The Buffalo Bulls finished 2019 on a high note, thrashing Charlotte in the Bahammas to secure the programs first Bowl win. The really good news is that the UB football team in 2020 is going to return a ton of talent.
Compared to previous “high water mark” teams the Bulls look to walk into 2020 with the bulk of their talent coming back.
- 2009 (After UB’s 2008 MAC Championship) - Lost Drew Willy, Naaman Roosevelt Justin Winters, and significant chunks of the offensive and defensive fronts. They were set to return James Starks, but he was lost to an injury before the season started.
- 2014 (After UB’s 2013 trip to the Spud Bowl) - Lost Khalil Mack and Branden Oliver among others
- 2019 (After UB’s 2018 trip to the DG Bowl) - Lost Tyree Jackson, Anthony Johnson, and most of the defense.
This year there are no doubt a few big pieces to replace on the offensive line but most of the unit comes back. There are also spots on the defense with guys like Matt Otwinowski and Joey Banks have moved on.
But, on the whole UB not only returns most of their squad, but they are returning some of the best players in the conference.
PFF did a list of the top ten returning MAC players and Buffalo has four of them.
Among them are
#2 Jaret Patterson - Not only does PFF say he’s the second best returning player in the MAC they put him among the best returning running backs in the nation.
#6 Taylor Riggans - On the other side of the Ball PAA has Riggins rolling up a two-year pass-rush grade and pass-rush win rate that is among the 10 best in all of college football
#7 Malcom Koonce - Holding the other edge spot is Koonce. Last season Koonce finished 16th in pass-rush grade while winning on 24% of his reps, which was the third highest rate in college football
#10 Antonio Nunn - The question last year was who do we throw the ball to? Jaret Patterson did, in large part, render that moot but UB still found a weapon in Nunn. Antonio ranked 17th nationally when single covered. The extra good news is as the season went on more ot the receivers started to warrant attention so Nunn could be seeing more single coverage in 2020.
Assuming there is football in 2020 Buffalo may have as good a shot to win the MAC as they did in 2018, certainly a winning season and bowl game seems like it’s more than within reach.