Steamboat Springs Some of Joel Adams’ fondest memories of playing for the University of Colorado football team came as a result of one of the Big 12’s longest-running rivalries.
Future CU football players might not have those same memories after Thursday’s announcement that Colorado will jump ship from the Big 12 and join the Pac-10.
Adams, who graduated from Steamboat Springs High School in 2003 and from CU in December 2008, will never forget the annual day-after-Thanksgiving games against the University of Nebraska.
“That was always the rivalry game that I watched and looked forward to by far every year,” Adams said. “If that does end up going away, that will be hardest one to see. Ever since 2001, I remember watching from Steamboat and seeing CU run over Nebraska.”
Beginning in 2012, those days could be numbered.
Pac-10 and CU officials confirmed Thursday what had been speculated since December: The Pac-10 extended a formal invitation to the conference, and Colorado accepted. The Buffs will play the 2010 and 2011 seasons in the Big 12 before moving to the Pac-10 in 2012.
Nebraska and the University of Missouri are rumored to be courted by the Big 10, and Nebraska officials are expected to announce their intentions today. It’s also been rumored that Texas, Texas Tech, Texas A&M, Oklahoma and Oklahoma State are sought by the Pac-10. If they are invited, and accept, the result could be a 16-team, two-division conference.
Pac-10 Commissioner Larry Scott, however, said in a conference call Thursday that no other Big 12 team has been extended a formal invitation.
“Well, we’ve been looking at Colorado for quite some time,” Scott said. “We felt we’ve been through an exhaustive and deliberate process, and it was clear to us if we were going to expand Colorado would be a great fit.”
Scott said that despite numerous media reports, there remains the possibility Colorado could be the only team to join the Pac-10. Most, however, see that as unlikely.
Some local Colorado alumni see positives in the move, despite the possible loss of the rivalry football game against Nebraska.
In addition to stronger alumni bases in Pac-10 territory, many of Colorado’s recruits come from California, something that could be a big selling point for the Buffs.
“I’m excited about it and I’m not,” said Nate Bird, a Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club freestyle coach and 2001 graduate of Colorado. “It’s cool going to the Pac-10 and getting to play some big-name teams. It’s quite a relief to not be going to the Mountain West Conference, which I was worried about.
“But I don’t know what to do the day after Thanksgiving. These were teams I was watching play before I could talk with a little CU Buffaloes shirt on."