ESPN has been televising college football for 36 years now. It all started in 1979 and I’m sure fans today have been grateful for that ever since.
Televised college football had to start somewhere and it did so in Boulder Colorado. The first game ever televised by ESPN was between the Colorado Buffaloes and the Oregon Ducks.
According to CUBuffs.com, the Buffaloes game against the Ducks today will be a rematch of that game in 1979. The Ducks won that game 33-19 and the Colorado sports information director Tim Simmons reflects on what the game was then compared to what it is today.
“There was some excitement, don’t get me wrong,” Simmons said. “But it wasn’t like it is today when ESPN and Gameday comes to town. Compared to that, it’s like they snuck into town, did the show and left.”
At the time, ABC, before it was owned by ESPN, was the big place to watch college football. The Buffaloes had a few games televised on ABC before their game on ESPN and Simmons felt like it was a much bigger deal.
“At that point, CU had enough games in the stadium, I can’t remember having any issues with the broadcast. Irv Brown was an easy hire for them, already being on staff. Jerry Gross was a grizzled veteran, very experienced and easy to work with.”
The Buffaloes and Ducks face off on Saturday and it’s going to be a great return to Folsom Field for both teams. ESPN has certainly come a long way since that first game and it’s great to see what it has become since then.