Pac-12 Releases League Schedules; CU's 2021 Slate Now Complete
BOULDER — The Pac-12 Conference released its schedule Tuesday morning for conference football games for the 2021 season, with the University of Colorado's final slate having four league home games along with seven games in the state of Colorado for the ninth time in 10 seasons.
The regular season also opens and closes with Friday games, marking the 26th straight year that the Buffaloes will have at least one non-Saturday contest.
The non-conference schedule has been set for years. The Buffs will open the season at home at Folsom Field on Friday night, Sept. 3 against Northern Colorado, which will mark the debut of UNC head coach and former Denver Bronco Ed McCaffrey. The Buffaloes lead the series 10-2, with the only meeting in the last 87 years coming in 2017, when CU defeated the Bears in Boulder, 41-21. It will be only Colorado's second season opener at home since 2009, coupled with last year's 48-42 thriller over UCLA.
Colorado will then host Texas A & M in Denver at Empower Field at Mile High on Saturday, Sept. 11. The two last met when both were members of the Big 12 Conference in 2009, though the series was scheduled to resume last year in College Station but the game was canceled due to the pandemic. The Buffaloes leads the series by a 6-3 count, though the schools have split the last four in defending their home fields. CU is 54-35-3 overall in games played in Denver, 26-11-1 against teams from other cities or states and 28-24-2 versus schools or teams based in the city.
Non-league play concludes the next Saturday (Sept. 18), when the Buffaloes host the University of Minnesota at Folsom. It will be the fourth-ever meeting with the Gophers, as CU leads the series, 3-0. The last time they played was in 1992 in Minneapolis at the now demolished Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome; Koy Detmer saw his first career action and came off the bench in the second half to rally CU to a 21-20 win after trailing 17-0 midway through the third quarter. That game was also the third as a CU assistant for current head coach Karl Dorrell, who was the receivers coach on the '92 staff. Minnesota's only trip to Boulder came the year before, a 58-0 CU victory. The Gophers were 3-4 last fall, with two of the setbacks coming in overtime.
The Buffs will open Pac-12 league play on the road for just the third time in the last eight years in traveling to Tempe to take on Arizona State on Saturday, Sept. 25; all ASU home games in the month of September are mandatory night contests. The Sun Devils leads the series, 8-3, but CU has won three of the last four; the 2020 game in Boulder was canceled due to the pandemic. CU will then host defending South Division champion Southern California on Saturday, Oct. 2, another opponent that had last fall's match-up wiped out. The Buffs will be searching for their first-ever win against USC, trailing 14-0 in the series, though the last five games have been nip-and-tuck affairs with the Trojans outscoring CU by 36 total points.
CU's lone bye week of the season falls on Oct. 9, and the Buffs remain at home for the annual Family Weekend affair against Arizona on Saturday, Oct. 16. Colorado's 24-13 win last December snapped a three-game losing streak to the Wildcats. It's then off on the Pac-12 road for the next two Saturdays with games at California (Oct. 23) and the defending league champ, Oregon (Oct. 30). CU and Cal have split the last four games, while the Buffs and Ducks have met just twice over the last five seasons (splitting those games); last December's match-up as divisional runner-ups was canceled when Oregon was bumped up into the Pac-12 title game.
The Buffaloes open November at home against Oregon State (Saturday, Nov. 6) in what will serve as CU's annual Homecoming contest, and will be out to avenge a 41-34 overtime loss to the Beavers in 2018 after leading, 31-3. The next Saturday, Colorado travels to Pasadena to take on UCLA in the Rose Bowl; CU has won three of the last five against Dorrell's alma mater and former team that he once coached. The home finale is set for Saturday, Nov. 20, against defending North Division champion Washington, as the Buffs will be going for two in a row over the Huskies after dropping nine straight in the series, including seven after joining the Pac-12 in 2011.
Colorado will close the regular season with a Friday after Thanksgiving game at Utah (Nov. 26; time of day to be determined). It will be the first regular season to end on a Friday for CU since 2012, as the Buffs and Utes ended their first two seasons in the Pac-12 on that Friday. Utah has won eight of the 10 games since both joined the conference, which has tied the series a 32 wins apiece with three ties.
The Pac-12 Championship game is scheduled for Friday, Dec. 3, at Allegiant Stadium in Las Vegas.
California and Oregon State reappear on the schedule for the first time since 2018; the opponent "misses" in conference play for the next two seasons are Stanford and Washington State.
Season ticket renewals will go out in mid-March; those who renew will have the first opportunity to purchase tickets for the Texas A&M game in Denver before they go on sale to the general public (and at a season ticket holder discount). All single game tickets will be available for purchase in July. Anyone interested in purchasing season tickets, please call 303-492-8282, and to donate to Buffs Football, visit www.cubuffclub.com/FBGive.
(At present, CU is preparing several scenarios related to fan attendance this fall, which will be dependent on the course of the COVID-19 pandemic and public health guidelines entering the season.)
NOTES: Colorado is one of two teams in the conference playing two Power 5 opponents in Texas A&M and Minnesota; Stanford is playing three (Kansas State, Vanderbilt and Notre Dame) … CU was 4-2 last year, with a 3-1 record in Pac-12 play, under Dorrell is his first year as CU's head coach, who was named the conference's Coach of the Year and the Football Writer's First-Year Coach of the Year. The Buffaloes are set to return 72 lettermen from that squad, including 20 starters (14 players on offense started half the games) … Television game selections and start times for the first three weeks of the season will be known by June 1, with all remaining games from Sept. 25 through the final week of the regular season to be made 12- or on occasion six-days in advance per contractual agreements with the Pac-12's television partners, ESPN, FOX and the Pac-12 Networks.
2021 COLORADO FOOTBALL SCHEDULE
|SEPT. 3||(Fri.) NORTHERN COLORADO (N)||BOULDER|
|Sept. 11||Texas A &M||Denver|
|Sept. 25||*at Arizona State (N)||Tempe|
|OCT. 2||*SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA||BOULDER|
|OCT. 16||*ARIZONA (FW)||BOULDER|
|Oct. 23||*at California||Berkeley|
|Oct. 30||*at Oregon||Eugene|
|NOV. 6||*OREGON STATE (HC)||BOULDER|
|Nov. 13||*at UCLA||Pasadena|
|Nov. 26||(Fri.) *at Utah||Salt Lake City|
|Dec. 3||(Fri.) Pac-12 Championship Game||Las Vegas|
*—Pac-12 Conference game.