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Three burning questions ahead of UCLA - Colorado

The Buffs welcome the Bruins into Boulder for Friday Night Lights.

Colorado v UCLA Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images

It’s a short week for the Colorado Buffaloes (3-0), who host the UCLA Bruins (0-3) to open Pac-12 Conference play on Friday night (7 p.m. MT/ TV: FS1). Both teams were idle in week four. The Buffaloes are looking to stay undefeated and UCLA is looking for the first win in the Chip Kelly era in Westwood. Here’s a few of the burning questions ahead CU’s first Pac-12 game of 2018.

1. Can UCLA be a post bye week trap game?

Colorado has to wonder if not playing at game speed for nearly two weeks might cause a possible letdown on Friday. The Bruins are off to their worst start since 1971 and come into Boulder hungry for a ‘W’ so that coach Chip Kelly can stop the losing skid.

Kelly, only three games into his first year, is preaching patience and asking fans of the Bruins program to buy into what he’s building. It’s certainly a process that takes more than three games, but nobody envisioned a start like this. It goes without saying that Mike MacIntyre has more to play for in this game than Kelly. A win to start conference play for the Buffs would be a momentum boost going into the tougher weeks that will follow. MacIntyre is not over overlooking the Bruins potential. Don’t expect anything less than a jacked up CU squad wanting to show they’re contenders, and not pretenders.

2. Have things started to crumble in Westwood or is Chip Kelly preparing for a comeback?

Kelly, 54, was a hot commodity this offseason despite not coaching since 2016. UCLA was the highest bidder for the services of the former Oregon/NFL coach, beating out Florida with a five-year contract worth $23.3 million. The huge contract led into expectations of a turnaround from the low point Jim Mora took the Bruins to over the past couple seasons.

The father of Bruins quarterback Dorian Thompson-Robinson criticized Kelly’s “responsibility” to his job on Twitter in a series of tweets two weeks ago.

The next couple week are a big test for Kelly with Colorado opening as 11.5 point favorites and games against ranked teams Washington and Cal in subsequent weeks. If Kelly and the Bruins drop the next three contests, an 0-6 record will represent UCLA’s worst start in the past 75 years.

3. Non-conference yielded a nice result. What does Pac-12 play bring?

This is the part of the season where coaches make their money, and for MacIntyre, it’s the perfect opportunity to shake off the criticism still remaining from 2016. We’ve got a good idea of this Buffs’ team can do through the first three weeks against lesser teams, but what adjustment will be made against conference foes? UCLA might not be up to speed yet, but they’re still a ‘Power 5’ team and the second of ten on CU’s schedule. It only becomes more difficult from here on out. Not to sound pessimistic, but let’s see where MacIntyre has the Buffs a month from now going into Seattle to play Washington.