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Road to Game Day: Week 11, Boulder

Words by Keith Arnold, who ↵is touring the country with his brother Phil as they invade a different ↵college campus each Saturday during the football season. They’ll be reporting back in this space with their various adventures. You can also keep tabs on their vagabonding over at RoadtoGameDay.com. On Saturday, they were in Boulder for the Oklahoma State-Colorado game.
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Even after our heart-to-heart with Cody Hawkins, it wasn’t enough for the overmatched Colorado Buffaloes, who couldn’t quite hang with the Oklahoma State Cowboys. That said, I’m not sure that the student body lost much sleep over it. Or even noticed. Spending a good part of the game in the semi-vacant student section, it smelled like we were at a Phish concert instead of a football game, as an herbal aroma familiar to many Boulderites passed through the stands. It probably helped explain the mellowness ... and the long lines at the concession stands. ↵

↵I’m writing this from Silverthorne, Colorado, a little ski town tucked in the Rockies, at nearly 10,000 feet. (We’re even higher than the CU student section ... Zing!) It’s legitimately hard to breath up here, and just walking up stairs makes me feel like a chubby 12-year-old battling exercise-induced asthma during the mile run. Our first trip to CU certainly lived up to its nickname “The People’s Republic of Boulder.” Nowhere we’ve seen this season has even been in the same stratosphere of “green-ness” as the Buffaloes, who are proud to be “the first Bowl Championship Series school in the nation to launch a zero-waste program for football games,” which basically means that everything, down to the nacho trays, is either compostable or recycled. They’ve even set up a valet service for people who ride their bikes to the game. These people are serious about being green. ↵

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↵An interesting dichotomy exists in Boulder, as Colorado stands pretty much alone philosophically and politically from the other schools of the Big 12. This place even makes Austin feel conservative. Yet it’s not hard to see why the people are like this in Boulder. The natural beauty here is staggering, and you can feel the obligation the town has towards preserving it. Besides, it’s really fun to talk about things like wind powered technology and carbon offsets. I think I almost made a girl faint when I talked to her about “carbon neutrality.” I kept telling her it was a problem that people were having with late model Oldsmobiles. She didn’t find this funny. ↵

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↵There is a sense of pride in the environmentalist nature of Boulder. Whether it’s shown in the lumberjack beards guys must start growing here at puberty, or the “healthy” look of people who have been conserving shower water for weeks, these people really don’t care what anyone else thinks. ↵

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↵As we stood in the half-filled student section, watching the Colorado Snowboard Team launch off a series of rails and jumps behind the end zone, Phil marveled at the fact that Colorado won a National Championship in 1990. It just doesn’t seem to fit. Yet, being at the game you could feel the loyalty and tradition of Colorado football. You could tell that Folsom in its prime must’ve been one of the greatest game day atmospheres in college football. Somewhere, hidden behind the mellow, laid-back nature of its fanbase, is a group ready to come out of hibernation. If the school can put as much pride into football as it does into recycling or Ralphie the Buffalo, it won’t be long before the Buffs are back into college football’s elite. ↵

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↵[No trees were harmed in the typing of this article.] ↵↵

This post originally appeared on the Sporting Blog. For more, see The Sporting Blog Archives.