For UB fans Buffalo's series against Western Michigan a lot like this history of Gilligan's Island. It's a tale of a wonderful journey gone awry followed by repeated failures to escape a tropical dystopia
Note: While from the outside the island from the TV show looked like tropical paradise they were there for three years using coconut (a laxative) as their food staple and with no toilet paper... Dystopia I tell you!
It started in 1999 when Craig Cirbus took the helm as Buffalo ventured out on a tour of the MAC. They hit a lot of storms during the Cirbus / MAC era and two of them were crushing defeats at the hands of Western Michigan.
In 2005, long stranded on a desolate island, UB once again took on the Bronco's.
WMU would run up a big lead but during a fourth quarter rally UB would pull to within 10. They had time, momentum, and the ball. It looked like they might just escape the island. Then Jim Hofher accidentally tripped and fell onto the coconut radio, Drew Willy was sacked by Nate Meyer, and Mark Bonds carried the Bronco's back to a 17 point lead.
UB would get even closer to escaping the island in their next two attempts. At home in 2008, then playing in Waldo in 2009 buffalo lost to Western Michigan in overtime. In both contests Buffalo had a fourth quarter lead that they frittered away. The lead in 2008 was 14 points but the pain of that loss was ameliorated by a MAC Championship.
In 2009 the lead was just three points. The pain of that overtime loss was made worse by the fact it's one of the close games that Kept UB from getting Bowl eligible.
Turner Gill got off of WMU Island in 2009, though he left the rest of the team behind when Kansas "rescued him". UB's new skipper, Jeff Quinn, did not appear as ready to lead the team as his predecessor. This makes Quinn's successful attempt to escape the Island so surprising.
Last season Buffalo jumped out to a 17-0 lead early in the second quarter only to see the Bronco's roll off 21 straight points. UB would add two field goals late in the third which sent the game into the 4th with UB up 23-21. Then in typical "WMU Island" style the Bulls let the bronco's take a 4th quarter lead when Andrew Haldeman hit a 28 yard field goal.
It felt like old times for UB fans.
Ahh, we’re behind again. Was starting to feel weird being in the lead.
Smile.. tomorrow will be worse
But despite being down the Bulls were not out. Three minutes after falling behind Joe Licata's threw a 30-yard touchdown pass to Alex Neutz. That pass proved the game-winner.
So like Giligans' Island our story has a happy ending right?
Well people seem to forget that after getting off the island the doomed passengers of the SS Minnow had a get together which, you guessed it, marooned them all over again on the same island.