Brian Howell
Brian Howell

As bad as the last three weeks have been for the Colorado football team, all hope is not lost.

Sure, the three consecutive blowout losses have been ugly, and they do bring back memories of that dreadful 2012 season. But, CU (2-3, 0-3 Pac-12) does have something going for it that it didn't have a year ago: a chance to regroup.

On Saturday, CU will host Charleston Southern (7-0), which is undefeated, but plays in the Football Championship Subdivision. The Buccaneers have been winning, but haven't exactly been lighting teams up.

This isn't Oregon coming to town. It's not Utah, either, for that matter. In fact, this might be CU's weakest opponent of the season. This isn't just a game that Colorado should win; it's a game the Buffs have to win.

Even as they've been blown out by Oregon State, Oregon and Arizona State the past three weeks, Colorado players and coaches have talked a lot about the improvements they have made. Many of those improvements, they say, are tough to see on the field. That's understandable against Oregon or Arizona State, two of the top teams in the country.

That improvement had better manifest itself against a team that squeaks past Division II opponents, though.

Saturday's game -- a makeup date from the canceled Sept. 14 game against Fresno State -- gives the Buffaloes an opportunity to put their improvement on display, get a much-needed victory and regain some of the confidence lost during the past month.

A year ago, CU never got that shot. Once the Pac-12 beatings started, they didn't stop. The Buffs went through eight of them in a row and never really had a chance to stop the bleeding.

CU didn't think it would have the opportunity this year, either, since this game has been on the schedule for only a couple of weeks.

Of course, the best case scenario would have been for the Fresno State game to be played last month. It was canceled because of the massive flooding in the Boulder area. No question, everybody in town wishes the Buffs had six games under their belt and a bye this week.

But, given the circumstances, it turns out that canceling the Fresno State game is a blessing for the Buffs. Now, rather than having the weekend off and dwelling on the last three weeks, the Buffs can go out and play -- and beat -- somebody and regain their confidence.

"I think it's kind of good," senior tackle Jack Harris said of playing this week, rather than having a bye. "I think the three-week break (before Pac-12 play) took away our momentum a little. We got a good start with our non-conference schedule and we kind of felt like we were back in camp and lost some of that momentum.

"I think it's good that we just kind of keep going and keep pushing and hopefully we can get some momentum going here."

The only way to get some momentum, though, is to beat Charleston Southern and do it impressively.

More difficult games are on the way -- the Buffs visit No. 9 UCLA on Nov. 2 and No. 20 Washington on Nov. 9 -- which makes Saturday's game a must-win if the Buffs are going to have any kind of chance to finish the season strong.

An unexpected opportunity has presented itself to the Buffs. Look for them to take advantage of it.

Contact staff writer Brian Howell at howellb@dailycamera.com or twitter.com/BrianHowell33.