The Morgan State Bears (Photo by Mike Zarrilli/Getty Images)
Since the Cirbus Era, the Bulls have done considerably well in the home opener. Between 1995 and 1998, the Bulls won four straight home openers by an average score of 40-18. As UB prepared to leap to FBS play, they ate up small time foes beating Fordham, Illinois State and Lock Haven (twice).
The Bulls hit FBS and hit a home opener wall, losing seven consecutive openers. They lost to Akron, UConn and Rutgers, by a combined 26 points which was pretty respectable for a team new to FBS, then it got bad. FCS' Lehigh beat the Bulls by 11 and in my first game as a student, FCS' Colgate dismantled the Bulls by 23. Bad FCS BAD! The losing streak was rounded out by marquee match-ups, a 20 point loss to Syracuse and a 17-3 snooze-fest win by Rutgers.
Then two things fell in our laps serendipitously, our betrayer/savior coach, Turner Gill and our annoying w/o talent and later more annoying w/talent rivals: the Temple Owls. In my last home opener as a student, we should have dominated, but we never converted in the red zone, and missed 2 field goals, (spawning a nickname for ill-fated UB Kicker Taylor Packwood: "TP 1-for-3.com".) We won in OT, on a Starks run, giving birth to Starks' legendary career as a Bull Running Back and ending that dreadful home opener losing streak.
Since then we dropped two games to BCS teams, Baylor, 2007 and Pitt, 2009, and beat Mid-Major UTEP in 2008. In 2010, for whatever reason, we decided to FCS up our openers, and I for one have never been happier. I was nervous at first, the 2010-11 teams were bad, and I don't know if my liver can still handle a loss to a FCS team. However, we are 2-0 in our last two home openers (Rhode Island & Stony Brook), winning consecutive games for the first time since 1998. With a win against Morgan State, we will have our first three game home opener winning streak since 1996-1998. If we can accomplish that we will also pull even to 9-9 in home openers since the Cirbus era, back to 500 baby!
More than that, as fans, we will be able to be optimistic, and most likely go home happy. Shots of happiness? Enjoy them Bulls fans, they are generally few and far in between (I think my last one was in D.C. after the Bulls won the MAC in 2008.)
Also think of the diligent videographers who have to stitch together highlight videos. Where would they be without the crushing hits, the beautiful catches and the celebrating fan shots that are only possible when UB plays an inferior FCS opponent?
Finally always have your sixes in the air. Six wins is enough (although we probably need 7.) A win against Morgan State Counts, and we'd have 10 games to win 5. We just might be able to do it, but we have to win this one.
I'll be at Metlife, but I hope to get back for the second half to dance and cheer over a 68-3 beatdown. When you win 3 non-FCS games in 2 years, you learn to enjoy the FCS game while you can...so please UB, run up the score. And fans, cheer, dance, drink and be merry it's FCS week, let's get a W!