On their trip to Boulder, Colo., the University of Central Arkansas Bears didn’t defeat the Colorado Buffaloes, but a Buffalo stampede was avoided.
It resulted in one of the strangest entrances ever for a home.
Colorado has one of the most ominous and identifiable mascots in college football — Ralphie the Bison — a 1,300-pounder. Actually, there are two Ralphies, one a female, but I’m not sure many want to get close enough to check the gender.
The Buffalo mascot has been around since 1934. In 1957, Colorado began using a live mascot named “Mr. Chips.” The Ralphie tradition began with a donation in 1966.
College football observers have labeled Ralphie charging onto the field and leading the team one of the greatest traditions in football, especially pregame.
Ralphie is guided by cowboys, who literally practice holding on to the rope. Guiding is “Bisonian” for “hang on for dear life.” Normally, Ralphie charges in sort of a circle/square pattern about the stadium, to boisterous cheers, before retiring to a specially made trailer. The cowboys, holding on to the ropes, are spun about like folks on one of those fast-rotating amusement park rides.
The home opener for Colorado was last weekend against UCA. The Buffs had a new coaching staff headed by Mike MacIntyre.
Somebody didn’t get the pregame memo.
As Ralphie was working into his pregame lather ready for the charge the mascot has been doing for half a century, the Colorado football team ran onto the field in front of the beast.
How many ways can you spell liability?
Ralphie had to be pulled back into the trailer. Stirring entry denied.
The Colorado crowd, ready to welcome Ralphie as part of the longstanding tradition, was not happy.
As this new Colorado football team ran onto the field for its debut under a new coaching staff, the crowd booed.
They wanted Ralphie.
Hearty boos for the home opener. It was one of the worst greetings for a home team in the history of college football.
UCA waited its turn, coming on after the Colorado team and after Ralphie was in the trailer.
“I wasn’t going to take my team on the field with that Buffalo running around,” said UCA coach Clint Conque.
Somehow, I hear the words, “Oh, give me a home, where the buffalo roam — and the team waits to run on the field.”
The Buffalo football team prevailed, but it wasn’t entirely at home on the range.
(Sports columnist David McCollum can be reached at 505-1235 or email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @dmaclcd)