In 2006, UB was unexpectedly buried in two feet of snow. 380,000 homes and business lost power. South campus, Amherst, Williamsville and North and South Campus UB were both severely impacted. Three days later, UB played football.
In 2014, by all accounts, UB was relatively spared, and the only thing preventing a game was Kent's equipment. So the solution is a game on Saturday, a game on Sunday (no Bills anyway) or on Thursday December 4, when only one other college football game (UCF/ECU) is on the schedule.
Instead, the MAC has cancelled the game. Earlier in the year, Idaho and Florida cancelled a game due to inclimate weather, and the two schools mutually decided not to play. Both teams had an open date in late October, but Idaho probably didn't want to fly back out to Florida, and Florida probably wanted their bye week in the middle of their SEC schedule.
Buffalo wanted to play Kent, Kent probably wanted to play Buffalo, they were already in Buffalo. You only get 48 to 56 games in your college career, you don't throw a game away, especially after preparing all week for it. The MAC just threw out 2% of every UB player's career.
I'm assuming if canceling the game meant the MAC had to repay money to ESPN, the game would be played. In fact, if this game was scheduled on Saturday, maybe the equipment is flown in, maybe the truck takes a different route, but everyone arrives, and the game would have been played. On top of that, we could have had a proper senior day and a proper crowd.
The conference is chasing money, but they have failed to engage Buffalo. We have no conference rival, UB has struggled in the unbalanced conference tournaments in Ohio and Michigan, the 13-team football structure created unfairly weighted schedules. The fact that UMass would rather go to the Sun Belt than the MAC is telling.
This cancelled game is the last straw for me. Get us out, get us out of the MAC.
The American Athletic Conference would be a great place, and maybe it works if we can get Army on board. Can we package New York to the AAC: UB to the American as a full member, and Army as a football only member?
How it works: 9 conference games, six division games, one permanent cross-division rival, two additional cross-division games.
Only the six division games will be counted for AAC Championship eligibility.
The AAC Championship game will take place at higher ranked team's host site (although Yankee Stadium would be a good permanent site) during the first week of December. The second week will be the final conference game, between Army and Navy.
If Army and Navy win their divisions:
There will be no AAC Championship game, the second week of December will serve as the Army Navy game and the AAC Championship game.
Why it works for Army:
They already have 14 games against this AAC on schedule between 2015 and 2020. With regional games and the Navy game taken care of, Army would play in Florida, Carolina, and Texas. With the Air Force game penciled in, Army would be able to schedule two big non-conference games each year.
Why it works for Buffalo:
Better rivals, Temple, Army, UConn. This would engage and excite the UB fan base. Alumni along the coast would all get closer UB road matchups. With built in games in all the major eastern recruiting areas (Texas, Ohio, Florida, Maryland, Pennsylvania) UB could explore out of conference games in the West, expanding their reach and reaching alumni in Nevada, Colorado, Arizona and California. We get out of Ohio overload.
Road Games MAC vs Projected AAC
|Games||2009-14 MAC||Projected AAC||Games|
Why it works for the AAC:
The AAC could reclaim New York, with Buffalo, UConn, and Army. Army increases the reach of the conference, adds the valuable Army Navy game. Buffalo provides upside and potential. A strong Buffalo and Cincy helps the AAC fight off the B1G's intrusion on the old Big East footprint.
What to do Now?
1) Hire a good football coach - UB has the New York State rebrand, Bobby Hurley, they just need a football coach that shows UB is serious about being the next great college team.
2) Lobby - UB should be on the phone with Army, UConn, Temple, and the AAC.
3) Promote - UB does ok in football attendance. UB Basketball is consistently good. UB Women's Soccer is strong, UB Women's basketball is improving and they beat Pitt last year.
If Buffalo was in the AAC this year:
Anthone Taylor would be the AAC's leading rusher. BO would have been the AAC's leading rusher last year.
Joe Licata would be the 4th best passer in the AAC this year and #1 in the AAC in passing TDs.
Willoughby would be #2 in the AAC in receiving TDs, last year Neutz would have been #1 in the AAC in receiving TDs.
Khalil Mack would have given the AAC two top 5 picks in the 2014 NFL draft, a feat that could only be matched by the SEC.
Hire - Lobby - Promote. Danny White has proven a great talent finder, and a never ending promoter. It may be time for him to pick up the phone and start making moves out of Ohio and towards the coast.
|Team||2013 Avg. Attendance|
4) Finally, Buffalo needs angry fans. We have been angry, at each other, arguing about the NYBI and Jeff Quinn and Hurley v. Reggie. But Hurley is here and the team looks good, the NYBI is what it is and the Old Quinner is gone. With the right hire, UB could be at relative peace for the first time half a decade.
Lets put that residual anger to good use, lets get angry at the MAC, let Danny White know this is a priority.