When UMass joined the conference I was thrilled. Here was another State Flagship much like UB. While UMass enjoys an official label The State University of New York at Buffalo is the largest most comprehensive institution of higher learning in the New York State.
UMass coming in meant a "rival" for Buffalo and finally balanced divisions in the MAC. Most of all they were not total FCS ass hats who swore they could already play in the middle of the pack during MACtion. We even went about finding a rivalry trophy for them.
The powder horn was born, and Jeff Quinn's bulls trended up in 2012 and 2013. I was able to ignore the ever growing base of UMass fans who had bought into the delusion that "they were already an average MAC team". They floundered and flailed as badly as Buffalo did when they made the move.
That's not a slam on them, it's just the normal road an FCS call up takes.
Their win totals since moving up in 2012? 1 win in 2012 and 2013, 3 wins last season, and 2 wins so far this year. They are what 9/10 FCS teams would be in any FBS conference. Though they are improving.
The final nail was this season. Mark Whipple moved the needle from 1 to 3 wins so many a UMass fan, and amazingly MAC beat writers, started seeing the minute men as a legit contender in the east. Hell they got a first place vote in this seasons Mid American Conference preseason media poll.
That, for me, was the final straw.
I have had this game circled on my calendar since August. Even if we beat Nevada and don't put up a stinker in Akron I want this game. The fact it may be for a Bowl spot is even bigger but even if only for the right to send UMass packing in style I want this game.
So win the powder horn UB, bring home our virtual trophy one last time and send UMass out of the MAC and onward to independence!.