While thereâ€™s no evidence to suggest that rams and buffalo donâ€™t live harmoniously together in nature, when the Rocky Mountain Showdown hits Denver, thatâ€™s a different story.
â€œThereâ€™s always been a rivalry,â€ said Bill Woods, of the annual match-up between CSU and CU-Boulder. â€œWe were the Aggies and they didnâ€™t like us, and we didnâ€™t like them.â€
Woods, a longtime advisor for the local chapter of Sigma Alpha Epsilon, a fraternity on campus, graduated from CSU in 1958 â€” the last year both teams played each other before a 25-year hiatus.
â€œWe were a small university and they were always a little bigger,â€ Woods added. â€œIf we didnâ€™t have a very good season, but still beat them, it was a good year.â€
The state rivalry is said to have started as early as 1912, when members of the Sigma Theta Pi fraternity petitioned to get a Sigma Alpha Epsilon (SAE) charter at CSU, according to the chapterâ€™s official website.
One of the earliest petitions failed, however, due to opposition from members of the CU-Boulder chapter, who referred to CSU as a â€œbunch of farmers who would be better off minding cows and pigs rather than attempting to join a respected organization such as SAE.â€
Other accounts say tensions rose in 1983, when CUâ€™s head coach and athletic director failed to attend a media press conference before the teams started playing each other again.
â€œThe SID (Sports Info Director) forgot to remind them,â€ said David Plati of the CU-Boulder athletics department. â€œIt goes all the way back to then, when we were restarting the series.â€
But, while the rivalry tends to reach a boiling point at the annual game, CSUâ€™s Senior Associate Athletic Director Gary Ozzello said itâ€™s all in good fun, adding that both athletic departments have a mutual respect for the other.
â€œItâ€™s very intense from both ends,â€ Ozzello said. â€œIt means a great deal to our community, university and our department.â€
As a 1978 CSU graduate, Ozzello recalls the games being usually close and always hard fought.
â€œMost players are from within the state and know one another and may have played with each other, or against each other, in high school,â€ Ozzello said.
Despite the outcome, Ozzello voiced the importance of coming to the game and cheering on the Rams.
â€œItâ€™s important they (students) show up and support,â€ Ozzello said. â€œItâ€™s also critical that they act accordingly and show why weâ€™re proud to be CSU Rams with our behavior.â€
News Editor Erin Udell can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.