Coach Dan Hawkins was 16 years old the last time the program played a team from a non-Bowl Championship Series conference in a true road game outside the state. Almost 32 years later, the Buffs will head for the airport this afternoon for a flight to Toledo where they face the Rockets at The Glass Bowl Stadium on Friday night.
The Buffs have been to Fort Collins to play Colorado State a few times during that span, but a lot of football seasons have come and gone since the program boarded a plane to face anyone other than a BCS foe in the regular season on the road outside Colorado.
Jimmy Carter was president and Bill Mallory was head coach in Boulder in October of 1977 when CU traveled to New York for a game with Army. The Buffs won 31-0.
BCS teams have been making more trips to play at smaller schools in recent years because those programs are demanding a chance to play the big boys on their home turf. Non-BCS teams are even willing to go as far as scheduling two or three games on the road against the BCS program in exchange for one game on their home field.
Look no further than Laramie, Wyo., this weekend for a perfect example. Generally the only time the Texas Longhorns leave the Lone Star state is for a nonconference game against a team such as Ohio State, a conference game or a bowl game.
CU athletic director Mike Bohn said non-BCS schools are becoming more shrewd in the scheduling game, which has forced some difficult choices for programs. Some opt to play the road games. Others choose to schedule more home games against teams from the Football Championship Subdivision.
Hawkins, who spent five seasons at Boise State and has seen things from the perspective of the little guy, said he sees Friday`s game as an abnormality more than a trend.
"It doesn`t happen very much," he said of BCS programs going on the road to play non-BCS schools.
Colorado originally was supposed to play Miami (Ohio) this season, another team from the MidAmerican Conference. But the Redhawks backed out last spring in order to play Kentucky on a neutral field in Cincinnati for a bigger pay day.
CU had only scheduled Miami (Ohio) in the first place back in 2006 because ESPN agreed to televise the return game. ESPN honored that promise and helped set up this season`s game last spring.
Secondary coach Greg Brown said he is hoping strong safety Patrick Mahnke will be able to play against Toledo, after missing the season opener with a sprained ankle. Brown said the sophomore safety was able to practice for the first time Wednesday, but it remains unclear if he will be ready to face a Toledo passing game that put up more than 400 yards in Week 1.
"They`re a nightmare for a secondary and for a pass defense," Brown said.
Brown said Toledo senior wide receiver Stephen Williams is a pro prospect. Williams looked the part in the Rockets season opening loss to Purdue. He caught 15 passes for 185 yards and two touchdowns.
Brown is also impressed with Toledo quarterback Aaron Opelt, who comes into the game, albeit after only one week, leading the nation in passing. Opelt completed 41 of 67 attempts for 423 yards and three scores.
Both Brown and Dan Hawkins said there are similarities between what Toledo does offensively and what Missouri runs. That might be very bad news.
The past two times the Buffs have played Missouri, the Tigers have won by a combined score of 113-10.
Scotty McKnight said he is feeling better after suffering a concussion in the opener and he expects to play Friday. ... Walk-on true freshman quarterback Jerry Slota has been temporarily suspended for the team. Hawkins said he is gathering more information about Slota`s situation.