When the University of Colorado decided to leave the Big 12 Conference to join the Pac-12 back in 2010, one of the great selling points was being able to play more often in front of its largest recruiting and alumni base in California.

Midway through a third year in its new conference, the CU football program hasn't come close to being competitive in a game played in the Golden State.

It lost 52-7 at Cal back in 2010 just a few months after going public with its change of course. More than 9,000 excited CU fans filled two sections of Memorial Stadium that day in Berkeley only to leave in disappointment, but still hopeful for better results to come.

CU lost 48-7 and 45-6 on the road at Stanford and UCLA in 2011. The Buffs lost 69-14 at Fresno State last year and 50-6 at Southern Cal.

Saturday they're back at the Rose Bowl facing UCLA (5:35 p.m., Pac-12 Network) and hopeful of finally turning the tide and beginning to gain some momentum for what once seemed like such a promising future in the Conference of Champions.

The Buffs are 0-5 since their last victory in the state 10 years ago here. Those Buffs coached by Gary Barnett won 31-17.

Conquering the California losing streak against the No. 17 Bruins would mean also overcoming several other streaks weighing on the program. CU hasn't beaten a ranked opponent on the road in 20 tries, also dating back to that victory here against the Bruins. They have also lost 12 consecutive Pac-12 games, with their last victory coming on the road early last season at Washington State.


While a win is unlikely against a 5-2 UCLA team coming off two frustrating losses to Stanford and Oregon, the Buffs (3-4, 0-4) are going to eventually put an end to these streaks and when they do, it could help CU coaches in numerous ways.

"I think it would be a big deal," said running backs and tight ends coach Klayton Adams who is one of numerous CU coaches who recruits in the state. "For us, even outside of recruiting it's a big deal if we can go in there and put our best foot forward. Recruiting wise, any time you can be in an area where you've got a large contribution of your recruiting base from, I think it's big if you can go and whatever the score is put your best foot forward."

Colorado will be without leading rusher Michael Adkins II who suffered a concussion in a loss to Arizona last week. Christian Powell, Tony Jones and Donta Abron hope to pick up the slack.

Establishing the run against a tough UCLA defense, featuring one of the best defenders in the nation in linebacker Anthony Barr will be critical to taking some of the pressure of true freshman quarterback Sefo Liufau. He will be making his third start and playing in his fourth career game as he tries to lead the program out of this abyss in which it has fallen.

"Each week we're working very hard," Liufau said this week. "It's just not happening right now. We just have to put our head back down and keep working."

Liufau should have leading receiver Paul Richardson to throw to Saturday. Richardson was able to overcome a sprained ankle this week and practice in preparation for the Bruins and homecoming game to the area in which he grew up.

Richardson is one of 48 players from California on the CU roster. Not all of them made the trip because of limits on the size of regular season travel squads, but those that did would like nothing better than to celebrate the program's first victory in their home state in 10 years and turn momentum in the opposite direction.

"You want them to taste that carrot," coach Mike MacIntyre said. "You want them to drink that sweet wine so to speak and understand what that feels like. I honestly hurt for them and for my coaches. I mean, I really honestly do.

"You see their blood, their sweat, their tears, and their heartache. You want them to taste that. You want to see that big smile and that satisfaction in their eyes and when you don't see it, it bothers you."

Contact staff writer Kyle Ringo at ringok@dailycamera.com or twitter.com/kyleringo