For the first time since 2009 Buffalo had a "what if" season. What if Brandon Oliver and James Potts don't get hurt? What if Buffalo manages another score against UConn on their last drive of the game? What if we face Toledo at full strength? or what if Joe Licata gets some starts earlier in the year?
|@ Georgia||23 - 45|
|MORGAN ST.||56 - 34|
|KENT ST.||7 - 23|
|@ Connecticut||17 - 24|
|@ Ohio||31 - 38|
|@ Northern Ill.||3 - 45|
|PITTSBURGH||6 - 20|
|TOLEDO||20 - 25|
|MIAMI (OH)||27 - 24|
|WESTERN MICH.||29 - 24|
|@ Massachusetts||29 - 19|
|@ Bowling Green||7 - 21|
Buffalo rode the "what if's" and a very difficult schedule to a disappointing 4-8 season.
How difficult was their schedule?
Three teams finished the year ranked and won their divisions (Georgia, Kent, and NIU). On top of those three three more are already set to go bowling (Ohio, Toledo, and Bowling Green). Finally more are at five wins with a chance to win their sixth next week (UConn and Pitt).
That's six teams in the post season, three division winners, and two more on the bubble.
Every team not in the category of Bowl contender was defeated by Buffalo albeit usually by only a razor thin.
So in 2012 Buffalo has went from about the worst team in the MAC to one of those teams just outside of the bowl category and they did it with their second, and third line skill positions.
If someone told you in August that Rashad Jean would be get about half the carries in any one game you would have called them nuts. If they told he he would look impressive doing it you might tell them to seek help.
Going into the season Jean, a converted defensive lineman, was Buffalo's second line fullback. Against Kent Boomer Brock was lost for the year and effectively so was Branden Oliver, who lost five of the final eight games and was never quite himself again.
The week before Buffalo lost dynamic running back James Potts and the Bulls would also lose Devon Campbell and Branden Murie during points of the season. That's how your second string fullback because part of your starting committee backfield with Branden Murie.
Still despite running a MASH unit in their backfield Buffalo put up more than two thousand yard on the ground.
500 of that belonged to starting Quarterback Alex Zordich, who missed the last four games of the season with an injury.
In addition to Zordich and the running backs UB's receiving corps also battled injuries throughout the year. For a good span of the season the Bulls could not put together their entire corps due to injury.
Zordich was replaced by Joe Licata who, with the benefit of facing UB's lesser ranked foes, rattled off the first three game win streak that the program has seen since 2008. Licata had a chance to put an exclamation point on his season with a win against Bowling Green but the freshman looked average against the Falcons.
When all was said and done Zordich was the 13th ranked MAC quarterback, Licata snuck in at eleventh. This means next spring once again UB has no clear favorite to start at quarterback.
Buffalo had the number two ranked defense in the conference and despite their injury situation they still had the sixth ranked ground attack. Next year with three linemen returning, some promising replacements, and every running back on the team coming back Buffalo could contend.
This was not the season that UB fans wanted but it was the one that they could have expected. More importantly it's one that UB's 17 returning starters can build off of.