Everyone wants a piece of the Colorado Buffaloes.
Deion Sanders has turned Colorado from a basement dweller to the hottest story of the 2023 college football season in the span of two weeks. Fox Sports and ESPN have taken notice and both networks are sending their college football morning crews to Boulder for next week’s rivalry game against the Colorado State Rams.
After Colorado dispatched with Nebraska 36-14 on Saturday, College GameDay announced they would be heading to Boulder for the first time since 1996.
Colorado get ready, WE'RE COMIN'!
— College GameDay (@CollegeGameDay) September 9, 2023
Big Noon Kickoff’s decision is a bit more notable because they were planning to head for Champaign, Illinois for the Illinois-Penn State game. However, given the massive ratings Colorado put up in Week 1 and the likely big numbers they’ll get this week, they’re going to keep riding the Coach Prime train for as long as they can.
BOULDER WE'RE COMING BACK ?
— Big Noon Kickoff (@BNKonFOX) September 9, 2023
It’s a notable move for Fox Sports for a number of reasons. First and foremost, it’s the first time they’ll be doing Big Noon Kickoff from a location where they’re not broadcasting the game. ESPN will broadcast Colorado vs. Colorado State at 8:00 p.m. ET.
It’s also the first time that BNK will remain at the same location for back-to-back weeks and it’s the first time that a non-Power Five school will be playing at their location.
All of this goes to show just how much Fox and FS1 want to be in the Colorado business right now.
Clearly, both networks are looking to own the Deion Sanders-Colorado redemption story as much as possible. Just look at how members of both FS1’s Undisputed and ESPN’s First Take descended on Boulder this weekend for the Colorado-Nebraska game.
FS1’s Michael Irvin was on hand.
The Playmaker in Black & Gold pic.twitter.com/vGZMW4u3s2
— RK (@RyanKoenigsberg) September 9, 2023
Meanwhile, ESPN’s Stephen A. Smith and Shannon Sharpe showed up as well.
— Stephen A Smith (@stephenasmith) September 9, 2023
Had to link up with my brother @stephenasmith We pulling up to the @CUBuffsFootball the right way!!! ? Coach @DeionSanders TELL EM’ you got some special guests!!#colorado #cubuffs #deionsanders #coachprime #shannonsharpe #stephenasmith #football #collegefootball #halloffame… pic.twitter.com/I1zo6eSahK
— shannon sharpe (@ShannonSharpe) September 9, 2023
If Sanders and the Buffs can keep the momentum going, we can expect that this is going to be a turf battle for the rest of the season between the two networks and their college football pre-game shows. If the ratings and interest are there, there’s no rule that says BNK can’t just park itself in Boulder or follow Colorado all season long. And ESPN has Colorado vs. Stanford in Boulder on October 13 to look forward to as well.
College football rarely sees a story like this. At best, it usually takes at least two seasons for a coach to turn a program from a loser into a contender, but everyone seems to know that Deion has captured lightning in a bottle. And in classic college football fashion, it’s a battle to see who can monetize it the most.