|Colorado Buffaloes football|
|Athletic director||Rick George|
|Head coach||Karl Dorrell |
1st season, 4–2 (.667)
|Field surface||Natural Grass|
|NCAA division||Division I FBS|
|Past conferences||Independent (1890–1892)|
Big Eight (1948–1995)
Big 12 (1996–2010)
|All-time record||714–517–36 (.578)|
|Bowl record||12–17 (.414)|
|Claimed national titles||1 (1990)|
|Division titles||5 (4 Big 12 North)|
(1 Pac-12 South)
Colorado State (rivalry)
|Consensus All-Americans||30 (5 unanimous)|
|Colors||Silver, Black, and Gold|
|Fight song||Fight CU|
|Marching band||Golden Buffalo Marching Band|
The Colorado Buffaloes football program represents the University of Colorado Boulder in college football at the NCAA Division I FBS level. The team is 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. The Buffs all-time record is 714–517–36 (.578 winning percentage) as of the end of the 2020 season. Colorado won a National Championship in 1990. The football program is 26th on the all-time win list and 37th in all-time winning percentage.
This section needs expansion. You can help by adding to it. (December 2017)
Beginning in 1890, Colorado football has enjoyed much success throughout its more than 135 years of competitive play.
The Buffaloes have appeared in numerous bowl games (28 appearances in bowl games (12–16), 36th all-time), and won 27 conference championships, 5 division championships and a national championship.
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.
- Independent (1890–1892, 1905)
- Colorado Football Association (1893–1904, 1906–1908)
- Colorado Faculty Athletic Conference (1909)
- Rocky Mountain Faculty Athletic Conference (1910–1937)
- Mountain States Conference (1938–1947)
- Big Eight Conference (1948–1995)
- Big 12 Conference (1996–2010)
- Pac-12 Conference (2011–present)
|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|
- 1990 season
Colorado won the 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. 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.
Colorado has won 27 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||Colorado Football Association||Fred Folsom||5–1||3–0|
|1896||Colorado Football Association||Fred Folsom||5–0||2–0|
|1897||Colorado Football Association||Fred Folsom||7–1||2–0|
|1901||Colorado Football Association||Fred Folsom||5–1–1||2–0|
|1902||Colorado Football Association||Fred Folsom||5–1||4–0|
|1903||Colorado Football Association||Dave Cropp||8–2||4–0|
|1908†||Colorado Football Association||Fred Folsom||5–2||3–1|
|1909||Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference||Fred Folsom||6–0||3–0|
|1910||Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference||Fred Folsom||6–0||3–0|
|1911||Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference||Fred Folsom||6–0||4–0|
|1913||Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference||Fred Folsom||5–1–1||3–0–1|
|1923||Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference||Myron E. Witham||9–0||7–0|
|1924||Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference||Myron E. Witham||8–1–1||5–0–1|
|1934||Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference||Bill Saunders||6–1–2||6–1|
|1935||Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference||Bunny Oakes||5–4||5–1|
|1937||Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference||Bunny Oakes||8–1||7–0|
|1939||Mountain States Conference||Bunny Oakes||5–3||5–1|
|1942||Mountain States Conference||James J. Yeager||7–2||5–1|
|1943||Mountain States Conference||James J. Yeager||5–2||2–0|
|1944||Mountain States Conference||Frank Potts||6–2||2–0|
|1961||Big Eight Conference||Sonny Grandelius||9–2||7–0|
|1976†||Big Eight Conference||Bill Mallory||8–4||5–2|
|1989||Big Eight Conference||Bill McCartney||11–1||7–0|
|1990||Big Eight Conference||Bill McCartney||11–1–1||7–0|
|1991†||Big Eight Conference||Bill McCartney||8–3–1||6–0–1|
|2001||Big 12 Conference||Gary Barnett||10–3||7–1|
|2001†||Big 12 North||Gary Barnett||Texas||W 39–37|
|2002||Big 12 North||Gary Barnett||Oklahoma||L 7–29|
|2004†||Big 12 North||Gary Barnett||Oklahoma||L 3–42|
|2005||Big 12 North||Gary Barnett||Texas||L 3–70|
|2016||Pac-12 South||Mike MacIntyre||Washington||L 10–41|
The Buffaloes have played in 1,109 games during their 125 seasons, through 2014. In those seasons, ten coaches have led Colorado to postseason bowl games: Bunny Oakes, Dallas Ward, Bud Davis, Eddie Crowder, Bill Mallory, Bill McCartney, Rick Neuheisel, Gary Barnett, Dan Hawkins and Mike MacIntyre. The Buffs are bowl-eligible in 2020 as well, led by head coach Karl Dorrell, who will become the eleventh coach to lead the program to a bowl game. 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. 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 is the most recent head coach to see success with the program. Hired on Dec. 10, 2012, 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.
The head coach is Karl Dorrell, who was hired February 23, 2020 following Mel Tucker's departure for Michigan State. Previously the Miami Dolphins' receivers coach, Dorrell signed a five year, $18 million deal with the Buffs. Dorrell has deep ties to the University of Colorado - he coached receivers from 1992-1993 and was their offensive coordinator from 1995-1998. Dorrell has started fast with a 3-0 record in the pandemic-shortened season to give Colorado bowl eligibility for the first time since 2016.
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 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. 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 will go to Boulder in 2023 and then host CU again the next year to finish the series. Nebraska leads the series 49–20–2 through the 2019 season.
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 leads the series 67–22–2 through the 2019 season.
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. At the time, it was the second-most played rivalry for both teams (Utah had played Utah State 62 times; Colorado had played Colorado State 61 times). 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. Colorado leads the series 32–31–3 through the 2019 season.
Colorado has participated in 29 bowl games, with a record of 12–17 (.414).
This section may be too long to read and navigate comfortably. (September 2016)
- Dick Anderson
- Bobby Anderson
- Troy Archer
- Tom Ashworth
- Chidobe Awuzie
- David Bakhtiari
- Estes Banks
- Marlon Barnes
- Brad Bedell
- Mitch Berger
- Frank Bernardi
- Tony Berti
- Greg Biekert
- Eric Bienemy
- Jeremy Bloom
- Frank Bosch
- Ronnie Bradford
- Cliff Branch
- Tyler Brayton
- Paul Briggs
- Pete Brock
- Stan Brock
- Tom Brookshier
- Chad Brown
- Chris Brown
- Jalil Brown
- Bill Brundige
- Larry Brunson
- Cullen Bryant
- Brian Cabral
- J.V. Cain
- Brian Calhoun
- Gary Campbell
- Jeff Campbell
- Rae Carruth
- Darrin Chiaverini
- Franklin Clarke
- Shannon Clavelle
- Mark Cooney
- Eric Coyle
- Claude Crabb
- Ken Crawley
- Mason Crosby
- T. J. Cunningham
- Brian Daniels
- Charlie Davis
- Mike Davis
- John Denvir
- Koy Detmer
- Tyson DeVree
- Jordon Dizon
- Jeff Donaldson
- Eddie Dove
- Boyd Dowler
- Justin Drescher
- Jon Embree
- Christian Fauria
- Mark Fenton
- Deon Figures
- Bill Frank
- Joe Garten
- Daniel Graham
- Charlie Greer
- Dan Grimm
- Andre Gurode
- D.J. Hackett
- Carroll Hardy
- Don Hasselbeck
- Dennis Havig
- Mark Haynes
- Ralph Heck
- Barry Helton
- Jerry Hillebrand
- Merwin Hodel
- Darius Holland
- Greg Horton
- Hale Irwin
- Heath Irwin
- Brian Iwuh
- Charles Johnson
- Charlie Johnson
- Ken Johnson
- Richard Johnson
- Sam Rogers
- Ted Johnson
- Brad Jones
- Fred Jones
- Greg Jones
- Vance Joseph
- Ben Kelly
- Jon Keyworth
- Mark Koncar
- Joe Klopfenstein
- Gary Knafelc
- Mark Koncar
- Mike Kozlowski
- Terry Kunz
- Jay Leeuwenburg
- Matt Lepsis
- Michael Lewis
- Phillip Lindsay
- Dave Logan
- Wayne Lucier
- Vaka Manupuna
- Bo Matthews
- Matt McChesney
- Dave McCloughan
- Mike McCoy
- Kanavis McGhee
- Odis McKinney
- Scotty McKnight
- Ron Merkerson
- Matt Miller
- Mike Montler
- Emery Moorehead
- Chris Naeole
- Garry Howe
- Chris Hudson
- Hannibal Navies
- Erik Norgard
- Gabe Nyenhuis
- Herb Orvis
- Whitney Paul
- Rod Perry
- Tyler Polumbus
- Mike Pritchard
- Mickey Pruitt
- Vince Rafferty
- Tony Reed
- Leonard Renfro
- Paul Richardson
- Sam Rogers
- Tom Rouen
- Lee Rouson
- Matt Russell
- Rashaan Salaam
- Brendan Schaub
- Victor Scott
- Jimmy Smith
- Nate Solder
- Ariel Solomon
- Nelson Spruce
- John Stearns
- Kordell Stewart
- Donald Strickland
- Quinn Sypniewski
- Sean Tufts
- Kanan Ray
- Lawrence Vickers
- Thaddaeus Washington
- Michael Westbrook
- Byron White
- Sam Wilder
- Alfred Williams
Heisman Trophy
|Year||Name||Position||Rank in Heisman voting||Points|
Other award winners
- 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
- 1943 Robert Hall, Colorado (AP-2)
- 1953 Gary Knafelc, Colorado (AP-3)
- 1954 Frank Bernardi, Colorado (AP-2)
- 1956 John Bayuk, Colorado (INS-2; CP-3)
- 1960 Joe Romig, Colorado (WC)
- 1961 Joe Romig, Colorado (WC, TSN, FWAA)
- 1961 Jerry Hillebrand, Colorado (FWAA)
- 1967 Dick Anderson, Colorado (AP, NEA)
- 1968 Mike Montler, Colorado (AP, AFCA)
- 1969 Bobby Anderson, Colorado (AP, UPI, NEA, TSN)
- 1970 Pat Murphy, Colorado (WC)
- 1970 Don Popplewell, Colorado (AP, UPI, NEA, FWAA, WC, CP, FN)
- 1971 Herb Orvis, Colorado (WC, AFCA, TSN)
- 1971 Cliff Branch, Colorado (FN)
- 1972 Cullen Bryant, Colorado (UPI, NEA, AFCA, TSN, Time)
- 1972 Bud Magrum, Colorado (FWAA)
- 1973 Bo Matthews, Colorado (Time)
- 1973 J.V. Cain, Colorado (TSN, Time)
- 1975 Troy Archer, Colorado (Time)
- 1975 Pete Brock, Colorado (TSN, NEA, Time)
- 1975 Dave Logan, Colorado (TSN)
- 1975 Mark Koncar, Colorado (AP)
- 1976 Don Hasselbeck, Colorado (TSN)
- 1978 Matt Miller, Colorado (UPI)
- 1979 Mark Haynes, Colorado (AP)
- 1979 Stan Brock, Colorado (TSN)
- 1986 Barry Helton, Colorado (AP, UPI, TSN)
- 1988 Keith English, Colorado (AP)
- 1989 Tom Rouen, Colorado (AP, UPI, WC, FWAA)
- 1989 Kanavis McGhee, Colorado (WC)
- 1989 Alfred Williams, Colorado (UPI, AFCA, FWAA, FN)
- 1989 Darian Hagan, Colorado (TSN)
- 1989 Joe Garten, Colorado (AP, UPI, AFCA, FWAA, TSN)
- 1990 Alfred Williams, Colorado (AP, UPI, NEA, WC, AFCA, FWAA, SH, TSN, FN)
- 1990 Joe Garten, Colorado (AP, UPI, NEA, WC, AFCA, FWAA, SH, TSN, FN)
- 1990 Eric Bieniemy, Colorado (AP, UPI, NEA, WC, AFCA, FWAA, SH, TSN, FN)
- 1991 Joel Steed, Colorado (WC)
- 1991 Jay Leeuwenburg, Colorado (AP, UPI, NEA, WC, AFCA, FWAA, SH, TSN, FN)
- 1992 Mitch Berger, Colorado (UPI)
- 1992 Deon Figures, Colorado (AP, UPI, NEA, WC, FWAA, SH, TSN, FN)
- 1992 Michael Westbrook, Colorado (NEA)
- 1994 Chris Hudson, Colorado (Associated Press, Walter Camp, FWAA-Writers, Scripps-Howard)
- 1994 Michael Westbrook, Colorado (Walter Camp, AFCA-Coaches, Sporting News)
- 1994 Rashaan Salaam, Colorado (Associated Press, Walter Camp, FWAA-Writers, AFCA-Coaches, Scripps-Howard, Sporting News, Football News)
- 1995 Bryan Stoltenberg, Colorado (UPI, Walter Camp, FN)
- 1995 Heath Irwin, Colorado (AP)
- 1996 Matt Russell, Colorado (AP, FWAA-Writers, Walter Camp, TSN)
- 1996 Chris Naeole, Colorado (AP, AFCA-Coaches, Walter Camp, FN)
- 1996 Rae Carruth, Colorado (TSN)
- 1999 Ben Kelly, Colorado (FN, CNNSI-KR)
- 2001 Roman Hollowell, Colorado (TSN, CNNSI-PR)
- 2001 Andre Gurode, Colorado (AP, TSN, PFW, CNNSI)
- 2001 Daniel Graham, Colorado (Walter Camp, AFCA-Coaches, FWAA, AP, TSN, PFW, FN)
- 2002 Mark Mariscal, Colorado (AP, AFCA-Coaches, Walter Camp, TSN, CNNSI, ESPN)
- 2002 Wayne Lucier, Colorado (TSN)
- 2002 Chris Brown, Colorado (AFCA-Coaches)
- 2004 John Torp, Colorado (ESPN)
- 2005 Mason Crosby, Colorado (Associated Press, FWAA-Writers, Walter Camp, Sporting News, Sports Illustrated, Pro Football Weekly, ESPN, CBS Sports, College Football News, Rivals.com)
- 2006 Mason Crosby, Colorado (Walter Camp Foundation, Pro Football Weekly)
- 2007 Jordon Dizon, Colorado (Associated Press, Walter Camp, Sporting News, ESPN, College Football News, Rivals.com)
- 2010 Nate Solder, Colorado (AP, FWAA, TSN, WCFF, ESPN, PFW, SI)
Future non-conference opponents
Announced schedules as of January 17, 2020.
at Colorado State
North Dakota State
at Georgia Tech
at Air Force
at Texas A&M
at Colorado State
at Kansas State
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- Byron White at the College Football Hall of Fame
- Joe Romig at the College Football Hall of Fame
- Dick Anderson at the College Football Hall of Fame
- "Throwin' You A Bohn – CUBuffs.com | University of Colorado Buffaloes Athletics". CUBuffs.com. Retrieved 2017-06-19.
- "Alfred Williams Elected To College Football Hall Of Fame – CUBuffs.com | University of Colorado Buffaloes Athletics". CUBuffs.com. Retrieved 2017-06-19.
- "John Wooten Named To College Football Hall Of Fame – CUBuffs.com | University of Colorado Buffaloes Athletics". CUBuffs.com. Archived from the original on 2016-03-04. Retrieved 2017-06-19.
- "Bill McCartney To Enter College Football Hall of Fame – CUBuffs.com | University of Colorado Buffaloes Athletics". CUBuffs.com. Retrieved 2017-06-19.
- "Herb Orvis, former CU Buffs pass rusher, named to College Football Hall of Fame". Denverpost.com. MediaNews Group, Inc. January 8, 2016. Retrieved August 15, 2020.
- "Colorado Buffaloes Future Football Schedules". FBSchedules.com. Retrieved January 17, 2020.
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