LAS VEGAS, Nev., -- "I'm not going to lie, I hate them -- everything they're about."

That was Jack Howell's immediate response when he was inevitably asked about Coach Prime and his rivals in Boulder. Colorado State's senior safety prefaced that statement, saying he respects the Buffs. Admittedly, he joked, his political correctness needs some work.

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What about that Border War nemesis in Laramie?

"Wyoming, I really respect that team and that culture and what they've built up there," Howell said Wednesday at Mountain West Media Days in Las Vegas, just minutes after being named a preseason first team all-conference selection. "Craig Bohl was awesome for them."

However ...

"I don't like them, as well," he continued with a wide grin plastered across his face. "Every time we play them it's like a fist fight."

Howell has tallied 28 tackles, a pass breakup and forced a fumble in three career outings against the Cowboys. He has also fallen short on the scoreboard in all of those meetings, though, helplessly watching as the coveted Bronze Boot traveling trophy has taken up residence north of the border.

His father didn't have that issue.

Aside from a setback in 1996, a 25-24 home loss inside a snow-covered Hughes Stadium that vaulted the visitors into the inaugural WAC Championship game, John Howell never again lost to Wyoming, claiming three straight victories in the series.

You think his son isn't itching to get in the win column?

There are other reasons for the animosity toward the Cowpokes. It started at home, of course, but was only escalated during the recruiting process, where Jack Howell said UW was lukewarm in its pursuit of him -- at best.

"I kind of heard that I was too small to play there, too slow to play there," he said, again flashing that grin. "So, every time I play against Wyoming, it's always a pleasure to kind of put it on them."

Would dad really have let him go to Laramie anyway?

"I think he would've been pretty upset," Howell laughed. "He would've given me the OK at the end of the day, but I think it would've broken his heart a little bit."

Howell said he attempts to say "nice things" about CU. Those syllables just don't seem to flow. The hate is real. The war of words that preceded last fall's Rocky Mountain Showdown only escalated after the Buffs pulled out a 43-35 victory in double overtime.

When it comes to Wyoming, as of now, there is a respect factor. A quick anecdote from Howell was telling. It started with a quick pregame conversation about a potential shared sports agent with former linebacker Easton Gibbs.

"I told him to find me after the game," he continued. "When you win the boot, obviously you run right over to it and lift it up. At the end of the game, there's a lot of fights, a lot of tension. I was walking off the field and Easton comes up to me and says, 'Hey, brother, great game. I love following your career.'

"That just speaks so much about who he is -- and how that culture is -- that he would take the time to go over and do that. So, that was super cool."

Howell has one more shot at getting in the win column against Wyoming. That will take place on Friday, Nov. 15 inside Canvas Stadium.

"As much as I dislike Wyoming, he added, "I do respect them so much."

As for CU ...

University of Wyoming’s Top 50 Football Players

During the summer of 2021, counted down the Top 50 football players in University of Wyoming history, presented by Premier Bone & Joint Centers, Worthy of Wyoming.

The rules are simple: What was the player's impact while in Laramie? That means NFL stats, draft status or any other accolade earned outside of UW is irrelevant when it comes to this list.

This isn't a one-man job. This task called for a panel of experts. Joining 7220's Cody Tucker are Robert GagliardiJared NewlandRyan Thorburn, and Kevin McKinney.

We all compiled our own list of 50 and let computer averages do the work. Think BCS -- only we hope this catalog is fairer.

Don't agree with a selection? Feel free to sound off on our Twitter: @7220sports - #Top50UWFB

Gallery Credit:

- University of Wyoming’s Top 50 Football Players

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