This year’s Rocky Mountain Showdown could be the last one at Invesco Field at Mile High, depending on CU’s decision.
Due to the biennially rotating schedule, the Buffaloes will be the game’s home team for 2009 and 2010. As such, they choose where the Showdown will be played.
So, before this year’s Rocky Mountain Showdown even kicks off, a big part of next year’s Showdown will be decided.
Second-year CSU athletic director Paul Kowalczyk explained that CU has until the kickoff of this year’s match-up to decide where next year’s game will be held.
Kowalczyk has no doubt that Invesco would be the better venue for the rivalry.
“There is no question I believe the game belongs in Denver,” he said. “It presents amazing opportunities for alumni, for businesses and for both institutions to showcase what we are all about.”
Players, including senior Klint Kubiak, agree. The safety played in the Showdown held at CU’s Folsom Field his freshman year and explained that he would much rather have the game stay where at Invesco, where it has been the past two seasons.
“If I had my pick, I would play at Invesco,” he said. “It’s a bigger crowd and you get your fans there.”
Kubiak admitted that playing on CU’s home turf did motivate him, explaining that it’s fun to play at a place where everyone hates you.
For wide receiver Dion Morton it comes down to the atmosphere. The junior said that fans seem more involved in the game when it’s at a neutral site.
“Invesco is more of an alive crowd,” he said. “It’s bigger and a better atmosphere especially for us. We seem to have more fans most of the time so it would be disappointing if it left there.”
Folsom field has a capacity of just over 53,000 compared to the 76,000 of Invesco Field.
Kowalczyk explained that the Showdown’s location is an issue that runs much deeper than the outcome of two rival teams.
“It’s not just a football game, it’s a bigger issue,” he said. “It belongs on a bigger stage.”
Rams head coach Steve Fairchild isn’t paying attention to next year, but is focused completely on this year’s match-up. Fairchild likes the way his team is progressing through practice in preparation for Sunday’s game.
“I think we are ready,” said Fairchild. “I’m pleased with the way we’ve trained and covered every situation.”
Kubiak said that CSU’s confidence is growing with every practice, explaining that the team’s closeness is helping.
“We’re a confident bunch and tighter than any team I have been on since I’ve been here,” the six-footer said. “When you’re close, the guys around you all get on the same page and grow closer to each other.”
Fairchild is glad to have veterans of the Showdown who are able to bring a steadiness to his team, but is also expecting big things out of first-timers, like quarterback Billy Farris.
“He (Farris) gets better every practice,” he said. “I wish we had a season of experience underneath him, but that’s not the case. Every time he walks out to practice he gets a little better.”
Football beat reporter Adam Bohlmeyer can be reached at email@example.com.