Denver — This time, the showdown is at sunrise.
Rivals Colorado and Colorado State open the season today with a novel 10 a.m. (local time) kickoff at Invesco Field, which comes a bit early for fans trekking down from Fort Collins or Boulder to tailgate before the Rocky Mountain Showdown or for students accustomed to either wolfing down breakfast or grabbing some extra Z's at that hour.
"Very unusual," Buffaloes defensive tackle George Hypolite said. "But we did some things with scrimmages, waking up early. (Coach Dan Hawkins) sent out text messages to the team: 'Try to get up at 5 a.m.' So, we're going to try to prepare as best we can for that 10 a.m. start.
"But at the end of the day, we're football players, they're football players. I doubt that's going to affect the game."
Rams coach Sonny Lubick said, "the farm boys would be down at 6:30 a.m. anyway and the big city boys would have to be dragged out of bed for an early game. We won't change our routine much for this one."
Both schools are hoping for an early jump on changing their fortunes, too.
The Rams lost their last seven in 2006 to finish 4-8, and the Buffs kept almost every game close but came out of Dan Hawkins' inaugural season a dismal 2-10.
"It's kind of like the Monty Python episode where the guy is laying there with no arms and no legs going 'Come back, you coward!' That's me," a defiant Hawkins said when his rookie campaign came to a close.
The Rams sorely missed running back Kyle Bell, who missed all of last season after blowing out a knee during camp. In his absence, the Rams' bevy of backups rushed for the fewest amount of yards in Lubick's dozen years at Colorado State - 112 yards a game and 3.1 yards a carry.
Bell and Lubick are hoping for a return to his 2005 form, when he ran for 1,288 yards and 10 touchdowns.