Nowhere is it written in stone by the forefathers of the game that college football coaches and players must have it all figured out four weeks into the season, even if they have been practicing six or seven days a week for two months.

But it`s probably fair for fans to expect 60 minutes of solid, fundamental football on Saturday afternoons at this point, and that is what the Colorado Buffaloes hope to produce for the first time this season when Georgia comes to town this weekend.

The Buffs are the first to say they haven`t played a full 60 minutes at the level they believe they are capable of through their first three games.

That inconsistency has produced two solid halves of football, two mediocre halves and one complete four-quarter meltdown. Colorado is 2-1 heading into the final nonconference game of the season and the first time it has played host to a member of the Southeastern Conference since 1979.

Wide receiver Scotty McKnight described the Buffs` most recent performance -- a 31-13 win over Hawaii with two words.

One covered the first half. "Depressing," he said of the Buffs falling behind 10-0.

And the second half? "Awesome," he said of a 31-point rally.

McKnight might as well have been describing the season in general. The Buffs aren`t in the Pac-10 just yet, but they seem to be riding some wavesthis fall.

Some of the same old problems that have led to four consecutive losing seasons have tripped up this season`s team, including penalties, missed assignments and players trying to do more than what they have been asked to do. Then there have been moments of brilliance featuring the athleticism and determination fans have hungered to see.

McKnight and quarterback Tyler Hansen correctly pointed out Tuesday that the offense and special teams have generally put the defense in bad situations in the early going this year. If the Buffs can play better in those two phases of the game, they should be in position to win more games because the defense is playing well enough to win.

The CU defense ranks seventh nationally in stopping the run and 40th in total defense. But the offense continues to sputter, aside from one explosive half against Hawaii.

"I think our defense has played great throughout the season," McKnight said. "Those guys, I mean, we put them in tough positions at Cal and the scoreboard doesn`t represent how well they really played in that game. I think defensively we`ve just got to keep rolling there.

"... So offensively it`s really up to us. We`ve got to continue to make plays and make plays like we did in the second half (against Hawaii) and early in that Colorado State game and help even out this team."

The inconsistency has been most pronounced in the running game. CU ran 35 times for 115 yards against Colorado State, 42 times for 75 yards against Cal and 52 times for 252 yards against Hawaii.

Perhaps part of the problem has been three different groups of starters on the offensive line in the first three games along with some in-game substitutions. Offensive line coach Denver Johnson said this will be the first week he uses the same group of starters from one game to the next. That should help against a stout Georgia defense that ranks among the top 40 in the nation despite having already played three games against SEC opponents.

The Buffs have enjoyed a bye week giving them extra time to prepare for the Bulldogs and heal up. They continued to focus on being more consistent during the extra week of preparation.

"That`s our biggest thing we talk about is we`re real inconsistent as an offense," Hansen said. "We have times when we`re really great and we have times where we look horrible."

1990 activities

Here are some of the activities players and coaches from the 1990 national championship team will be participating in this weekend:

Friday -- Noon luncheon at the University Memorial Center

Friday -- 7 p.m. Buffalo Stampede on the Pearl Street Mall. Players and coaches will be wearing special jackets identifying them as members of the 1990 team.

Saturday -- Breakfast with the current CU team.

Saturday -- "Buffalo Walk" with team into Folsom Field, 2:30 p.m.

Saturday -- Available for autographs at Ralphie`s corral in Folsom Field before the game.

Notable

Hawkins said Patrick Mahnke will start at nickel back. Mahnke began his career as a safety but moved to linebacker in the offseason. Fellow linebacker Liloa Nobriga also could see playing time at the position along with defensive back Jonathan Hawkins. The Buffs` starting nickel back has suffered a serious injury in each of the first three games. ... CU is expecting a sellout for the Georgia game but there were still tickets available Tuesday afternoon.