UNITED STATES NEWS

Big 12 not quite the same, but it feels like home to a 98-year-old Colorado fan

Jul 27, 2023, 10:28 PM

Peggy Coppom hasn’t quite seen it all with the Colorado Buffaloes, but she’s seen much more than most, so believe her when she says Thursday was a good day to be a fan.

The 98-year-old has been attending football games since her family moved from the high plains of eastern Colorado to Boulder in 1939 to escape the Dust Bowl, and she’s missed only a couple home games since buying season tickets in 1966.

The excitement in her voice was obvious during a phone call minutes after university regents approved the school’s return to the Big 12 in 2024.

“I’m so happy to get back to the Big 12 — or the Big 15 or whatever it ends up being,” she said, laughing. “It seems like that’s where we belong. We don’t belong with the West Coast people.”

Of course, the Big 12 isn’t the same league it was when the Buffs left for the Pac-12 in 2012. Nebraska and Missouri are gone, and Oklahoma and Texas will be, too. BYU could become a rival, but the Buffs have little in common with Cincinnati, Houston and Central Florida.

“I wish some of those old schools were there, but we’ll make the best of it,” Coppom said.

The conference change, plus the hiring of Deion Sanders, has her eagerly anticipating watching the Buffs from her seats near the 40-yard line on the west side of Folsom Field — “God willing, I always have to add,” she said.

Coppom, carrying a gold pom-pom, was escorted onto the field by Sanders during the spring game in April. Coppom said Sanders and the return to the Big 12 has created the most buzz about the team since it won a share of the national championship in 1990.

Former CU fullback Jim Kelleher, who was second in the Big Eight with 15 rushing touchdowns in 1976, said he’s in wait-and-see mode about the move.

“I originally wasn’t that excited about it, but at the same time, the Pac-12 had let things get to such a point where you had to do something,” he said. “The Big 12 signed a good media rights agreement. It’s just sad the Pac-12 hasn’t been able to get a TV contract.”

Kelleher said that while Colorado will get exposure across three time zones, which is a positive, he’s sad to see how traditions and geographic rivalries have been sacrificed with realignment in general.

Specific to Colorado, he said, the Buffs seemed to be a good fit in the Pac-12. He said his sentimental attachment to the Big 12 won’t be there without Nebraska and other teams he played against in the old Big Eight.

“Whether it’s the school or the individual athletes — with TV and NIL — it’s all money, money, money,” he said. “I understand their decision. Hey, I’m part of the Colorado team, so I’m for my team and hope it works out.”

Tom Osborne, the College Football Hall of Fame coach at Nebraska and its former athletic director, shepherded the Cornhuskers’ move from the Big 12 to Big Ten in 2011. He said he’s able to view past, present and future realignment from the perspective of both a fan and administrator.

“You’re talking about lost traditions,” Osborne said. “I can share the feelings of the fans in that I miss those drives to Manhattan, Kansas; Lawrence, Kansas; Ames, Iowa, and some of those relationships.”

Nebraska’s move to the Big Ten had as much or more to do with finding stability as it did with finances, Osborne said. In the summer of 2011, Osborne said, Big 12 South teams were negotiating with the Pac-12, Missouri wanted to go to the SEC and Texas A&M also was looking to leave.

“Finances are driving this thing more than anything, and my guess is that the uncertainty about where the Pac-12 stands right now appears to make the Big 12 better for Colorado — even though the Big 12 has not been a paragon of stability.”

___

AP college football: https://apnews.com/hub/college-football and https://link.apnews.com/join/6nr/morning-wire-newsletter-footer-internal-ads

United States News

Associated Press

3 Columbia University administrators put on leave over alleged text exchange at antisemitism panel

NEW YORK (AP) — Columbia University said it has placed three administrators on leave while it investigates allegations that they exchanged unprofessional text messages while attending a panel discussion about antisemitism on campus. The university said the administrators work for its undergraduate Columbia College, which hosted the panel discussion “Jewish Life on Campus: Past, Present […]

2 hours ago

Associated Press

Man charged in shooting that critically wounded Philadelphia officer, police say

PHILADELPHIA (AP) — A 36-year-old Philadelphia man was charged Sunday with attempted murder in connection with a shooting that critically wounded a police officer after a traffic stop, police said. Ramon Rodriguez Vazquez also faces charges that include aggravated assault and home invasion, police said. The 31-year-old officer and his partner stopped a car carrying […]

4 hours ago

Associated Press

California boy, 4, who disappeared from campground found safe after 22 hours alone in wilderness

FRESNO, Calif. (AP) — A 4-year-old California boy who wandered away from a campground in the Sierra National Forest was found safe after spending 22 hours alone in the wilderness, authorities said. A search-and-rescue team of about 50 officers and volunteers set out around 11 a.m. Thursday after the child was reported missing from the […]

6 hours ago

Associated Press

One man died and five others were hospitalized in downtown St. Louis shooting

ST. LOUIS (AP) — One man is dead and five others have been wounded in a downtown St. Louis shooting, police said. Police believe women were fighting in a park when men interfered and drew firearms, according to social media posts from the agency. The man who died was in his mid-twenties, police said. Five […]

6 hours ago

Associated Press

Michigan sheriff’s deputy fatally shot pursuing a stolen vehicle in Detroit

DETROIT (AP) — A Michigan county sheriff’s deputy was fatally shot while pursing a suspected stolen vehicle in Detroit, the Oakland County sheriff’s office said Sunday. Bradley J. Reckling, who was on duty in an unmarked car, was following a 2022 Chevy Equinox Saturday evening after the vehicle was reported stolen earlier in the day […]

6 hours ago

Associated Press

Authorities search in rural Colorado for suspect in shooting that left 1 dead, 2 injured

ALAMOSA, Colorado (AP) — Officers went door to door in a rural area of southern Colorado on Sunday as aircraft searched overhead for a man suspected of shooting three people, killing one, and then fleeing on foot into farmland after a failed carjacking. Suspect Henry Corral, 44, should be considered armed and dangerous, said police […]

7 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

...

Midwestern University

Midwestern University Clinic visits boost student training & community health

Going to a Midwestern University Clinic can help make you feel good in more ways than one.

...

Collins Comfort Masters

Here’s how to be worry-free when your A/C goes out in the middle of summer

PHOENIX -- As Arizona approaches another hot summer, Phoenix residents are likely to spend more time indoors.

...

DISC Desert Institute for Spine Care

Sciatica pain is treatable but surgery may be required

Sciatica pain is one of the most common ailments a person can face, and if not taken seriously, it could become one of the most harmful.

Big 12 not quite the same, but it feels like home to a 98-year-old Colorado fan