Mike MacIntyre has never been shy about expressing his competitiveness.
Perhaps more than anyone else in the Colorado football program, he wants to see the Buffaloes become a winner again. So, it came as no surprise during Saturday's annual media day press conference that when asked if he'd be satisfied with a six-win season and a bowl game, MacIntyre responded with this:
"We play 12 games, right? I want to win all 12."
Of course, few people expect the Buffs to finish the regular season at 12-0, but give MacIntyre credit. After one season at the helm, he's got the Buffs a lot closer to 12-0 than 0-12, and, most importantly, he's got them believing they can win every week.
When he was hired to lead the Buffs, MacIntyre took over a dismal program and said the same thing he did Saturday. He wanted to win every game on the 2013 schedule, too.
While MacIntyre is competitive, he's also realistic, and knew that his first job at CU was not to go undefeated. It was to wash away the negativity that had built up over the course of seven — now eight — consecutive losing seasons. The Buffs were 1-11 just two years ago and needed a miraculous fourth-quarter comeback to get that win.
Like a sponge, the CU program had soaked up outside negativity and MacIntyre spent his first year wringing that out.
"Last year, our slogan was 'Care,'" MacIntyre said. "Care about everything; care about each other, care about yourself, care about the program — coming from within and going out, because there was so much negativity surrounding it outside that I wanted our young men to care about each other and care about themselves and all the things that they could take care of."
In the process of trying to change the mindset of the players, MacIntyre led the Buffs to a 4-8 record in 2013. It wasn't a dramatic turnaround, but it was a positive step forward.
MacIntyre wasn't as focused on the wins last year as he was with how his players carried themselves on and off the field. He saw them work harder in the weight room, in the film room, on the practice field and in class. He saw his staff work hard, too.
"When you do all of that ... you start producing more wins," MacIntyre said. "We all know we have to produce more wins. Definitely that will come. But, I believe if you put the wins first and put all of that on them and it's just about wins, I really don't think it ends up happening like you want it to. Especially, when you're rebuilding a program. It starts from the ground roots up. I think we've set a good foundation and we're trying to build on that foundation. Where that takes us this year, I hope it takes us to a lot more wins."
MacIntyre is no stranger to joining programs in the dumps and helping them to brighter days. He believes brighter days are ahead for the Buffs because negativity is not surrounding his team right now. We'll see if it's that's still the case in November, but for now, MacIntyre seems to have changed the attitude around the program.
"From within here, there's not as much doubt, there's a lot more understanding of the work ethic that it takes," he said. "They know the work ethic, the process it takes. They're starting to understand that. I see that changing. I see a little more intensity on a daily basis, which shows me they're more focused on it, about being successful."
Getting to six wins and earning a spot in a bowl game are legitimate goals for this year's Buffs. As far as MacIntyre is concerned, however, that's setting the bar too low.
Yeah, it's that time of year when nearly every program in America thinks it can go 12-0, but just a year ago, CU didn't have that belief.
This year, the Buffs are more impressive physically and more stable mentally. They may not win every game on the schedule, as MacIntyre hopes, but it ought to be fun to see them compete every week.