Over the course of UB2AAC Week at Bull Run, we've got a series of posts coming your way that design to show both that the AAC is a better fit for UB than their current place in college sports, and that UB is a strong option for the AAC, especially if the conference gets caught by Big XII expansion.
This morning we're looking at UB's sizable alumni base which is generally ignored among the school's selling points. Part of that reason is because many of UB's current opponents lie in a tight geographic area a full day's drive or more from the strength of UB's alumni in the BOS-WASH eastern corridor.
We have, however, seen alumni get involved with success, as you do from everyone. The 2009 International Bowl was the most-attended edition of that game by 25%, and drew a larger TV audience that year than three bowl games involving current AAC members.
Consider this screengrab from the UB Alumni Association, edited to mark the location of AAC schools:
UB Alumni, by AAC state, with New Jersey added because of Temple in Philadelphia:
Sure, some of the AAC West Division states don't have large UB Alumni representations, but UB would likely slot into an East Division that features five of UBAA's eight most-represented states, after New York. (California, Massachusetts and Virginia are the three left out, though the most populated part of Old Dominion is within striking distance of Navy.)
Note: In a post later this week we'll address the topic of alumni base with regards to why this move would be a better option for UB. It's at that time that we'll address the relative alumni population in the MAC states. Today we're talking why the AAC should be interested.
And goodness knows that there are plenty of Buffalonian expats around who may not be connected to UB, but might, with time, support the successful team from their hometown when it rolls around. There's only one AAC city that doesn't have a Bills Backers Chapter, and more than half have multiple. When the Bills or Sabres roll into town, it is a massive celebration, so much so a Carolina writer once had to implore Hurricane fans to take the arena back from Buffalo fans. There are not just UB alumni, but Buffalonians, all over the AAC footprint. After years with no games in their backyard, UB games in AAC cities would be a huge a draw for alumni.
If you've been around the UB corners of the internet for a while, whether it's here or UBFan or even earlier than that, you know there are plenty of distant alumni and fans who go see UB when they make it to New York or Philly. There's really no argument - other than football wins and spite - that when it comes to measurables, whether it's wins, attendance, or money in the program, that UB is becoming a healthier athletic department under Danny White, and it's not unlikely that more alumni and fans will be more willing to go see UB when a team is in the area.
UB's alumni numbers should impress the AAC as well: UB is the largest school in its current conference, pumping the most new alumni back into the world each year. In the AAC Buffalo would fit in the middle of the pack in terms of student body size and new alumni each year, many of whom stay in the AAC footprint.
We know from various conversations around UB that Danny White is not shy about pointing out that he doesn't feel UB is in the best conference to capitalize on its alumni. Outside of the ACC, no conference aligns with our alumni better than the American, and frankly no conference, including the ACC, would benefit more from adding Buffalo and their alumni than the American Conference.