A month after signing perhaps his best class of recruits since arriving in Boulder, Colorado head football coach Mike MacIntyre stood in his brand-new indoor practice facility and marveled at how much work the Buffaloes could get done in their new digs.
When practice was over, players walked from the field, across eight lanes of track and into their new weight room. Some stopped at the fueling station to get something to drink. Others stopped by the hot and cold recovery pools.
Eventually, they all made the short walk to their spacious and still new locker room.
For a team that hasn't posted a winning season in a decade, there sure is a lot of momentum behind the Buffaloes these days.
Putting aside their 4-9 record last season and their 5-40 record in Pac-12 games since joining the conference in 2011, life is good at Colorado right now.
"We've been moving up," head coach Mike MacIntyre said. "I'd like us to move a lot faster, but we've been steadily going up.
"I think we're at a point where we can make more of an accelerated ascent with everything going on."
Translation: The baby steps CU has taken the past three years have been nice — and necessary — but it's time for this team to start running.
MacIntyre knows that with the $166 million facilities now nearly complete, momentum building on the recruiting trail and three full years in Boulder under his belt, there are no more excuses for the Buffaloes.
That's not to say the rebuilding project of the football team is complete. It's clearly not. But, everything is set up for this program to win again, and soon.
"There's no reason Colorado can't win in the Pac-12," defensive coordinator Jim Leavitt said.
Outside of Boulder, those who follow other Pac-12 programs laugh at CU becoming good again. Many focus on what's happened the past few years and have a hard time seeing CU ever succeeding.
Walk inside the new Champions Center, however, and it's difficult to imagine the Buffs not finding success at some point soon. The Buffs now have facilities that rival any facilities in the Pac-12, or around the country. Millions have been invested in this football program to ensure that it does win again. The new facilities will help the current Buffs, and will help draw better players to Boulder in the future.
It's not just the facilities that are in place, though. The Buffs appear to have the people in place, too.
Some will argue against MacIntyre being the right man for the job, but there's no question the program is much healthier than it was three years ago at this time when he began his first spring with the Buffs. MacIntyre rebuilt San Jose State in three years. It's taking him longer to rebuild CU, but he is rebuilding.
Much of CU's growth can be attributed to a talented staff of people under MacIntyre. The Buffs have good coaches, including Leavitt, who is arguably one of the top defensive assistants in the country.
In uniform, the Buffs are expected to have 23 scholarship seniors this fall, making it the biggest senior class they've had in more than a decade. They'll also have 21 scholarship juniors. Experience and leadership should be off the c harts.
Among the fans, there's sure to be skepticism, and with good reason. Fans have been down this road before, listening to the rhetoric of how much better the Buffs will be on game days, only to watch them stumble to another sad season.
In the past, however, the Buffs could always point fingers. They had out-dated facilities. They had a big mess to clean up from a previous regime. They needed time to develop players. They were young and inexperienced.
Those excuses are all gone, and the Buffs know it.
Brian Howell: firstname.lastname@example.org, on Twitter: @BrianHowell33.