Had the Colorado football team started 3-0 in any of the last seven or eight years, there might have been a party on Pearl Street to celebrate the feat.

This year, there is no party. In fact, despite CU's 3-0 mark, there are plenty of naysayers as the Buffaloes prepare to take on No. 7 Washington (3-0) on Saturday at Folsom Field.

Yeah, they beat Colorado State, 17-3, in the opener. Had it not been for a few questionable calls against the Rams, however, maybe that's a loss.

They routed Texas State, 37-3, in Week 2, but the offense wasn't sharp, and it could have been a lot worse.

The Buffs rolled past Northern Colorado, 41-21, last Saturday, but needed until the fourth quarter to put the Bears away. The Buffs were supposed to win that one with ease.

Going 3-0 is great, but has it been good enough?

"My wife was teasing me about that the other day," head coach Mike MacIntyre said. "A few years ago, we'd just be happy we won."

A few years ago, three wins in a season — let alone in September — would have been an improvement. After winning the Pac-12 South title a year ago and going 10-4, however, the Buffaloes are now dealing with a higher level of expectations.

Fans wanted to see the Buffs be more dominant in their nonconference games. Frankly, the players expected more, too.

"I would say it wasn't good enough," junior cornerback Isaiah Oliver said of the win against UNC. "Not a complete game by any means."


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Amazing how far the CU program has come that three wins — all by 14 or more points — can be picked apart as not good enough.

The performance of the Buffs in those games was good enough to win the three games they've played. But, will it be good enough against the Huskies and other Pac-12 foes?

Probably not, but MacIntyre wants his team to aim for more.

"I think it's great that we have high expectations," MacIntyre said. "That's a great thing for our program. That shows you we're at a different level, as far as expectations."

The higher expectations have come from within, as MacIntyre and the players have been very open about their goal of winning a Pac-12 title. Despite losing more than two dozen players and a trio of coaches from last year's resurgent team, the Buffs haven't changed their goal.

In fact, they might want it even more than last year.

"When you set expectations and you're trying to reach those expectations, you as an individual, you as a program, you as a company, you as a team or whatever, you push yourself to get there," MacIntyre said. "You're not settled. That's definitely a good thing."

By no means are the Buffs are polished team at this point. They've shown many of their flaws in the first three games.

The offense hasn't always been sharp. The offensive line has been a work in progress. The defense has been vulnerable to big plays, especially through the air.

Instead of getting defensive about the criticism, MacIntyre suggested the Buffs should embrace it.

"To me, that's a good thing," he said. "Everybody is talking different about us. It might be a negative thought or a negative vibe - 'Well, they can't do this; they're not ready for this' - but I'm glad we're not celebrating and having parades in the street that we're 3-0.

"We want to do something better than that. Hopefully we can."

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