Can Deion Sanders and Buffaloes hold up to "Peacock pressure" in Lincoln?

Coach Prime leads his team into familiar territory with a new outlook in a renewed rivalry
Mar 30, 2024; Arlington, TX, USA; Colorado Buffaloes football head coach Deion Sanders before the game between the Arlington Renegades and the Birmingham Stallions at Choctaw Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports
Mar 30, 2024; Arlington, TX, USA; Colorado Buffaloes football head coach Deion Sanders before the game between the Arlington Renegades and the Birmingham Stallions at Choctaw Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports / Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports
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Your scribe hopes reading these musings has been enjoyable for you because it has sure been fun for this 66-year-old dude to wander down memory lane to some fantastic times in the history of the Buffs.

I received a request last week and it went to the tune of “Hey, write about the Buffs playing at Nebraska on NBC. It’s the first time the Buffs have played on the network since the 1995 Fiesta Bowl.” Okay. That’s pretty easy.

The 1995 Fiesta Bowl on NBC? Bill McCartney’s last game after his sudden retirement decision. The shellacking of Lou Holtz and the Fighting Irish. McCartney finishes 2-1 in matchups with Holtz between Colorado and Notre Dame. All those great players move on to NFL, including the school’s only Heisman winner, the late and beloved Rashaan Salaam. NBC was the blowtorch sharing the story to the world.

When the Buffs venture into Memorial Stadium in Lincoln this September, it will be the eighth time they have played on NBC: Four Orange Bowls (1962, 1977, 1990 and ’91) and two Fiesta Bowls.

Back when the 1989 and 90 Buffs played back to back Orange Bowl games against Notre Dame, I was the “Buff Guy” for KCNC-TV in Denver. We were an NBC owned and operated shop at the time. When O.J. Simpson passed recently? Many asked my thoughts. I had a few discussions with Simpson when he was NBC’s sideline reporter. The Juice and McIntosh had chats at practices in Miami in the days leading up to the games. All designed to give the, then, respected man “inside” scoop on the team. He was NBC’s guy, I was the Buffs guy for the NBC station known as the “Home of the Buffs.” ” It made sense.

Six bowl games, the upcoming game in Lincoln makes eight NBC appearances. The other? The 1990 epic battle with Tennessee in the “Pigskin Classic.” Another unforgettable game in the history of Colorado football. Two great teams getting down and dirty on the baseball field of what was known as the “Big A” in Anaheim, California. Then it was also home to the Los Angeles Rams before they fled to St. Louis for a while. It was also home to the Los Angeles Angels. Late August? It’s still baseball season. The Buffs and Vols played on terrible turf for football The infield dirt was rock-hard.

Great game. Soiled and dusty, the players departed the inferior field to a breathtaking 31-31 tie. Future first-round draft choice Mike Pritchard moved from receiver to running back and rushed for 217 yards and two scores. His NFL Draft status zoomed afterward. Buffs star running back Eric Bieniemy’s suspension from the game opened the hole and Pritchard sprinted through it. NBC had Don Criqui and Hall of Fame coach Bill Walsh behind the microphones on that hot and sultry southern California day. Another moment from those days covering what was the inaugural Pigskin Classic pitting western and eastern powers in a kickoff to the college football season? My then eight-month-old son began to crawl.

What? The now 34-year-old and his old man were napping in our hotel in Orange County. I had a break from reporting on the buildup to the game, Kyle’s mom was shopping at a popular nearby mall and we’re catching some zzzz’s. I wake up, check the blanket on the floor where he WAS lying when his dad conked out. Wait a second? Where is he? Little guy had awakened and decided to start crawling. His old man is freaking out wondering. “Where in the hell is my son?”

He was discovered within seconds. In the bathroom. He had pulled himself up and was gawking at me with chocolate chip eyes and hands firmly on the toilet lid with, “Look what I did” written across his handsome mug. Unforgettable.

NBC peering down on the Buffs’ football fortunes? Colorado is 2-4-1. The first seven appearances were born from CU’s gridiron success. This fall? In that sea-of-red stadium that’s Nebraska’s third-largest city on game day, will it hint at the same? Peacock pressure.

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Mark McIntosh


Mark McIntosh covered the Buffs as a sports broadcaster for KCNC-TV during the glory years of Colorado football from the late 1980’s through 2006. He also hosted the television coaches' shows of Bill McCartney, Rick Neuheisel, and Gary Barnett during that time frame.  McIntosh is an author, motivational speaker and encourages others to persevere despite life’s challenges. The father of two is an advocate for equity in education and helping displaced men build a stronger cord to their families, purpose and communities.  The Missouri native also suffers from a rare bone marrow disease, Amyloidosis, and advocates for earlier detection of the incurable disease that attacks vital organs like the kidneys, heart, lungs, and liver.