The CU Boulder Buffs are having a great season as the football team is ranked in the top 25, is bowl eligible and taking on UCLA at home Thursday night.

Even with all the excitement, head coach Mike MacIntyre is staying focused.

Coach Mac, as his players and students on campus call him, said the past few years haven't been easy on his players.

“They’ve heard themselves called bums on the field, they’ve heard them yelled at. And I’m saying, 'They’re not bums, they’re not losers. They’re awesome people and we’re gonna show you.' And this is kind of what this is about, we’re showing everybody what the human spirit really is," he said.

In his first three years leading the team, the Buffs were 4-8, 2-10 and 4-9. The 2016 team is currently 6-2.

“I tell them all the time too, ‘I loved you when we were losing, and I love you when we’re winning but I love you more with a smile now when we’re winning,'" MacIntyre said.

Coach Mac is seeing a lot more smiles these days, not just from his players but students around campus.

“Super excited. Ready for the bowl game. I’m going to go wherever it is," CU student Daniel Schmidt said.

“We’re doing great; we’re killing it. It’s a nice change of pace from what we’re used to," student Will Gutterman said.

For CU seniors, their first year at Boulder didn't go so well for the Buffaloes.

“Oh man, I can talk about it for days because we were terrible our freshman year," student Muugi Munkhbold said.

But just three seasons later, everything changed.

“I’ve never seen the stadium so packed and the last few games have sold out and it’s been standing room only. I think it’s a hard place to come in and win at,” student Sean McClure said.

“We’ve got Coach Mac and I feel like he’s actually turned it around, flipped it and he’s like a really cool guy too,” Munkhbold said.

The humble coach gives all the credit to the guys on the field.

“They’ve learned true life lessons that hard work really does pay off. And that’s something that’s very, very important that’ll carry them long past football. They’ll forget all the plays I taught them, they’ll forget the calls we’ve made, but they’ll remember the work ethic, the commitment, the sacrifice that you have to make to be successful. And that will carry them on in life and a lot of them will be very, very successful because of it," said MacIntyre.

He's more a father figure that coach and said that's how he wants it.

“If they can learn those life lessons here, then my coaching will live long past the 2016 season," he said.

Just like a dad pushing his sons to accomplish more, the next goal is to bring home the PAC 12 Championship title.

“We’ve got a lot left ahead this season and I think it should be a very magical ending," said MacIntyre.

The Buffs take on the 3-5 UCLA Bruins at Folsom Field on Thursday at 7 p.m. The college football bowl games announcement happens the first week of December.