NCAAF Colorado Buffaloes

General Information

  • NCAA Division: Division I
  • Conference: Pac-12
  • City: Boulder, Colorado
  • Stadium: Folsom Field


  • National Championships: 1
  • Conference Titles:26
  • Division Titles: 5
  • Bowl Record: 12-17

Past Conferences

  • Independent (1890–1892, 1905)
  • CFA (1893–1904, 1906–1908)
  • RMAC (1909–1937)
  • Skyline (1938–1947)
  • Big Eight (1948–1995)
  • Big 12 (1996–2010)

NCAAF Colorado Buffaloes Football History

The Colorado Buffaloes fielded its first football team in the early 1900s. They were independent until joining the Rocky Mountain Conference in 1910. They ripped off three straight undefeated seasons from 1909-1911.

Myron Witham began coaching the Buffaloes in 1920. The Buffaloes had just one losing season while he was at the helm. He led the Buffaloes to a perfect 9-0 record in 1923. Witham led the Buffaloes to a 63-26-7 overall record in his career at Colorado.

Bunny Oakes became head coach of the Buffaloes in 1935. He led the Buffaloes to four winning seasons during his five-year stint. Oakes and the Buffaloes went 8-1 in 1937 and appeared in their first Cotton Bowl.

After a few middling seasons throughout the early 40s, Dallas Ward was named head coach in 1948. After two three-win seasons, Ward led the Buffaloes to nine straight winning seasons. In 1956, the Buffaloes finished with an 8-2-1 overall record. They went on to beat Clemson in the Orange Bowl. Ward was out after the 1958 season and finished his career at Colorado with a 63-41-6 overall record.

Eddie Crowder coached the Buffaloes from 1963-1973. His career started with back-to-back two-win seasons in 1963 and 1964. After that point, the Buffaloes would have just two more losing seasons under Crowder. In 1967, they finished with a 9-2 record and were invited to the Bluebonnet Bowl where they beat the Miami Hurricanes 31-21. The Buffaloes played in four straight bowl games from 1969-1972. The 1971 season was especially special for Colorado. They finished with a 10-2 record and beat Houston in the Bluebonnet Bowl. He was out after the 1973 season and finished his career at Colorado with a 67-49-3 overall record.

Bill Mallory was at the helm from 1974-1978. He led the Buffaloes to a 35-21 overall record during his stint. In 1975 they finished 9-3 and won the Bluebonnet Bowl. In 1976, Mallory led them to an 8-4 record and earned a trip to the Orange Bowl. Mallory’s last season was in 1978.

Bill McCartney was hired in 1982 after a short stint with Chuck Fairbanks. After two losing seasons to start his career at Colorado, the Buffaloes never had another losing season under McCartney. They made the Freedom Bowl in 1985 after finishing with a 7-5 overall record. McCartney led the Buffaloes to eight straight winning seasons and seven straight bowl games from 1987-1994. The 1989 and 1990 seasons ended with the Buffaloes going 11-1 in each season. They were invited to the Orange Bowl in both seasons.

In 1989 they lost 21-6 in the Orange Bowl to Notre Dame. However, they won in 1990 after beating Notre Dame 10-9. The Buffaloes would finish 11-1 in 1994 and go on to beat Notre Dame 41-21 in the Fiesta Bowl. It was their third time winning 11 games under McCartney. It would be his last season at the helm. He finished his career at Colorado with a 93-55-5 overall record and a 3-6 bowl record.

Rick Neuheisel coached the Buffaloes from 1995-1998. He started his stint off with two 10-win seasons. They went on to win back-to-back bowl games in each season. They were ranked top 5 during both seasons. After a losing record in 1997, the Buffaloes went 8-4 in 1998. They went on to beat Oregon 51-43 in the Aloha Classic. He left for Washington after the 1998 season. He left Colorado with a 33-14 overall record.

Gary Barnett coached the Buffaloes from 1999-2005. In his first season, Barnett led the Buffaloes to a 7-5 record and an Insight Bowl invite. After an underwhelming season in 2000, the Buffaloes put up 10 wins in 2001 and nine in 2002. Unfortunately, they lost back-to-back bowl games in those seasons. In 2004, the Buffaloes finished 8-5 and were invited to the Houston Bowl. They beat Texas-El Paso 33-28. Barnette was out after the 2005 season and left Colorado with a 49-38 overall record.

Dan Hawkins coached the Buffaloes from 2006-2010. The Buffaloes didn’t enjoy a single winning season while Hawkins was at the helm. However, they did finish the 2007 season at 6-6 before losing the Independence Bowl to Alabama. Hawkins was let go during the 2010 season after starting 3-6.

Mike MacIntyre was named head coach in 2013, after a two-year stint with Jon Embree. Maclntyre led the Buffaloes to a 10-4 record in 2015. It was their only time finishing with a winning record while he was at the helm. He finished his career at Colorado in 2018 after another losing season.

Karl Dorrell coached the Buffaloes from 2020-2022. He led them to a combined 8-15 record over three seasons. Hall-of-fame cornerback Deion Sanders was named head coach after the 2022 season.

All Time Records

Passing Yards

  • Sefo Liufau: 9,746
  • Steven Montez: 9,710
  • Cody Hawkins: 7,731
  • Joel Klatt: 7,708
  • Kordell Stewart: 6,481

Rushing Yards

  • Eric Bieniemy: 3,940
  • Phillip Lindsay: 3,775
  • Rodney Stewart: 3,598
  • Bobby Purify: 3,096
  • Rashaan Salaam: 3,057

Receiving Yards

  • Nelson Spruce: 3,347
  • Shay Fields: 2,590
  • Scotty McKnight: 2,588
  • Michael Westbrook: 2,548
  • Rae Carruth: 2,540

What is the highest win total in program history?

The Colorado Buffaloes won 11 games in both the 1989 and 1990 college football seasons under head coach Bill McCartney. Both seasons ended with a trip to the Orange Bowl. The 1989 team lost to Notre Dame in the Orange Bowl while the 1990 team avenged the loss and beat Notre Dame in the Orange Bowl.

What was the worst season in program history?

The 2022 Buffaloes finished with an abysmal 1-11 overall record under head coach Karl Dorrell. The Buffaloes scored just 15 points per game while surrendering north of 40 points per game.

How many total bowl games have the Buffaloes appeared in?

The Buffaloes have played in 29 total bowl games and currently hold a 12-17 bowl record. They’ve played in just two bowl games over the past ten seasons.
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