BOULDER — Even The Rock can smell what Deion Sanders is cooking at CU.
Hollywood star Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson is joining a growing list of mega-celebrities who will be at or around the Rocky Mountain Showdown this weekend at Folsom Field.
ESPN analyst and podcaster Pat McAfee announced Thursday that Johnson, the football player/wrestler/actor, will join his show for its live broadcast at CU on Friday morning. McAfee said he expects guest appearances from Coach Prime, CU safety Shilo Sanders, Stephen A. Smith and former Broncos great Shannon Sharpe as well. ESPN’s “First Take” is also airing from Boulder on Friday, while on Saturday, Fox Sports’ “Big Noon Kickoff” crew, which is returning to Folsom Field for a second straight week, will boast ex-NFL star and Tom Brady pal Rob Gronkowski as a celebrity guest.
It’s enough to make CU students, staff and fans giddy. But could all the showbiz stuff take the eyes of Buffs players off the prize this week?
“They’re very focused,” new Fox Sports analyst and former Alabama Heisman Trophy winner Mark Ingram told The Post recently when asked about the No. 18 Buffs’ 2-0 start. “(Such as) on some plays that they left on the field (in the previous game). And I think that they’re just going to be motivated and I think they got the right coaching staff to keep them motivated and inspired.
“I think they have the right mindset and have a great coaching staff and (head coach in) Coach Prime. I think they’re just focused on getting better. Nobody else believed in them. Everybody else counted them out, but they always believed in each other. … Just spending the week here with the team (before the Nebraska game and) spending some time with Prime, they’re very focused on not being complacent.”
Sanders and his squad have played the disrespect card like expert poker players over the first two weekends of the season, holding off TCU in a see-saw shootout and then drubbing an offensively challenged Nebraska by 22 points at home. But for the first time this month, the Buffs are favorites. And heavy favorites, too, with most point spreads installing the Buffs as 23-to-23.5-points better than CSU.
“You can’t play (the respect card) all (season),” Ingram noted. “I mean, just even after a whirlwind (time), where (there are) changing narratives about (them), but you just can’t focus on the outside stuff. You’ve got to focus on what’s in that building, the things that you’ve done to get you to this point. (You’ve) just got to keep working on this one day at a time, one game at a time. And I think they’ve got the right mindset.”
CU = CELEBRITY CENTRAL?
Here is a list of some of the confirmed entertainment and football luminaries slated to be in or around Folsom Field this weekend for the Rocky Mountain Showdown between CU and CSU:
Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson — actor/entertainer
Rob Gronkowski — entertainer/ex-NFL tight end
Pat McAfee — ESPN podcaster/analyst/ex-NFL punter
Kirk Herbstreit — longtime ESPN analyst
Desmond Howard — Heisman Trophy winner/ESPN analyst
Robert Griffin III — Heisman Trophy winner/ESPN analyst
Rece Davis — longtime ESPN host
Lee Corso — longtime ESPN analyst
Shannon Sharpe — former Broncos tight end
Urban Meyer — former CSU assistant/college and NFL coach/Fox Sports analyst
Mark Ingram — Heisman Trophy winner/Fox Sports analyst
Matt Leinart — Heisman Trophy winner/Fox Sports analyst
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