The Colorado Buffaloes football program represents the University of Colorado Boulder in college football at the NCAA Division I FBS level. The team is currently 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 694–493–36 (.583 winning percentage) prior to the Valero Alamo Bowl at the end of the 2016 season. Colorado won a National Championship in 1990. The football program is 23rd on the all-time win list and 30th in all-time winning percentage.
|Colorado Buffaloes football|
|Athletic director||Rick George|
|Head coach||Mel Tucker|
1st season, 0–0 (–)
|Field surface||Natural Grass|
|NCAA division||Division I FBS|
|Conference||Pac-12 (since 2011)|
|Division||South (since 2011)|
|Past conferences||Independent (1890–1892)|
Big Eight (1948–1995)
Big 12 (1996–2010)
|All-time record||702–501–36 (.581)|
|Bowl record||12–16 (.429)|
|Claimed nat'l 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|
Beginning in 1890, Colorado football has enjoyed much success throughout its more than 125 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.
|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|
Colorado won its first 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 #8, the first week of the season when Colorado was ranked #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 #20 in the polls. Colorado then went on to beat teams ranked (at the time) #22 Texas, #12 Washington, #22 Oklahoma, and #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|
|Year||Division||Coach||Overall record||Conference record|
|2001†||Big 12 North||Gary Barnett||10–3||7–1|
|2002||Big 12 North||Gary Barnett||9–5||7–1|
|2004†||Big 12 North||Gary Barnett||8–5||4–4|
|2005||Big 12 North||Gary Barnett||8–5||4–4|
|2016||Pac-12 South||Mike MacIntyre||10–4||8–1|
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. 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.
The most recent coach, Mike MacIntyre, was hired on Dec. 10, 2012. MacIntyre has compiled a 20-29 record in four 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.
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 & 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 #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), Nebraska will return to Boulder in 2019. 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 currently leads the series 49–19–2.
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 currently leads the series 66–22–2.
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 has participated in 29 bowl games. The Buffaloes have a record of 12–17.
|1937||Bunny Oakes||Cotton||Rice||L 14–28||35,000||–|
|1956||Dallas Ward||Orange||Clemson||W 27–21||72,552||NBC|
|1961||Sonny Grandelius||Orange||LSU||L 7–25||62,391||NBC|
|1967||Eddie Crowder||Bluebonnet||Miami (FL)||W 31–21||30,156||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|
|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|
|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|
|1999||Gary Barnett||Insight.com||Boston College||W 62–28||35,762||ESPN|
|2002||Alamo||Wisconsin||L 28–31 (OT)||50,690||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|
|Year||Name||Position||Rank in Heisman voting||Points|
The following is a list of Consensus All-Americans from CU as listed in NCAA record books.
Announced schedules as of January 19, 2017
Colorado State (at Denver)
at Colorado State
vs. North Dakota State
vs. Georgia Tech
at Georgia Tech
|Sept. 2 |
vs Fresno State
vs Texas A&M
at Air Force
vs Air Force
at Texas A&M
vs. Kansas State
|Sept. 16 |
at Kansas State
The 1937 Colorado Buffaloes football team was an American football team that represented the University of Colorado during the 1937 college football season. Head coach Bunny Oakes led the team to a 7–0 mark in the Rocky Mountain Conference (RMC) and 8–0 during the regular season. The team then lost to Rice in the 1938 Cotton Bowl Classic, to finish at 8–1 overall. This was the program's final year in the RMC, as they moved to the Mountain States Conference the following year.1939 Colorado Buffaloes football team
The 1939 Colorado Buffaloes football team was an American football team that represented the University of Colorado during the 1939 college football season. Head coach Bunny Oakes led the team to a 5–1 mark in the MSC and 5–3 overall. This was the program's first year in the Mountain States Conference.1949 Colorado Buffaloes football team
The 1949 Colorado Buffaloes football team was an American football team that represented the University of Colorado during the 1949 college football season. Head coach Dallas Ward led the team to a 1–4 mark in the "Big 7" and 3–7 overall.1952 Colorado Buffaloes football team
The 1952 Colorado Buffaloes football team was an American football team that represented the University of Colorado during the 1952 college football season. Head coach Dallas Ward led the team to a 2–2–2 mark in the "Big 7" and 6–2–2 overall.1960 Colorado Buffaloes football team
The 1960 Colorado Buffaloes football team was an American football team that represented the University of Colorado during the 1960 college football season. Head coach Sonny Grandelius led the team to a 5–2 mark in the "Big 8" and 6–4 overall.1961 Colorado Buffaloes football team
The 1961 Colorado Buffaloes football team was an American football team that represented the University of Colorado during the 1961 college football season. Head coach Sonny Grandelius led the team to a 7–0 mark in the "Big 8" and 9–2 overall.1970 Colorado Buffaloes football team
The 1970 Colorado Buffaloes football team represented the University of Colorado during the 1970 NCAA University Division football season. The Buffaloes were led by eighth-year head coach Eddie Crowder and home games were played on campus in Boulder at Folsom Field.1976 Colorado Buffaloes football team
The 1976 Colorado Buffaloes football team represented the University of Colorado Boulder in the Big Eight Conference (Big 8) during the 1976 NCAA Division I football season. In their third season under head coach Bill Mallory, the Buffaloes compiled an 8–4 record (5–2 against Big 8 opponents), finished in a three-way tie for the Big 8 championship, and outscored their opponents, 305 to 225. The team played its home games on campus at Folsom Field in Boulder, Colorado.
On New Year's Night, Colorado played in the Orange Bowl for the first time in fifteen years, but were defeated 27–10 by the Ohio State Buckeyes of the Big Ten Conference.1977 Colorado Buffaloes football team
The 1977 Colorado Buffaloes football team represented the University of Colorado Boulder in the Big Eight Conference during the 1977 NCAA Division I football season. Led by fourth-year head coach Bill Mallory, the Buffaloes were 7–3–1 overall and 3–3–1 in the Big 8.
Colorado was a defending conference co-champion and won its first five games to reach third in the polls in October, its highest rank in five years. A disappointing 2–3–1 finish knocked them out of a bowl berth.1979 Colorado Buffaloes football team
The 1979 Colorado Buffaloes football team represented the University of Colorado during the 1979 NCAA Division I-A football season.1981 Colorado Buffaloes football team
The 1981 Colorado Buffaloes football team represented the University of Colorado at Boulder during the 1981 NCAA Division I-A football season. It was Chuck Fairbanks' final season as head coach.1983 Colorado Buffaloes football team
The 1983 Colorado Buffaloes football team represented the University of Colorado at Boulder during the 1983 NCAA Division I-A football season. Colorado renewed its rivalry with Colorado State after 25 years and posted a winning record after three games for the first time since 1978.1984 Colorado Buffaloes football team
The 1984 Colorado Buffaloes football team represented the University of Colorado at Boulder during the 1984 NCAA Division I-A football season. The season was marked by the trauma endured during the September 15 game versus Oregon as sophomore tight end Ed Reinhardt suffered a career-ending, life-threatening brain injury.1990 Colorado Buffaloes football team
The 1990 Colorado Buffaloes football team represented the University of Colorado Boulder in the 1990 NCAA Division I-A football season. The Buffaloes offense scored 338 points while the defense allowed 160 points. Led by head coach Bill McCartney, Colorado defeated Notre Dame 10–9 in the 1991 Orange Bowl to conclude the season.
Colorado was selected national champions by AP, Berryman, Billingsley, DeVold, FB News, Football Research, FW, Matthews, NFF, Sporting News, and USA/CNN, and co-champion by both FACT and NCF -all NCAA-designated major selectors. Georgia Tech took the UPI Coaches poll title, with both Washington and Miami receiving national titles from other selectors.1991 Colorado Buffaloes football team
The 1991 Colorado Buffaloes football team represented the University of Colorado at Boulder in the 1991 NCAA Division I FBS football season. The team was coached by 10th year head coach Bill McCartney, played their home games in Folsom Field in Boulder, Colorado, and were members of the Big Eight Conference. They finished with a record of 8–3–1 (6–0–1 Big 8) to finish as co-conference champions, and they lost to Alabama 30–25 in the 1991 Blockbuster Bowl. In the final AP Poll and Coaches' Poll, Colorado was ranked #20 in both polls.1993 Colorado Buffaloes football team
The 1993 Colorado Buffaloes football team represented the University of Colorado at Boulder in the 1993 NCAA Division I-A football season. The team was led by head coach Bill McCartney and played their home games at Folsom Field in Boulder, Colorado. The Buffaloes participated as members of the Big 8 Conference.2001 Colorado Buffaloes football team
The 2001 Colorado Buffaloes football team represented the University of Colorado at Boulder during the 2001 NCAA Division I-A football season. The team played their home games at Folsom Field in Boulder, Colorado. They participated in the Big 12 Conference in the North Division. They were coached by head coach Gary Barnett. Colorado played in the Big 12 Championship Game for the first time and secured its first BCS bowl berth.2009 Colorado Buffaloes football team
The 2009 Colorado Buffaloes football team represented the University of Colorado in the 2009 NCAA Division I FBS college football season. The Buffaloes were led by fourth-year head coach Dan Hawkins and played their home games at Folsom Field. The Buffaloes finished the season with a record of 3–9 and 2–6 in Big 12 play.2015 Colorado Buffaloes football team
The 2015 Colorado Buffaloes football team represented the University of Colorado at Boulder during the 2015 NCAA Division I FBS football season. Led by third-year head coach Mike MacIntyre, the Buffaloes played their home games on-campus at Folsom Field in Boulder and were members of the South Division of the Pac-12 Conference. They finished the season 4–9, 1–8 in Pac-12 play to finish in last place in the South Division.
Colorado Buffaloes football
|Bowls & rivalries|
|Culture & lore|
National championship seasons in bold
Located in: Boulder, Colorado
Pac-12 Conference football
|Championships & awards|