The Rocky Mountain Showdown is on. Colorado State University coach Jay Norvell has issued a salvo that will likely be met with more fire than he and his team can handle.
During his radio program, The Jay Norvell Show, the 60-year-old coach decided to throw any pre-game civility to the wind by saying he and his team were tired of hearing about the Buffs.
“It was great. I loved it,” Norvell said, at first saying that he enjoyed the attention his squad received as the next opponents to face the 2-0 Buffaloes. Then he added, “But our kids came out of those [interviews] really with a chip on their shoulder. They’re tired of all that stuff. They really are tired of it.
“They’re [Colorado] not gonna like us no matter what we say or do. It doesn’t matter. So, let’s go up there and play. That’s just how I feel about it.”
That would have been enough ammunition for Deion Sanders, whose team mantra against Nebraska was “It’s Personal” after Nebraska coach Matt Rhule said that Sanders was taking advantage of the transfer protocol to help his team and that he preferred to recruit from high school.
Deion and his son Shedeur, the Buffs starting quarterback, both took that mantra to heart by beating Nebraska 38 – 14.
But Norvell upped the ante with the pointed comments about Deion’s attire at press conferences.
“I don’t care if they hear this in Boulder. I told them [ESPN] — I took my hat off, and I took my glasses off. I said, ‘When I talk to grown-ups, I take my hat and my glasses off. That’s what my mother taught me,” he said to applause from the crowd at CSU where he was recording his show live.
Perhaps poking the bear is Norvell’s style and he hopes to hype his kids up by saying, essentially that Sanders is too flashy. (Which, we should add, is exactly how he’s been throughout his entire Hall of Fame career.) But most folks, including social media bystanders who started the #Buffsby50 hashtag trending on X, and commenters on Deion’s social media channels think all Norvell did was put a battery in Deion and the Buffaloes’ backs.
So far, this week’s mantra is “All In,” which was part of the motivational speech Sanders posted to his account on Thursday.
And it’s too bad that Norvell took this stance, given that he was much more complimentary earlier in the week at his press conference when he referenced the meeting of two Black college head coaches on the big national stage.
“Deion Sanders has had a lot of public critics. I’m not one of them,” Norvell said. “I really respect all head coaches and the sacrifices they’ve had to make to become head coaches, and I appreciate the path they have to go through to get there — especially African American coaches. I was happy to see Deion get his opportunity. I had to wait a long time to get mine.”
Sanders returned the compliment in his own press conference.
“I like that, I’m glad he said that,” Sanders said. “Unfortunately, one of the brothers gotta lose when you face another Black head coach. And you want to see us win. That’s the thing. But besides that, it’s just tremendous getting this opportunity and allowing the nation to see that we are more than capable of doing a sufficient and a great job. I’m happy he pointed that out.”
The comments may not be as gracious once Sanders responds to Norvell. However, he may elect to respond by beating the brakes off CSU, as he has said multiple times this season that the Buffs have yet to play their best game. If you’ve been following along this season, you know how close Sanders is to his family and he may take Norvell’s comments as a direct shot to his upbringing and his beloved mother, Connie Knight.
It certainly hypes up the Rocky Mountain Battle. Both ESPN GameDay and Fox will be in Colorado this Saturday, and the game airs in “prime” time on ESPN at 6 p.m. EST. Colorado State is 0-1 and was a 20-point underdog coming into the game.
See how social media’s reacting to the college sports beef below.