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There’s Much More to Football in Colorado than Broncos

Air Force, which has won the Commander-in-Chief’s Trophy a record 20 times, plays six games at Falcon Stadium during the 2018 season. The stadium is currently in the midst of a four-phase renovation, the first since the facility opened in 1962, and includes two new scoreboards, a new sound system and a home locker room renovation and expansion.

Air Force, which has won the Commander-in-Chief’s Trophy a record 20 times, plays six games at Falcon Stadium during the 2018 season. The stadium is currently in the midst of a four-phase renovation, the first since the facility opened in 1962, and includes two new scoreboards, a new sound system and a home locker room renovation and expansion.

But are you ready to pay the price?  

From the sheer cost of a ticket to other game-day essentials, such as parking, concessions and putting gas in the tank for the trip up Interstate 25, it’s just a simple fact that not everyone can afford the Broncos experience.

All is not lost, though.

Turn back your planner one day to Saturday. There are 10 other venues throughout the state of Colorado with college football programs, with each offering its own game-day experience chock full of pageantry, spirit and drama on the gridiron, no matter the level of competition.

And you won’t break the bank doing it.

Maybe you and your family are up for an afternoon (or night) out to witness the spectacle that is Falcon football at the United States Air Force Academy. Or perhaps it’s a day trip you’re after. Hit I-25 to start sojourns to Boulder (Colorado), Fort Collins (Colorado State), Greeley (Northern Colorado) or Pueblo (Colorado State-Pueblo). If it’s the back roads you want, games in Alamosa (Adams State), Gunnison (Western State) or Durango (Fort Lewis) are calling your name.

It’s the uniqueness, if anything, which makes each experience memorable in its own right.

Start with the Wings of Blue delivering the Air Force game ball with pinpoint precision, landing squarely on the Falcons logo at the 50-yard line, then soon after get blown away by the roar of the F-16s as they fly over during the end of the National Anthem.

“Falcon Stadium is a great place to be on game days,” says 12th-season Falcons football coach Troy Calhoun, who himself graduated from the Academy in 1989. “There is no better pregame atmosphere in college football than seeing the cadet march-on, the Falcon performing, the flyovers and everything else that Falcon football offers. The football is pretty good too.”

When you take your seat at Marv Kay Stadium at Campbell Field, home of the Colorado School of Mines, the game experience doubles as a history lesson. The site, home to the Orediggers since 1893, is the oldest football field west of the Mississippi River and was home to the first live football telecast in the Rockies on Nov. 1, 1952.

Want really thin air and a view of the brilliant foliage this fall? Mountaineer Bowl in Gunnison, home of Western State Colorado University, ranks as the highest college football field in the world at 7,750 feet, and the venue overlooks the Gunnison Valley toward the Curecanti National Recreation Area with breathtaking views of the state’s tallest peaks.

 If it’s a crowd you want, then Folsom Field, where you can share the game with 53,749 friends – the most among college venues in Colorado – has you covered. Then there’s the wow factor, delivered by the brand-new Canvas Stadium in Fort Collins, which brought football back to campus at Colorado State in 2017 for the first time in a half century, and bills itself as the most exclusive venue in northern Colorado.

Traveling to watch a winning program is a plus, too.

At Air Force, Calhoun has led the Falcons to nine bowl games and seems poised to make big strides following a 5-7 ledger in 2017. Prior to that, the Falcons went 10-3, claimed the Commander-in-Chief’s Trophy for a record 20th time and won a bowl game for the second time in three seasons.

Meanwhile, Colorado has returned to national prominence under sixth-year coach Mike McIntyre, who in 2016 led the Buffaloes to their first 10-win season in 15 years, while Colorado State has earned bowl berths in all three seasons that Mike Bobo has been at the helm, the only Rams coach in program history to accomplish that feat.

In 2014, Colorado State-Pueblo put its program on the map in the biggest of ways when the ThunderWolves won the Division II national championship, beating Minnesota State, 13-0 in Kansas City, Kan.

And to coach John Wristen, who has led the program since it was restarted in 2008, the winning is just part of the formula that makes for the complete in-person experience.

“Over the past 10 years, we have created a great game-day atmosphere at CSU-Pueblo,” Wristen says. “It’s become an event to come to the ThunderBowl. The tailgating has added to the special atmosphere, and people are having a lot of fun on a Saturday afternoon. We also created a tradition of winning.”

The spectators win, too. With budget-friendly prices, you can plan that next trip to make even more memories.

ADAMS STATE 

Location: Alamosa Academy 

Nickname: Grizzlies

Home Stadium: Rex Field

Miles from Downtown Colorado Springs: 175

CAA Affiliation: 

Division II

Conference: Rocky Mountain Athletic, 

Home Games: Sept. 15 (Black Hills State), Sept. 29 (Fort Lewis), Oct. 6 (Chadron State), Oct. 20 (CSU-Pueblo), Nov. 10 (Dixie State)

More Information: asugrizzlies.com

AIR FORCE ACADEMY 

Location: U.S. Air Force Nickname: Falcons

Home Stadium: 

Falcon Stadium

Miles from Downtown Colorado Springs: 13

NCAA Affiliation: FBS Division I

Conference: Mountain West

Home Games: Sept. 1 (Stony Brook), Sept. 29 (Nevada), Oct. 6 (Navy), Oct. 27 (Boise State), Nov. 10 (New Mexico), Nov. 22 (Colorado State) 

More Information: goairforcefalcons.com

COLORADO

Location: Boulder

Nickname: Buffaloes

Home Stadium: Folsom Field

Miles from Downtown Colorado Springs: 96

NCAA Affiliation: 

FBS Division I

Conference: Pac-12 

Home Games: Sept. 15 (New Hampshire), Sept. 28 (UCLA), Oct. 6 (Arizona State), Oct. 27 (Oregon State), Nov. 10 (Washington State), Nov. 17 (Utah)

More Information: 

cubuffs.com

COLORADO MESA

Location: Grand Junction

Nickname: Mavericks

Home stadium: Stocker Stadium

Miles from 

downtown Colorado Springs: 310

NCAA Affiliation: 

Division II

Conference: Rocky Mountain Athletic

Home Games: Sept. 1 (South Dakota Mines), Sept. 22 (Chadron State), Oct. 13 (CSU-Pueblo), Oct. 27 (Dixie State), Nov. 3 (Adams State), Nov. 17 (Utah)

More Information: cmumavericks.com

COLORADO SCHOOL OF MINES

Location: Golden

Nickname: Orediggers

Home stadium: 

Marv Kay Stadium at Campbell Field

Miles from Downtown Colorado Springs: 81

NCAA Affiliation: 

Division II

Conference: Rocky Mountain Athletic

Home Games: Sept. 1 (Adams State), Sept. 15 (CSU-Pueblo), Sept. 29 (Colorado Mesa), Oct. 20 (Azusa Pacific), Oct. 27 (South Dakota Mines), Nov. 10 (Chadron State)

More Information: minesathletics.com

COLORADO STATE

Location: Fort Collins

Nickname: Rams

Home Stadium: Canvas Stadium

Miles from Downtown Colorado Springs: 132

NCAA Affiliation: FBS Division I

Conference: 

Mountain West 

Home games: Aug. 25 (Hawaii), Sept. 8 (Arkansas), Illinois State (Sept. 22), Oct. 13 (New Mexico), Oct. 26 (Wyoming), Nov. 17 (Utah State)

More Information: csurams.com

COLORADO STATE-PUEBLO

Location: Pueblo

Nickname: ThunderWolves

Home Stadium: Neta and Eddie DeRose ThunderBowl

Miles from Downtown Colorado Springs: 44

NCAA Affiliation: Division II

Conference: Rocky Mountain Athletic 

Home Games: Sept. 1 (Dixie State), Sept. 8 (Chadron State), Sept. 29 (South Dakota Mines), Oct. 6 (New Mexico Highlands), Oct. 27 (Fort Lewis)

More Information: gothunderwolves.com

FORT LEWIS COLLEGE

Location: Durango

Nickname: Skyhawks

Home Stadium: Ray Dennison Memorial Field

Miles from Downtown Colorado Springs: 316

NCAA Affiliation: 

Division II

Conference: Rocky Mountain Athletic 

Home Games: Aug. 31 (New Mexico Highlands), Sept. 22 (Black Hills State), Oct. 6 (Colorado Mesa), Oct. 13 (Colorado Mines), Oct. 20 

(Western State

More Information: goskyhawks.com

NORTHERN COLORADO

Location: Greeley

Nickname: Bears

Home stadium: Nottingham Field

Miles from Downtown Colorado Springs: 131

NCAA affiliation: FCS Division I

Conference: Big Sky 

Home Games: Sept. 1 (McNeese State), Sept. 15 (Sacramento State), Sept. 29 (North Dakota), Oct. 6 (UC-Davis), Oct. 20 (Northern Arizona), Nov. 3 (Eastern Washington) 

More information: uncbears.com

WESTERN STATE COLORADO UNIVERSITY

Location: Gunnison

Nickname: Mountaineers

Home Stadium: Mountaineer Bowl

Miles from downtown Colorado Springs: 171

NCAA Affiliation: 

Division II

Conference: Rocky Mountain Athletic 

Home Games: Sept. 15 (Colorado Mesa), Sept. 22 (Adams State), Oct. 6 (Colorado Mines), Oct. 27 (Black Hills State), 

Nov. 10 (CSU-Pueblo)

More Information: gomountaineers.com