Broncos fans, relax for a minute. This column is not for you. I’m conceding – at zero risk of being wrong – that your beloved Broncos are No. 1 in this town. Always have been. Probably always will be. That’s a given. But, if you have ties to any of the other local team(s), read on. If not, and you’d like to read even more about the most-hyper-covered team in Colorado, click here.

Some background for what you’re about to read: Yesterday, while sifting through my Twitter timeline, I came across a pair of tweets from my friend and Mile High Sports Radio host, Renaud Notaro. In short, he was first impressed with all the chatter surrounding the Colorado Buffaloes football team, a much-improved unit that had just put the smack down on Arizona State. Second, the noise prompted him to offer up a “power rankings” within local sports. He believes the Buffs have moved into the No. 2 spot, right behind the Broncos.

Now, you can agree or disagree with that (those are really your only two choices, right?), but the fact of the matter is that “Who’s No. 2?” is up for debate. It’s anything but clear cut.

Another way to look at it? No. 2 is up for grabs. It’s anybody’s ballgame, and plenty of Colorado’s teams are staking claim. That’s a good thing, because after an extended period of, well, sucking – which is what most every major team in these parts did over the past 18 months (or longer) – the Broncos sat alone and at the top, and No. 2 might as well have been No. 42.

Lately, “Who’s No. 2?” wasn’t really the question; instead, it had been replaced by “Who cares?”

Sports are filled with ebbs and flows, and it feels like some of our local teams are bouncing back. Furthermore, they have a shot at narrowing the gap between the Broncos and what’s been the “also rans” of late. As such, I say let the battle for No. 2 commence. Here’s a look – in no particular order – at who could realistically emerge as our No. 2 (and why):

CU Football

As Notaro suggests, when the Buffs are winning, there’s an undeniable buzz. A national title run that occurred some 26 years ago carries a lot of weight, and the hoards of fans who jumped on that bandwagon haven’t gone anywhere – they just haven’t had much to cheer about lately. Now that the Buffs are once again flirting with the Top 25, and have facilities that are on par with Oregon and the SEC (that’s no joke), being back in the national headlines seems pretty realistic. If they can figure out a way to beat Stanford this coming weekend, they’ll have a strong leg up in the race for No. 2

Colorado Rockies

Okay, I can see you’re chuckling. Please, read on. Yes, the Rockies haven’t made the playoffs since 2009. Yes, they haven’t produced a winning record since 2010. Yes, they’ve only had seven winning seasons in their 24-year existence. And you’re mad about it, aren’t you? Well, that’s my point. If you weren’t mad, if the Rockies didn’t factor into the daily conversation, the baseball in Colorado would have fallen completely off the radar by now. But it hasn’t. You’re still angry about the bullpen. You’re still mad about Walt Weiss’ “Sunday Lineups.” You’re mad that D.J. LeMahieu sat out en route to winning a batting title. Yet, you still go – in droves – and you still love to talk about the Rockies. More importantly, however, is that the Rockies are headed in the right direction. Jeff Bridich’s decision to part ways with Weiss sends the right message, and in truth, the Rockies are one closer away from being a playoff team (28 blown saves!). Seems like a pretty short offseason shopping list for becoming No. 2.

Colorado Avalanche

The Avs have some serious work to do. The start of their season arrived quietly, despite winning all six of their preseason games. Losing, paired with a relatively unknown coaching hire, has all but excluded this once great franchise from the conversation. But wait. They did win all six preseason games. They did win big (and score big) on Opening Night against Dallas. And that no-name coach? Well, he might be just what the doctor ordered. The local expectation of the Avs probably isn’t fair – it’s Cup or bust. But that comes with the territory of winning it all right off the bat, and, essentially, fielding the New York Yankees of the NHL for the organization’s first decade in Colorado. So, when the Avs aren’t good, their fans – who weren’t born of lean years and heartache – go skiing…or something. But when the team is good, that fever boils as hot as it does for any team here. Wanna be No. 2, Avs? Win. Win. And win some more. That’s just how it works with hockey in Denver.

Denver Nuggets

This pains me, as it wasn’t that long ago that the Nuggets and their star-studded roster that went to the postseason 10 consecutive seasons, were for most that time, regarded as our No. 2. George Karl, Carmelo Anthony, Chauncey Billups and friends made Pepsi Center the place to be on a Friday night. It was electric. But, after saying goodbye to big names, and after missing the postseason three years in a row, Pepsi Center has gone somewhat flat. But here’s the good news: The Nuggets are on the rise. Every NBA coach and every hoops publication thinks so. General manager Tim Connelly has his team loaded with young and exciting talent. But the trick, at the moment, is that the Nuggets are almost “too deep.” They’ve got 10 players who could all potentially “deserve” playing time, and that’s never been a formula that worked in the NBA. Denver needs a star to emerge, five starters to emerge, a true sixth man to emerge, and beyond that they need a bench that’s full of role players, not “equals.” When that happens – and it very well could this season – they’ll be a playoff team that actually makes noise in the playoffs. Thus, they’ll be a solid candidate to be No. 2.

Colorado Rapids

Again, you chuckle. Why? (And please, don’t give me the “nobody follows soccer” reason – that’s so 2002). The Rapids are one of the greatest “turnaround” stories in all of sports. Just seven months ago, I penned a story that examined exactly how and why head coach Pablo Mastroeni still had a job with the Rapids. I mean, as bad as the Rapids had been, it was a legitimate question. But since then, the Rapids have been nothing but phenomenal. They set a franchise record for points in a season and, at the moment, would enter the MLS playoffs as the No. 2 seed in the Western Conference. Plus, they Rapids have serious star power. During the offseason they went out and obtained household names like Tim Howard and Jermaine Jones. Those are names that even non-soccer fans know. If the Rapids can somehow bring home their second MLS Cup, they’re a very, very viable contender for No. 2.

Colorado State Football

If I hadn’t heard it with my own ears, I might not have believed that the Rams could truly have a shot at No. 2. It might be a stretch, especially since they’re officially “out” (that’s an entirely different issue), but this summer, when talk of CSU joining the Big 12 was at its peak, CSU football grabbed more than its fair share of the conversation. Caller after caller, tweeter after tweeter, weighed in on the Rams’ shot at moving into a power conference. I’ve been told many, many times, that CSU has more alumni along the Front Range than any other school (including and especially CU), and with regard to joining the Big 12, they actually spoke up. So, now the challenge shifts. The Rams must pack that new stadium week in and week out, and they need to win. If they do those things consistently, at some point they’ll have their own claim on No. 2.

Colorado Men’s Basketball

There’s a big caveat here, as college basketball has been an afterthought in these parts for so long, it’s tough for anyone to make noise for an extended period of time. But, if Tad Boyle can get his perennially solid team to advance deep into the tournament, they’ll absolutely turn heads. It can’t just be a one-and-done run either; the Buffs need to win at least two March Madness games for at least a couple of years, and (or) then make a run to the Final Four. Yep, to be considered worthy of No. 2, that would just about do it.

The Rest

I don’t mean to leave anyone out, but reality suggests that unless someone else forms a dynasty in their respective sport, they’ll generally be considered a “nice bonus.” And there’s nothing wrong with that. In fact, it’s highly, highly appreciated. It’s just that the Outlaws (or DU hockey or lacrosse) winning a championship, for example, won’t likely bump one of the aforementioned teams from the race…

…the race for No. 2, that is. Hey, in Denver, Colo. that’s a fine place to be.