Colorado Buffaloes football
2024 Colorado Buffaloes football team
First season1890; 134 years ago
Athletic directorRick George
Head coachDeion Sanders
2nd season, 4–8 (.333)
StadiumFolsom Field
(capacity: 50,183[1])
Year built1924[1]
Field surfaceNatural Grass
LocationBoulder, Colorado
NCAA divisionDivision I FBS
ConferencePac-12 Conference
Past conferencesIndependent (1890–1892, 1905)
CFA (1893–1904, 1906–1908)
RMAC (1909–1937)
Skyline (1938–1947)
Big Eight (1948–1995)
Big 12 (1996–2010)
All-time record723–544–36 (.569)
Bowl record12–17 (.414)
Claimed national titles1 (1990)
Conference titles26
Division titles5 (4 Big 12 North)
(1 Pac-12 South)
RivalriesNebraska (rivalry)
Colorado State (rivalry)
Kansas State (rivalry)
Utah (rivalry)
Heisman winnersRashaan Salaam – 1994
Consensus All-Americans30 (5 unanimous)[2]
Current uniform
ColorsSilver, black, and gold[3]
Fight songFight CU
Marching bandGolden Buffalo Marching Band

The Colorado Buffaloes football program represents the University of Colorado Boulder in college football at the NCAA Division I FBS level, and is a member of the Pac-12 Conference. The team was a charter member of the Big 12 Conference before leaving to join the Pac-12 after the 2010 season. After 13 seasons in the Pac-12, the Buffaloes will return to the Big 12 in 2024. 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 716–520–36 (.577 winning percentage) as of the 2022 season. Colorado won the 1990 National Championship. The football program is 27th on the all-time win list and 40th in all-time winning percentage.


See also: List of Colorado Buffaloes football seasons

Colorado's first Football Team in 1890.
This section needs expansion. You can help by adding to it. (December 2017)

Beginning in 1890, the Buffaloes have appeared in 29 bowl games (36th all-time), and won 27 conference championships, 5 division championships and an AP national championship in 1990.

Folsom Field was built in 1924, and since then, Colorado has a 308–169–14 record at home through the 2016 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.

Conference affiliations


National championships

Colorado won one national championship in football for 1990.[4]: 120 [5]

Season Coach Selectors Record Bowl Result Final AP Final Coaches
1990 Bill McCartney AP, Berryman, Billingsley, DeVold, FACT, FB News, Football Research, FW, Matthews, NCF, NFF, Sporting News, USA/CNN 11–1–1 Orange W 10–9 No. 1 No. 2
1990 season

Main article: 1990 Colorado Buffaloes football team

Colorado won the national championship in 1990 under the direction of head coach Bill McCartney, who helmed the team from 1982 to 1994. While the Georgia Tech won the United Press International Coaches Poll, Colorado won the Associated Press, Football Writers Association of America and other polls. Colorado played the most difficult schedule in the country, beat more ranked teams and conference champions, and had a more talented roster.[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 No. 8, the first week of the season when Colorado was ranked No. 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 No. 20 in the polls. Colorado then went on to beat teams ranked (at the time) No. 22 Texas, No. 12 Washington, No. 22 Oklahoma, and No. 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]

Conference championships

Colorado lines up on offense in the 2005 Big 12 Championship against Texas

Colorado has won 26 conference championships in over a century of college play, spanning through five conferences.

Year Conference Coach Overall record Conference record
1894 Colorado Football Association Harry Heller 8–1 5–0
1895 Fred Folsom 5–1 3–0
1896 5–0 2–0
1897 7–1 2–0
1901 5–1–1 2–0
1902 5–1 4–0
1903 Dave Cropp 8–2 4–0
1909 Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference Fred Folsom 6–0 3–0
1910 6–0 3–0
1911 6–0 4–0
1913 5–1–1 3–0–1
1923 Myron E. Witham 9–0 7–0
1924 8–1–1 5–0–1
1934 Bill Saunders 6–1–2 6–1
1935 Bunny Oakes 5–4 5–1
1937 8–1 7–0
1939 Mountain States Conference 5–3 5–1
1942 James J. Yeager 7–2 5–1
1943 5–2 2–0
1944 Frank Potts 6–2 2–0
1961 Big Eight Conference Sonny Grandelius 9–2 7–0
1976 Bill Mallory 8–4 5–2
1989 Bill McCartney 11–1 7–0
1990 11–1–1 7–0
1991 8–3–1 6–0–1
2001 Big 12 Conference Gary Barnett 10–3 7–1

† Co-champions

Division championships

Year Division Coach Opponent CG result
2001 Big 12 North Gary Barnett Texas W 39–37
2002 Oklahoma L 7–29
2004 Oklahoma L 3–42
2005 Texas L 3–70
2016 Pac-12 South Mike MacIntyre Washington L 10–41

† Co-champions

Head coaches

Main article: List of Colorado Buffaloes head football coaches

The Buffaloes have played in 1,109 games during their 125 seasons, through 2014. In those seasons, 11 coaches have led Colorado to postseason bowl games: Bunny Oakes, Dallas Ward, Marcel M. Mazur, Bud Davis, Eddie Crowder, Bill Mallory, Bill McCartney, Rick Neuheisel, Gary Barnett, Dan Hawkins, Mike MacIntyre and Karl Dorrell.[8] Ten coaches have won conference championships with the Buffaloes: Fred Folsom, Myron Witham, William Saunders, Oakes, Jim Yeager, Sonny Grandelius, Mallory, McCartney and Barnett. The Buffaloes won the national championship in 1990, and have won a total of 28 conference championships.

McCartney is the all-time leader in games coached with 153, total wins with 93, and conference wins with 58.[9] 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, although McCartney was inducted into the Orange Bowl Hall of Fame in 1996.

Mike MacIntyre had brief success with the program. Hired on Dec. 10, 2012,[10] MacIntyre compiled a 30–44 record over five-plus 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. Mike MacIntyre was named the Walter Camp 2016 Coach of the Year by the Walter Camp Foundation, the second Colorado football coach to earn the honor (Bill McCartney in 1989). MacIntyre was also awarded the 2016 Pac-12 Coach of the Year, American Football Coaches Association's coach of the year and comeback coach of the year awards, the Associated Press coach of the year, and the Eddie Robinson coach of the year by the Football Writers Association of America. In 2018, the Buffaloes started out the season 5–0 with wins against rivals Colorado State, Nebraska, Arizona State, and UCLA - however, MacIntyre was fired as the head coach on November 18, 2018, after a six-game losing streak.[11]

Mike Sanford was named interim Head Coach after Karl Dorrell was fired during the 2022 season, Sanford was previously the Buffaloes Offensive Coordinator for the start of the 2022 campaign.[12] On December 3, Colorado announced Deion Sanders as Head Football Coach.[13]


Folsom Field



Main article: Colorado–Nebraska football rivalry

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 to 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 and 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 No. 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.[14][15][16][17][18][19] Colorado traveled to Lincoln in 2018 and won 33–28 (winning against Nebraska for the first time since 2007 and the first time in Lincoln since 2004). On September 7, 2019, Colorado mounted an improbable comeback after being down 17–0 at half, to win the game in overtime, 34–31. After a 3-year break, Nebraska lost 36–14 to Colorado in Boulder in 2023 and then host CU again the next year to finish the series. Nebraska leads the series 49–21–2 through the 2023 season.[20]

Colorado State

Main article: Rocky Mountain Showdown

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". The Buffaloes lead the series 67–22–2 through the 2023 season.[21]


Kickoff at the 1916 Utah vs. Colorado game

Main article: Rumble in the Rockies

The rivalry with Utah ran from 1903 to 1962, in which Utah and Colorado played each other nearly every year; through 1962 they had met 57 times.[22] At the time, it was the second-most played rivalry for both teams (Utah had played Utah State 62 times;[23] Colorado had played Colorado State 61 times[24]). 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.[25][26] Utah leads the series 34-32-3 through the 2022 season.[27]

Bowl games

Main article: List of Colorado Buffaloes bowl games

Colorado has participated in 29 bowl games, with a record of 12–17 (.414).

Season Coach Bowl Opponent Result Attendance Network
1937 Bunny Oakes Cotton Rice L 14–28 35,000
1956 Dallas Ward Orange Clemson W 27–21 72,552 CBS
1961 Sonny Grandelius Orange LSU L 7–25 62,391 ABC
1967 Eddie Crowder 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 W 29–17 54,720 ABC
1972 Gator Auburn L 3–24 71,114 ABC
1975 Bill Mallory Astro-Bluebonnet Texas L 21–38 52,728 ABC
1976 Orange Ohio State L 10–27 65,537 NBC
1985 Bill McCartney Freedom Washington L 17–20 30,961 Lorimar
1986 Bluebonnet Baylor L 9–21 40,470 Raycom
1988 Freedom Brigham Young L 17–20 35,941 Raycom
1989 Orange Notre Dame L 6–21 81,191 NBC
1990 Orange Notre Dame W 10–9 77,062 NBC
1991 Blockbuster Alabama L 25–30 52,644 CBS
1992 Fiesta Syracuse L 22–26 70,224 NBC
1993 Aloha Fresno State W 41–30 44,009 ABC
1994 Fiesta Notre Dame W 41–24 73,968 NBC
1995 Rick Neuheisel Cotton Oregon W 38–6 58,214 CBS
1996 Holiday Washington W 33–21 54,749 ESPN
1998 Aloha Oregon W 51–43 34,803 ABC
1999 Gary Barnett Boston College W 62–28 35,762 ESPN
2001 Fiesta Oregon L 16–38 74,118 ABC
2002 Alamo Wisconsin L 28–31OT 50,690 ESPN
2004 Houston UTEP W 33–28 27,235 ESPN
2005 Mike Hankwitz Champs Sports Clemson L 10–19 31,470 ESPN
2007 Dan Hawkins Independence Alabama L 24–30 47,043 ESPN
2016 Mike MacIntyre Alamo Oklahoma State L 8–38 59,815 ESPN
2020 Karl Dorrell Alamo Texas L 23–55 10,822 ESPN

Notable players

Cliff Branch, Hall of Fame WR

See also: Colorado Buffaloes football statistical leaders

This list has no precise inclusion criteria as described in the Manual of Style for standalone lists. Please improve this article by adding inclusion criteria, or discuss this issue on the talk page. (July 2023)


Byron White
Eric Bieniemy (1987–1990), the school's all-time leader in rushing yards (3,940), touchdowns (42), and all-purpose yards (4,351)

Heisman Trophy:[citation needed]

Year Name Position Rank in
Heisman voting
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 Ronnie Blackmon CB 30th 4
1993 Charles Johnson WR 15th 24
Michael Westbrook WR 61st 1
1994 Rashaan Salaam TB 1st 743
Kordell Stewart QB 13th 16
2002 Chris Brown TB 8th 48

Other award winners


  1. ^ In 1992, this award was known as the Draddy Trophy.


1989 Bill McCartney
2016 Mike MacIntyre
2016 Mike MacIntyre
2016 Mike MacIntyre
2016 Mike MacIntyre
2016 Mike MacIntyre
2016 Mike MacIntyre

College Football Hall of Fame

Name Induction Ref
Byron White 1952 [31]
Joe Romig 1984 [32]
Dick Anderson 1993 [33]
Bobby Anderson 2006 [34]
Alfred Williams 2010 [35]
John Wooten 2012 [36]
Bill McCartney 2013 [37]
Herb Orvis 2016 [38]

Pro Football Hall of Fame

Colorado has one inductee into the Pro Football Hall of Fame.


Daniel Graham
Mason Crosby
Nate Solder

The following is a list of Consensus All-Americans from CU as listed[when?] in NCAA record books.[2]

Retired numbers

See also: List of NCAA football retired numbers

The following players have been honored by having their uniform numbers designated as retired numbers by the Buffaloes.[39][40]

Colorado Buffaloes retired numbers
No. Player Pos. Tenure Year retired
11 Bobby Anderson QB/RB 1967–1969 1969
19 Rashaan Salaam RB 1992–1994 2017
24 Byron White HB 1935–1937 1937
67 Joe Romig G 1959–1961 1961

† = Posthumous honored

In 2020, Colorado athletic director Rick George announced plans to re-issue uniform numbers 24, 67, and 11, with the support of the noted players (or their families).[39] Contemporary uniforms issued with those numbers will include a commemorative patch.[39] Nonetheless, no player has used any of those numbers since the announcement.[41][42][43][44] Uniform number 19 will remain unused for 19 years, after which it may be re-issued.[39]

Future Big 12 opponents

On November 1, 2023, Colorado's Big 12 opponents from 2024 through 2027 were revealed.[45]

Home Schedule

2024 2025 2026 2027
Baylor Arizona Houston Arizona State
Cincinnati Arizona State Kansas State Kansas
Kansas State BYU Texas Tech TCU
Oklahoma State Iowa State UCF West Virginia
Utah Utah

Away Schedule

2024 2025 2026 2027
Arizona Houston Arizona State Arizona
Kansas Kansas State Baylor BYU
Texas Tech TCU Cincinnati Houston
UCF Utah Oklahoma State Iowa State
West Virginia UCF

Future non-conference opponents

Announced schedules as of December 19, 2023.[46]

2024 2025 2026 2027 2028 2029 2030 2031
Aug. 31
North Dakota State
Aug. 30
Georgia Tech
Sept. 5
at Georgia Tech
Sept. 4
Sept. 2
Sept. 1
Aug. 31
Aug. 30
Sept. 7
at Nebraska
Sept. 6
Sept. 12
Weber State
Sept. 11
Sept. 9
at Florida
Sept. 8
Sept. 7
at Missouri
Sept. 6
at SMU
Sept. 14
at Colorado State
Sept. 13
Sept. 19
at Northwestern
Sept. 18
Northern Illinois
Sept. 16
Northern Colorado
Sept. 15
at Colorado State
Sept. 14
Colorado State
Sept. 13
Northern Colorado

Others beyond 2031: vs. North Texas, Sept. 4, 2032; at North Texas, Sept. 3, 2033; vs. Colorado State, Sept. 17, 2033; at Colorado State, Sept. 16, 2034; vs. Colorado State, Sept. 19, 2037; at Colorado State, Sept. 11, 2038.


  1. ^ a b c "Folsom Field Home". Archived from the original on 2010-10-20. Retrieved 2007-03-06.
  2. ^ a b "NCAA Football Award Winners" (PDF). NCAA Football Records. NCAA. 2009. p. 13. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2010-02-15. Retrieved 2010-11-13.
  3. ^ University of Colorado at Boulder NIL Brand Guidelines (PDF). January 28, 2022. Retrieved July 28, 2023.
  4. ^ 2018 NCAA Football Bowl Subdivision Records (PDF). National Collegiate Athletic Association. August 2018. Retrieved December 12, 2018.
  5. ^ "1990 National Champions". Retrieved December 13, 2018.
  6. ^ "1990 NCAA Division IA Football Power Ratings". Archived from the original on 2009-01-29. Retrieved 2009-01-03.
  7. ^ "The McMNC for 1990: Georgia Institute of Technology – | Google Groups". Retrieved 2013-04-22.
  8. ^ "CU Buffs become bowl eligible with win over San Diego State". The Denver Post. 2020-11-29. Retrieved 2020-12-03.
  9. ^ "Archived copy" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2015-05-21. Retrieved 2015-05-19.((cite web)): CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link) "All-Time Record" (PDF). 2014-06-28. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2015-05-21. Retrieved 2015-05-19.
  10. ^ "MacIntyre Named Head Football Coach At Colorado". 2012-12-10. Retrieved 2015-05-19.
  11. ^ "Colorado fires football coach Mike MacIntyre after six-game losing streak". The Denver Post. 2018-11-18. Retrieved 2020-12-03.
  12. ^ "Dorrell Dismissed As Head Football Coach at Colorado". University of Colorado Athletics. Retrieved 2022-10-02.
  13. ^ "Deion "Coach Prime" Sanders Named Head Football Coach at Colorado". Retrieved 2022-12-03.
  14. ^ "Colorado Buffaloes renew football rivalry with Nebraska Cornhuskers". 7 February 2013.
  15. ^ "Colorado and Nebraska schedule 4-Game Football Series". 7 February 2013.
  16. ^ "Nebraska Cornhuskers, Colorado Buffaloes to renew rivalry in 2018". ESPN. 7 February 2013.
  17. ^ "Colorado & Nebraska To Renew Football Rivalry".
  18. ^ "Huskers and Colorado Agree to Four-Game Series".
  19. ^ "Agreement reached on resuming Colorado-Nebraska rivalry". 7 February 2013.
  20. ^ "Winsipedia - Colorado Buffaloes vs. Nebraska Cornhuskers football series history". Winsipedia.
  21. ^ "Winsipedia - Colorado Buffaloes vs. Colorado State Rams football series history". Winsipedia.
  22. ^ "Colorado vs Utah". College Football Data Warehouse. Archived from the original on 2004-05-20. Retrieved 2010-06-19.
  23. ^ "Utah vs Utah St". College Football Data Warehouse. Archived from the original on 2011-05-25. Retrieved 2010-06-19.
  24. ^ "Colorado vs Colorado St". College Football Data Warehouse. Archived from the original on 2010-06-10. Retrieved 2010-06-19.
  25. ^ "Utah Opponents". College Football Data Warehouse. Archived from the original on 2010-09-14. Retrieved 2010-06-19.
  26. ^ "Colorado Opponents". College Football Data Warehouse. Archived from the original on 2010-02-16. Retrieved 2010-06-19.
  27. ^ "Winsipedia - Colorado Buffaloes vs. Utah Utes football series history". Winsipedia.
  28. ^ "NCAA Football Award Winners" (PDF). NCAA Football Records. NCAA. 2009. p. 19. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2010-02-15. Retrieved 2010-11-13.
  29. ^ a b c "NCAA Football Award Winners" (PDF). NCAA Football Records. NCAA. 2009. p. 20. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2010-02-15. Retrieved 2010-11-13.
  30. ^ a b "NCAA Football Award Winners" (PDF). NCAA Football Records. NCAA. 2009. p. 21. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2010-02-15. Retrieved 2010-11-13.
  31. ^ Byron White at the College Football Hall of Fame
  32. ^ Joe Romig at the College Football Hall of Fame
  33. ^ Dick Anderson at the College Football Hall of Fame
  34. ^ "Throwin' You A Bohn – | University of Colorado Buffaloes Athletics". Retrieved 2017-06-19.
  35. ^ "Alfred Williams Elected To College Football Hall Of Fame – | University of Colorado Buffaloes Athletics". Archived from the original on June 16, 2010. Retrieved 2017-06-19.
  36. ^ "John Wooten Named To College Football Hall Of Fame – | University of Colorado Buffaloes Athletics". Archived from the original on 2016-03-04. Retrieved 2017-06-19.
  37. ^ "Bill McCartney To Enter College Football Hall of Fame – | University of Colorado Buffaloes Athletics". Archived from the original on May 21, 2015. Retrieved 2017-06-19.
  38. ^ "Herb Orvis, former CU Buffs pass rusher, named to College Football Hall of Fame". MediaNews Group, Inc. January 8, 2016. Retrieved August 15, 2020.
  39. ^ a b c d Plati, David (February 5, 2020). "Retired Numbers To Circulate Back Into Use". Retrieved July 29, 2023.
  40. ^ "Retired numbers – Colorado Athletics" (PDF).
  41. ^ "2020 Football Roster".
  42. ^ "2021 Football Roster".
  43. ^ "2022 Football Roster".
  44. ^ "2023 Football Roster".
  45. ^ "Big 12 Football Matrix 2024-2027" (PDF).
  46. ^ Snyder, Curtis (December 19, 2023). "Buffs Add Five Games To Future Non-Conference Schedule". University of Colorado Athletics.