That's right...it's Buffalo Week! I know, I know...you've been waiting all day for this...sorry...was watching golf. And for the record, this isn't what UB's helmet looked like last year, but it's what I found...maybe it's what they're wearing in 2008?
Okay, let's start with a non-link (okay, not much of a link, anyway). I read Phil Steele's UB preview on the elliptical tonight, and here's the quick version. QB is in pretty good hands with Drew Willy, who (barring injury) will leave school after this fall as a 3.5 year starter. A pretty big guy (6'3, 209), he threw for 2500 yards and a 15-6 TD-INT ratio last year. Meanwhile, he gets to hand off to what Steele calls one of the best RB tandems in the MAC--6'2 junior James Starks and 5'9 junior Mario Henry. WR is manned by some experienced guys, including junior speedster Naaman Roosevelt. The O-line returns 8 of their top 10 from last year. In other words, pretty good things are expected from the Bull offense this year.
Defense? The D-Line returns everybody but their top guy, DE Trevor Scott (10 sacks last year), and the secondary is experienced and deep. SS Davonte Shannon (123 tackles, 3 INTs, 2.5 sacks) was 1st-team All-MAC as a true freshman last year. LB is the key concern for the UB defense--they lose two starters, and they're thin enough that Steele is projecting a true freshman--Obi Ezemma--to start at ILB. That's not a good sign. And special teams will be solid at K and the return positions, though they might be relying on a freshman at punter.
In all, Steele says this could very well be the Buffalo Bulls' best team ever, and while that's not quite like saying 'the Buffalo Bills' best team ever', it's something with which Turner Gill can continue to build. Okay, on with the links.
Here are last year's stats In all, their matchup stats were skewed a bit by a couple of bad losses--38-3 at Rutgers and 49-14 at Ball State. And as always, here's their official Spring Prospectus. Hope springs eternal in the land of wings and Thurman Thomas.
Another good place for info is Pete Fiutak's Buffalo preview at CFN.
This might be the best team in UB history, but the entire MAC has improved and there isn't a sure win in the bunch. Home games against Temple, Army and Kent State have to be victories, and it'll take some major upsets to get over the hump and come up with a winning record.
All Buffalo can do is keep improving as a team and hope to start winning all the close games and beat the teams it's supposed to. Head coach Turner Gill is starting to put together a MAC power, even if the final record might not show it this season.
And for what it's worth, UB will be coming off what Fiutak called their biggest game of the season: their 9/13 matchup against Temple.
The Spectrum, UB's student paper, tells us a bit about Bull history.
Willy was the obvious star of the Blue White Game in April. And obviously he probably won't win, but he is getting some national respect--he was named a candidate for the Johnny Unitas "Golden Arm" Award, given to the nation's best senior QB.
Finally...dying for a Buffalo fan site? Check out UBfan.com.