In building a solid foundation, MacIntyre has washed away the hopelessness that stained this program last year. Fans aren't lining up to get back into the stadium yet, but the Buffs have more energy, desire and fight in them than they have had in the past several years.
CU plays No. 17 UCLA in the Rose Bowl (5:30 p.m. MDT, Fox Sports 1), with the Bruins happy to be home but probably more than a little chafed following consecutive losses to ranked opponents over the past two weekends. UCLA (5-2, 2-2) lost at No. 12 Stanford 24-10 on Oct. 19, then was smacked 42-14 at No. 2 Oregon last weekend.
When the University of Colorado decided to leave the Big 12 Conference to join the Pac-12 back in 2010, one of the great selling points was being able to play more often in front of its largest recruiting and alumni base in California. Midway through a third year in its new conference, the CU football program hasn't come close to being competitive in a game played in the Golden State.
It won't reveal DirecTV's bid, but the Pac-12 turned it down. Why not just take it and make up for the loss with exposure in nearly every home in the West? Tell that to the other cable networks who paid more.
"I feel confident about those guys," CU running backs and tight ends coach Klayton Adams said. "There are a couple of guys who are getting an opportunity who have haven't had opportunities the last couple weeks. ... I have total faith in those guys. They've worked really hard, they've stayed really focused in the weeks they didn't play as much."
"It’s really important for me not to be negative or try to isolate myself . . . I have to be positive for the team and for Sefo especially," Wood said.
"As a young guy, it’s important for him to have my support – and I think he feels that. That’s how we’re going to get better as a team – if we’re supportive of each other, even if we’re competing for each other’s positions we have to know we’re all on one team. We all have one vision that we’re going for."
Explosive potential: The Buffs rebuilding process has yet to produce a conference win. But that doesn't mean Colorado can't be explosive. Wide receiver Paul Richardson has 50 catches and 914 yards with seven touchdowns, and he's sneaking up on some Colorado single-season marks. He has six plays of 50 yards or longer this season. Freshman quarterback Sefo Liufau is 1-1 as a starter and is completing 59 percent of his throws with two touchdowns and an interception.
Fast forward to next season and let's say a certain Colorado receiver turns pro, leaving the Buffs with a roster full of young, inexperienced wide outs mixed with a few seasoned veterans. Do the Buffs need to land a receiver for their 2014 recruiting class? If your answer was an emphatic "yes" I present to you my top three target targets.
An NCAA Tournament qualifier the past two years, CU believes this could be its best team in years. Several voters did put the Buffs in their top 25 ballots, as CU finished with the 29th-most points in the poll. Considering what they've done in recent years, and the strength of the team this year, Dinwiddie admitted, "When I did see (the poll), I was a little bit disappointed."
BREAKOUT STAR: F Xavier Johnson (Colorado) As the 2012-13 season wore on the Mater Dei product became even more of a factor for the Buffaloes, who made their second consecutive NCAA tournament appearance.
With Andre Roberson off to the next level, Johnson (8.9 ppg, 4.8 rpg) will be needed to step up alongside guards Spencer Dinwiddie and Askia Booker if the Buffs are to contend for the Pac-12 crown.
DECEPTIVELY YOUNG: Yes, Andre Roberson is the only starter that left, but as Boyle said, ''I think there's a little bit of a misnomer in that we have an experienced team coming back. We have got four starters coming back, but outside of that, Eli Stalzer and Xavier Talton came off the bench for us last year.''
Boyle said he lost a lot of savvy with reserves Sabatino Chen, Shane Harris-Tunks and Jeremy Adams all gone. ''Last year we had experience in seniors coming off the bench. This year we have six freshmen,'' he said.
In the backcourt, Spencer Dinwiddie will be running the show. Dinwiddie averaged 15.3 PPG and 3.0 APG. Dinwiddie will be expected to increase his production across the board, while also cutting down on turnovers. Dinwiddie can score the ball with the best of them, but his challenge will be running the offense efficiently while still taking advantage of his scoring abilities. Alongside Dinwiddie will be Junior Askia Booker. Booker displayed solid improvement overall other than struggling with his shot from deep. If he can improve his shooting from range, it will open up his game even further which could lead to Dinwiddie and Booker being a great one-two punch.