A Ralphie handler waves the University of Colorado flag as the football team runs onto the field last year. Preparations are in full swing for the first home game of the year Saturday against Hawaii.
A Ralphie handler waves the University of Colorado flag as the football team runs onto the field last year. Preparations are in full swing for the first home game of the year Saturday against Hawaii.

If you go

What: Colorado vs. Hawaii

When: 1:30 p.m. Saturday

Where: Folsom Field

Cost: Tickets still available, ranging from $30 to $105

TV: Fox College Sports


Game day transportation

Buses start departing from park-n-Rides at 11 a.m. until 12:15 p.m. Passengers are dropped off and picked up at Folsom Street and Colorado Avenue, less than a block from the stadium. Return service resumes immediately following the game and continues until 45 minutes after the game ends.

Round-trip prices and locations

$9: Cold Spring park-n-Ride, I-25 and Broadway Station park-n-Ride, Nine Mile Station, Southmoor Station park-n-Ride, Wadsworth and Hampden park-n-Ride, Wagon Road park-n-Ride, Westminster Center park-n-Ride

$7: Longmont park-n-Ride, Roosevelt Park park-n-Ride, U.S. 36 and Broomfield park-n-Ride, U.S. 36 and McCaslin park-n-Ride

$4: Table Mesa park-n-Ride (BuffRide and Buff Shuttle location)

Source: Regional Transportation District, RTD-Denver.com/BuffRide

With only two days until the first home game of the Buffs’ football season, the University of Colorado is bustling with students and officials preparing for the game.

Meetings between the athletics department, CU police, Argus security, Boulder police and other agencies have been taking place all week to nail down last-minute details for Saturday’s game against Hawaii.

“It takes around 1,500 to 2,000 personnel to make things run smoothly during home games,” said Tom McGann, associate athletic director of game management and operations. “A lot of people don’t realize how many people it takes to make this happen.”

Folsom Field may not be filled up for game day. On Tuesday, CU reported 10,000 tickets were still available.

David Plati, athletic department spokesman, said there’s no perfect formula for predicting ticket sales, but he has a few ideas on why seats remain.

“When you’re coming off a loss, that can affect the advance sales,” Plati said of last weekend’s 52-7 thumping at Cal. “Others wait to see what the weather is like on game day and will buy a ticket then.”

While preparations for Saturday’s game began more than a month ago, there are always last-minute details.

Several agencies across campus and from the city are coordinating security efforts, caterers, traffic and parking, concessions, electricians and grounds crew, among others.

Transportation and security are the biggest challenges for most home games, according to campus officials.

“We have to prepare security for a packed house,” said CU police spokeswoman Molly Bosley. “We’ll have the appropriate levels of security available at the game venue and around campus and our area of city.”

Bosley said that while criminal activity does increase during home games, especially alcohol-related offenses, it is not a significant change.

Boulder police are also preparing to help out with crowds, said traffic commander Kurt Weiler. Boulder police support CU operations on game days since most of the action is happening on campus, he said.

McGann said parking and traffic are always a struggle during home games since so many people are trying to get to and from campus at the same time.

“We’re prepared with traffic controllers to help maintain transportation, but no matter what we do, it’s going to be busy,” McGann said. “All I can say is get there early if you don’t want to miss kickoff.”

There will be special touches this weekend as well. The Marine Corps is preparing to fly four F-18s after the National Anthem on Saturday. And the Hawaii game is part of Alfred Williams Day, celebrating the former Buff linebacker’s induction into the College Football Hall of Fame.

Students said they aren’t doing much to prepare for the game on Saturday since many of them have just a short walk to campus and don’t have to worry about parking and transportation.

CU senior Justin Lang has been preparing for the game with the Herd Leadership Council, which organizes pre-game events with Ralphie.

“We do some preparation like getting food and other props ready for the game, but most of our work happens on game day,” Lang said.

McGann said despite weeks of preparation and years of experience organizing home game efforts, last-minute details always pop up and at this point they’re just hoping for the best.

“We all know what we need to be doing on Saturday so now we’ll just hope it runs smoothly,” McGann said.