This is a rare feeling for a UB football fan. Having your team receive it's first top 25 vote, the winning streak, meaningful games in November, playing back to back games on national TV, recruits uncommitted from other programs to come to Buffalo, and dreaming about how Roger Goodell is going to say the schools name and the cheesy "hug" as a UB first round draft choice walks onto Radio City Music Hall stage.
Conversely, no one is setting up the tailgate in the front driveway right now like many other fans of college football would be doing if this was their team! To be an athletic fan boils down to having your emotions pulled and prodded. Rarely in any other arena in our life can we have these intense feelings, reactions, and need to commiserate or celebrate with others. That is why we love sports.
I can't think of many other fan bases or city who have witnessed and absorbed the negative side of sports emotions like Buffalo. We are a starving bunch of fans. The old saying is act like you been there before, well UB has never been here before. This is not how the 2008 team wrote their script. We did not have to fully invest.
That is why this year has been taxing on many. First the Stony Brook game where doubts not only crept in but washed away any thoughts of how special and talented the players on the field are. Then the run. We had pickers for UCONN, pickers for Kent, pickers for Ohio, and I totally understand. Going into Toledo and the Bruwpeg picks are rolling in as fast as Maple Syrup flying out of the tree.
I for one am all in on this team. I am going to remove the baggage that accumulated on me from the past (hell in has been two decades of baggage watching Bulls football!) The 2008 team surprised many. Won games close and we really did not invest into this team until the I Bowl. I mean truly invest our soul. At the half I had to get a beer. Wait, a team that I follow is leading in a bowl game?! Actually, I needed a beer because my brain and heart could not process the emotions that I was experiencing (wait maybe I should be going to AA) Actually, I knew what could and eventually did happen in the second half. That 2008 team sucked me in. Damn you.
The 2013 team like my poker buddies say, I AM ALL IN. I do not care they played 'nobody except Ohio and the refs gave UB that game.' Nah, this is a very special team that I will look back on fondly. It is the stars on this team absolutely. It's just not the stars making plays, it's the stars that have embraced this team and one another. It is the stars that have created a bar and young players seeing what it takes to win. It is the stars who push the young players and understand what it takes to win. It is the young players who have an understanding of how to commit on and off the field.
UB will have a large vacuum of the best players ever graduating and and that is impossible to overcome. Although, look at what is happening. With UB up big in games, second and third stringers are getting playing time and making plays. Look at the offensive line. I would put this line as the best in the MAC and this line is young. When you have to respect Bo that does helps.
We have younger players who are starting to catch passes from Licata. We have linebackers making plays. UB will need to find some play-makers in the secondary and really needs to find a WR threat.
Enough about next year. I am going to enjoy the rest of this season no matter how it plays out. I do expect UB to win. I absolutely do. We are not giving this team the credit it deserves. If not, I know this team will give Toledo one hell of ride. That is more than just about any other UB team did except for a couple of season was to be competitive with the best of the MAC. Another win over Miami and I can't think of a better way to spend the Friday after Thanksgiving than having a meaningful game in Buffalo at the big stadium.
Enjoy this run fans. Take the guard off from around your UB bruised heart. Learn to love UB football again.