Rick George's eyes light up when he talks about the nearly completed facilities project at the University of Colorado.

CU's athletic director beams when showing off the rooftop terrace, which has a remarkable view of the Flatirons and has already hosted weddings other events.

He sounds like a proud dad when showing off the indoor practice facility, which includes FieldTurf that was set just this past week. That building is expected to be ready for the start of spring football practice in early February.

"I'm really excited about it," George said. "It is fantastic."

George then gave a tour of the new state-of-the-art sports medicine facilities, football locker room and weight room, all of which were in use by a few CU athletes.

Friday marked the two-year anniversary of George announcing CU's aggressive plan for a $156 million upgrade to the athletic facilities. At the time, some thought George was insane. Yet, exactly two years later, his plan is coming together in grand fashion.

While CU is now home to one of the country's top set of facilities, however, George continues to be troubled by the eyesore that is the Buffaloes' football program.

"I'm very disappointed in where we are," George said less than a week after the Buffs (4-9) completed their 10th consecutive losing season. "From a competitive level, I think we stepped our game up. We were in every football game, maybe but one. But our outcome needs to be different."


With Indiana achieving bowl eligibility this season, CU now has the longest bowl drought of any Power 5 conference team. The Buffs last played in a bowl game after the 2007 season. With the exception of a handful of teams that didn't exist in 2007, only three teams in all of FBS (New Mexico State, Massachusetts and Eastern Michigan) have gone longer without a bowl appearance than CU.

"It certainly has to end, no question," George said of CU's streak of eight consecutive seasons without a bowl appearance.

George didn't hire head football coach Mike MacIntyre, but has been on the job throughout MacIntyre's three-year tenure, which includes a 10-27 record. MacIntyre still has three years remaining on his contract, and George maintains committed to giving him a chance to turn around the football program.

"I'm not ready to say it's bowl or bust (in 2016), but I do believe that we need to show much improvement from this year," George said. "We have to eliminate mistakes; we have to manage the game better in some ways. We've got a lot of work to do in the offseason, but I'm confident in Mike and the direction he wants to go with this program. We'll let him make the changes and adjustments he feels are necessary."

CU is in the process of determining exactly what changes need to be made.

The Buffs lost receivers coach Troy Walters this week after he took a job to become the offensive coordinator at Central Florida. George would not comment on whether more staff changes are on the way, but he and MacIntyre have addressed it in their private discussions.

"We always talk about personnel at the end of the year and that was one of the many topics of discussion we've had on this season so far," George said.

Along with everybody else in the CU program, George thought the Buffs would achieve bowl eligibility this season.

Injuries took a toll, but CU's problems ran deeper than that.

"Everybody has injuries," George said. "It's the depth you have behind those injuries, so we need to look at that."

Depth is fixed in recruiting, and George said he's encouraged by what the staff has done there, but they need to keep going.

"I think that our talent level has gotten better every year since I've been here," George said. "We've got to finish this recruiting season off right. We've got to have a good recruiting class and I think we've got the make-up of that right now. How we finish is going to be real important."

Adding more talent is critical, but so is eliminating mistakes. CU had more mental mistakes this season than in MacIntyre's previous years, and George said the process is ongoing to figure out how to correct those mistakes.

"You have to look at it and say, why did that happen?" George said. "Is it technique? Is it coaching? Is it preparation? We have to look at all those factors. That's what Mike and his staff are in the process of doing. We'll come up with a good plan moving forward."

That plan includes trying to generate more revenue for the athletic department. CU exceeded its football ticket sales budget by nine percent, but it certainly helped that the Buffs had low expectations going in.

"We budgeted properly," George said. "So, yeah, we exceeded our budget, which is great, but I want to fill that stadium."

The only way to fill Folsom Field is to put a winning product on the field.

CU has some of the nation's best programs in skiing, cross country and track and field. It has soccer and volleyball programs that have made recent NCAA Tournament appearances, and basketball programs that have enjoyed success.

Now, the Buffs have facilities that rival any school in the country.

The final ingredient is a winning football team.

"Seeing progress is great; it really is," George said. "But, we need to win football games. That's what we're here to do. It's got to get better. We all know that.

"I'm really eager to see the next six months and how our other teams do ... but I'm always anxious to see how we'll do in football.

"We need football to be successful."

Brian Howell: howellb@dailycamera.com, on Twitter: @BrianHowell33.