where TV executives and pencil pushers seem determined to gut the soul of the sport, the Border War is a refreshing reminder of why the majority of college football enthusiasts fell in love with it in the first place. 

Nov 12, 2022; Fort Collins, Colorado, USA; Wyoming Cowboys offensive tackle Frank Crum (75) celebrates with the Bronze Boot trophy with fans after defeating Colorado State Rams 14-13 at Sonny Lubick Field at Canvas Stadium. Photo Credit: Michael Madrid-USA TODAY Sports

Most fans across the country understand that their school will not factor into the National Championship conversation. Unlike the NFL where all 32 teams theoretically can be in the mix, college football is a different situation. 

For most CFB diehards, the mentality going into any given season is not title or bust. It’s more centered around winning regional rivalries and being a factor in conference play. For CSU and Wyoming fans, regardless of whether that season’s expectations are met, if you win the Border War it’s still a pretty good year. That’s how much this one game means. 

When CSU and Wyoming take the field on Friday night, you know that the atmosphere will be hostile and that the pads will be popping. The 2022 edition was arguably the most intense game we saw in year one of the Jay Norvell era. And considering both teams desperately need a win in this one after dropping multiple league games, one would assume that 2023 will be equally as passionate. 

The Rams are trying to return to the postseason for the first time since 2017. The Pokes, on the other hand, are trying to make their case as contenders after losing a tough one to Air Force and then getting boat raced by Boise State. Aside from the normal stakes of the matchup, there’s actually quite a bit on the line in this one. 

Wyoming football player Easton Gibbs hoists the Bronze Boot after defeating CSU 31-17 at War Memorial Stadium in Laramie, Wyo. on Saturday, Nov. 6, 2021. Photo: Troy Babbitt-USA-Today Sports

We’ve already seen the Rams snap a 12-game losing streak to the Broncos with one of the most thrilling comebacks in program history. We’ve also seen CSU lose a heartbreaker to CU on a night where the Rams were largely the better team. It’ll be interesting to see what type of performance CSU produces against Wyoming. Obviously a win would be absolutely massive for the program though.

These are the nights that ultimately define a season — for better or for worse. Trophy games have largely been gut-wrenching for CSU over the last seven years but if they can bring the Bronze Boot back home on Friday, all of those bad memories become obsolete.

It’s all about the boot, baby. I for one cannot wait.


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