November 30, 2023



 Post-game in Fort Collins Wednesday: CSU students celebrate Rams' win over Buffaloes.



 Post-game in Boulder in September: CU students celebrate Buffs' 36-14 win over Nebraska. 



The Colorado State Rams' 88-83 home-court win over the Colorado Buffaloes Wednesday night in a packed and electric Moby Arena was a great show. 


The unbeaten Rams, with dynamic point guard Isaiah Stevens as the catalyst, are for real.


They were ranked No. 20 in the latest Associated press poll at the start of the week and likely will move up. I suspect they'll stay in that neighborhood of the rankings all season and -- one way or another -- represent the Mountain West in the NCAA tournament.


They're exciting and easy to pull for, even for Coloradans outside the CSU constituency.


They decisively outplayed CU most of the night until the Buffs put together enough of a rally to make the final score deceptively close.


A clearly unhappy CU coach Tad Boyle virtually sped past CSU's Niko Medved in the post-game handshake lines, as around him, CSU students stormed and packed the court, raucously celebrating.


As Apollo Creed pointed out, there will be no rematch.


Dropped as a single week-night game into November in advance of the conference schedules, this rivalry matchup sneaked up on us amid a busy Colorado and Denver market sports schedule. There's considerable overlapping of seasons now. The buildup and sense of anticipation for the rivalry game were virtually non-existent. Well, perhaps everywhere except Fort Collins. the game was on a second-tier cable sports network -- CBS Sports -- and chances are, many Coloradans had no clue it was there. 


This matchup should be a two-game, home-and-home set every season.


Imagine what it would be like if the second half of the home-and-home was coming up in Boulder Saturday night. It would be a chance for the Buffs -- and CU students -- to turn the tables. Or for the Rams to finish off a sweep.


A home-and-home this time of year could get a bit tricky if either school's football team was involved in a conference championship game and then a bowl game (hey, it could happen), but there's no reason the hoops rivalry has to be in this exact slot -- or close to it. In other words, agree to do it, then work out the details, even if it means taking the Buffs' future Pac-12 ... er, make that the Buffs' Big 12 schedules, and the Rams' Mountain West schedules, into consideration.             


It's doable.


Drop one of the annual cupcake slots off each schedule.


Schedule CU vs. CSU twice, whether back-to-back over three days, a week apart or spaced out.


It would be great for Colorado -- as in the state's basketball scene.


I don't want to hear that it's rare to have two teams from the same state and different leagues play twice a season.


I don't want to her it because it's irrelevant.


This would be the right thing to do. 


The other talking point to come out of the Wednesday game in Fort Collins was that enthusiastic storming of the court after the final buzzer.  There are some folks -- or many folks -- who belittled that, saying it somehow was tacky and embarrassing, given CSU was ranked, the Buffs weren't and this should have been a businesslike post-game, perhaps only spiced up a bit because it was an intrastate rivalry. The self-appointed watchdogs of the sport's James Naismith Protocols thought it waas a bit much.


 Who gets to set the parameters for when rushing the court is appropriate ... and when it isn't? Is there a form with boxes specifying conditions that all must be checked before the charge begins? And if they can't be, too bad ... keep your asses in the stands? 


Plus, in this instance, much of the belittling was coming from CU fans or graduates (and I'm both of the above), and that involved selective memory. CU students don't pass up opportunities to storm the Events Center court or Folsom Field's grass, even when it comes after CU's only football win in 2022 or during CU's deceptive fast start under Deion Sanders this year -- as in the picture I took from the press box after the Nebraska game this season. They're not particularly selective.

In an early season scolding of his own constituency, CU athletic director Rick George asked the students to knock off, among other things, rushing the field, even at the next Prime opportunity. It didn't work. The major spoilsport and real-world concern is that when emotional, disappointed and even angry losing players find themselves among celebrating (and perhaps juiced-up) home team fans, it's a potential powder keg. Most are having fun, but ugly incidents happen. 


But in general ... let them have their fun. Plus, as I have pointed out many times, storming the court or field -- wherever it is -- usually involves students taking the most direct route straight to the library.

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