Turner Gill left for Kansas in 2009 and it was 2008 where the Bulls appeared in the program’s first bowl in program history since becoming an FBS Division IA team.
The Bulls location in Buffalo, New York always make you think, “wow, what a location conflict”, since there are six schools in the MAC from Ohio and three from Michigan.
Plus they have only been Division I since 1999 and to make life more miserable the Bulls best season prior to 2008 was in 2001 when they went 3-8! A boatload of one and two win seasons has made Buffalo a laughing stock and an often overlooked squad in the MAC.
5-7 and 2-10 seasons following their very first bowl have made life difficult for second year man Jeff Quinn. Quinn has a nice resume as he came over from Cincinnati where he was the interim HC on top of the OC/OL.
He had the duty of replacing Brian Kelly in the Sugar Bowl where they were ambushed by Tebow, Meyer, and the Gators 51-24!
Quinn was at Grand Valley State and Central Michigan serving as Kelly’s OC. With Kelly now coaching the Golden Domerr, Quinn is on his own. The struggle on offense is a must fix for Quinn and the current day Bulls.
They ranked just 111th in total offense averaging a brutal 297 YPG. Luckily, 8 starters return including QB Jerry Davis who threw for 16 TD’s (16 INT’s) and 1,753 yards.
Be aware of the following bombshell stat I am about to drop on you though. The Buffalo Bulls were dead last in America with only three rushing touchdowns.
Three for the entire season? I ran for three rushing TD’s in one quarter in a game of NCAA on Heisman just the other day. At least the team averaged 113 YPG rushing which ranked a tad better at 101. The OL returns three starters as well as their RB Branden Oliver who ran for 298 yards (0 TD’s).
The receiving core is the best part of this squad offensively as Marcus Rivers hauled in 50 passes for 690 yards and 5 TD’s.
At 6’5, 218 Rivers can soar above the competition and he is actually the fastest player among the core. He was in the doghouse a few times last season for a numerous of reasons, but if he puts on a show for his senior campaign and gives the Bulls a few more wins, certainly he will be given a few doggie treats.
Defensively, there are just three starters back. However, the Bulls were successful as they allowed just 340 YPG, good for 32nd in the nation. Surprisingly, that was only fifth best in the MAC last year. The defensive front four loses both interior linemen, but in their 3-4 defense they have two LB’s returning.
This might just make the LB core best unit on the entire squad with two of their elite defenders back on the team. Khalil Mack is the top returning LB as he totaled 68 tackles, 4.5 sacks, and 10 TFL’s.
The secondary was 18th against the pass and allowed only 181 YPG through the air. They lose their entire back four and the losses of Davonte Shannon and Domonic Cook could be extremely difficult to overcome.
Overall, this Bulls team should double the amount of their wins from a season ago which would be an improvement for Jeff Quinn and the program. It may take quite some time before they reach their second bowl game in program history, though Quinn might just be the man to do it sooner than expected.
Predicted Finish: 4-8, 3-5
Predicted Bowl: None
Predicted order of finish in MAC: 9th overall, 5th in East Division