Aesthetically, the Buffs are finally ready for prime time.
Tyler Hansen and Paul Richardson are a lot of fun to watch and a nightmare for Pac-12 defensive backs to stop. Rodney Stewart is one of the most versatile running backs in the country.
And thanks to a gutsy performance from a patchwork offensive line, Colorado's offense exploded for 582 total yards on Saturday at Folsom Field.
Unfortunately, Jon Embree's team wasn't ready for winning time.
Mistakes and poor execution by the offense in the final minute of regulation and on the first possession of overtime forced the head coach to send good Will Oliver out for field goals.
Touchdowns are for closers.
Cal answered CU's 3-pointer in OT with a game-winning touchdown pass from Zach Maynard to Keenan Allen to escape Boulder with a 36-33 victory.
"Disappointed," Embree said. "Thought we'd win. We continually find a way not to finish."
This team can't start, either.
CU trailed Hawaii 17-0 at halftime and lost the opener 34-17. CU trailed Cal 16-6 at the intermission before Embree challenged his players to take a stand.
"He just talked about, when is enough enough? When is somebody going to step up and say, 'Hey, this is enough. I'm tired of this. We're going to win,' " Hansen said of Embree's halftime homily. "That's what he said. The message is simple. He was fired up."
From the sound of it, the Buffs had better be ready to deliver the new head coach his first victory at the Rocky Mountain Showdown.
"We're not going to let them feel sorry for themselves. CSU does not feel sorry for us that we're 0-2, and they're 2-0 probably," Embree said. "So guess what? The showdown at Mile High, we've got a team undefeated and we've got one coming in without a win. So let's go. Let's go."
CU does not look like a team capable of winning seven of its final 11 games. Not with six of them on the road and Oregon and USC scheduled to visit Boulder.
But at least there is a glimmer of hope and a lot of excitement breaking the huddle now. Hansen set a CU record with 474 yards passing, and Richardson set a school record with 284 yards receiving against Cal.
Stewart still hasn't been able to get loose in the running game (78 yards on 24 carries against the Bears), but Speedy has 184 yards receiving in two games.
"Coach Embree does a great job of motivating us to play. I love the guy," Hansen said. "I'll go out there and do whatever I've got to do for the guy."
Can you play cornerback or safety?
CU's defense held the Bears to 100 yards rushing and had five sacks. It also allowed Cal to convert 7-of-13 third downs in the game and gave up a 32-yard pass play on a first and 30 in the overtime.
Maynard only completed 18 passes but threw for 243 yards and four touchdowns. A week earlier, Hawaii quarterback Bryant Moniz gashed the Buffs for 151 yards and three touchdowns ... running!
Embree arrived at his postgame press conference cloaked in disappointment. How can he keep this team's morale up?
"When they see me Monday, I'm going to be optimistic. I'm going to point out the good, the bad, the ugly," Embree said. "And I'm going to start preparing and motivating them to go try and win a football game. I'm not going to let them drag around."
The Buffs said they were ready for a fresh start this season. So far, it's the same old results on the scoreboard.
"I expected to be 2-0. And that team and that staff expected to be 2-0, and we're not," Embree said. "I don't want to sound sour, I don't want to diminish what the kids have done, but we came here to win. We prepared and trained to win. Not to come close."
Enough is enough. It's winning time.