The question came about 22 minutes into coach Mike MacIntyre's weekly press conference Tuesday. It was asked by a television reporter who doesn't regularly cover Colorado football.
It was a fair question, especially on the heels of the Buffs' latest loss, a 59-7 rout at Washington that MacIntyre called the worst game of the season from his team. It reminded plenty of Buffs fans of a dreadful 2012 season in which the team was routinely uncompetitive.
“When is the team going to get better?”
This wasn't a rant by any stretch of the imagination. MacIntyre didn't even raise his voice, but his body language suggested he didn't like the question much.
MacIntyre pointed out that his team already has three wins compared to one the Buffs earned all of last season and there are still three games remaining. That alone suggests improvement has been made. He said most people didn't expect CU to win three games this season and he believes the team will win again before the regular season ends in three weeks.
He noted that one of those wins came against Colorado State, a team the program lost to in 2012. Further evidence of improvement.
MacIntyre acknowledged the Buffs must make improvements now when it comes to competing in the Pac-12 Conference, where they have lost 14 straight going into Saturday's home game against California (3:30 p.m, Pac-12 Network). But he also indicated that he believes part of CU's struggles in the conference are a product of bad timing when it comes to switching conferences.
“I would say if we would have played in the Pac-12 about three years ago, it would be a whole different story,” MacIntyre said. “I think there is some really good football teams. I think just keep working and the tide will keep turning. I do see improvement daily.”
The follow-up question – “How do you get better next year?” – led to this.
“We didn't break it,” MacIntyre said. “We're here to fix it, and we're fixing it. And we'll keep working to fix it and we'll keep going forward and we'll keep having the right attitude and the right positiveness. It does not get fixed overnight with a magic wand. It does not.
“You know, we've been down here for awhile at Colorado, and we're going to be back, but in no way, shape or form does it happen like that (overnight).”
Quarterback Sefo Liufau also perked some eyebrows when answering a question during his segment of the press conference before MacIntyre took questions. Liufau said he believes the team could raise the bar in terms of how it practices.
“Obviously I believe that we've been working hard, but there is always that extra, I guess, level that you can go to, and I don't think we've actually been there yet this year, which is kind of frustrating,” Liufau said. “It's not a one-person sport, a one-person team. We need all 11 guys that are going to play doing their part, like coach says, in their own three-by-three box.
“I just don't feel like we've done that yet all together on a consistent basis. I think if we can do that this week, we can get a win.”
The Buffs and Bears are both winless in the conference going into this week's game. Cal has won just once all season and has lost 12 straight Pac-12 games.
Contact staff writer Kyle Ringo at firstname.lastname@example.org or twitter.com/kyleringo.