As the old saying goes, the numbers don't lie. The same can be said for the Buffalo Bulls football program.
When Turner Gill arrived at the university in 2006 after leaving a player development post with the Green Bay Packers, he inherited a team that had recorded back-to-back 1-11 seasons under Jim Hofher.
That quickly changed. Under Gill's tutelage, Buffalo went 2-10 in his first year, then 5-7 in 2007, with a 5-3 Mid-American Conference record good for a three-way tie for first in the MAC's East Division.
Nebraska took notice—after Bill Callahan was fired in 2007, Gill and LSU defensive coordinator Bo Pelini were favorites for the job, with Big Red eventually picking Pelini.
Gill remained at Buffalo. Then, the breakthrough: An 8-5 record in 2008 (6-3 in the MAC, including winning the MAC East outright), a stunning 42-24 win over then-No. 12 Ball State in the MAC Championship, and a berth in the International Bowl on Jan. 3.
Again, BCS programs took notice—this time Syracuse, who dropped Greg Robinson after a forgettable four years at the Dome, and Auburn, after Tommy Tuberville resigned amidst pressure after a 5-7 season and a disappointing fourth-place finish in the SEC West.
The Orange hired one of their own—Saints offensive coordinator Doug Marrone—and the Tigers have reportedly hired Iowa State's Gene Chizik.
Bulls fans will be thrilled that their coach isn't going anywhere, as of yet. But they may not have him much longer, especially if Buffalo replicates (or even improves) what they did this year. The chances are good, especially since in 2009, Gill's fourth year, the team will consist solely of his recruits.
Will the Buffalo administration be willing to pay enough to keep their man in town? The problem is, the school does not have the amount of money the big-time BCS programs like Syracuse and Auburn have, so it will be a challenge.
Gill will apparently have another year to increase his coaching stock. If he does, don't expect to see many schools pass on his services after next season.
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