The Colorado State Rams and the University of Colorado Buffaloes will meet for the 88th on Friday at Sports Authority Field for the annual Rocky Mountain Showdown.

The Buffs historically have had a stranglehold on the Rams, with all-time record 63-22-2, but if the last 10 years have been any indication, this year’s showdown will be anyone’s game.

The Showdown is arguably the most important game for both schools each year. A win for either program not only gives them some bragging rights for the year, but it gets their season started off on the right foot, too.

Friday night’s game is about as good as it gets for college football in Colorado. The Buffs are in the middle of working back towards being a competitive program and the Rams are trying to evade the glass ceiling that they are trapped under in the Mountain West.

It’s important for either team to start the season off with a win, especially when that win comes in a rivalry game. Wins for the Buffs in general have been difficult to come by the past few seasons, so kicking off the season with a win over the Rams could give CU the boost they need to rattle off a few more wins as they get deeper into the season.

The same goes for the Rams. Anytime CSU can take down the Buffs, they also head into the rest of their season with a bit of a chip on their shoulder.

Aside from bragging rights, the game is also important when it comes to recruiting local talent. As mentioned earlier, this is arguably the biggest college football game that people get to experience in Colorado. Plenty of recruits are paying attention to what’s going on, as well.

Last but certainly not least, this is the biggest game of the season for the fans. The Showdown usually kicks off the season for both programs, meaning that fans who have been starved of football for the last six months get to sink their teeth into a rivalry game right off the bat.

The future of the Showdown is in the air after CU athletic director Rick George stated in 2015 that it wasn’t in the Buffs’ best interest to extend the series past the 2020 season. It’s important to soak in these games while they last, because this is Colorado’s one true taste of college football.

CU has had some tough luck over the last few seasons and despite the fact that the Rams have played in three consecutive bowl games, this is the game that all of the fans get up for.

It truly is the best game of the season for both programs.