(Editor's Note: Hi Dave!)
Buffalo coach Lance Liepold has one full season under his belt and he is shaping the program to his liking. Lance had more losses in his first season in Buffalo (7) than over his entire eight year stint in Whitewater (6). Did we expect Lance to come to Amherst and start rolling undefeated seasons? No. What is expected is improvement. And the fan base is looking for the improvement this year. Gone is UB's all time leading QB Joe Licata. I am not one to panic in replacing Licata and excited to see the performance behind center.
This offense will be driven by the ground game. Led by Senior Jordan Johnson. I am excited to see his production this year and improvements from another great runner in the wings, Jonathan Hawkins. Much of the production in the air is gone is TE Matt Weiser, WR Ron Willoughby, and transferring back out of UB is Colin Lisa. So the top receivers have left Amherst. Mason Schreck, on the John Mackey Watch List, to create production and points out of the TE spot. Marcus McGill is set to increase his effectiveness last year with 50 catches. I hope we see the emergence of Jacob Martinez. I have enjoyed his play but was not always on the field last season.
The issue will be the offensive line replacing all but one full time starter. And that little thing of having a new QB for the first time under center in over three and half years. See many articles later breaking down the QB position.
On the defensive side of the ball, teams will have a hard time to throw against. The best athlete on the team is Boise Ross. Pressed in to coverage when UB had literally zero defensive backs and in comes to town Baylor. The move was also the perfect storm for Ross who liked to wander into open spots and had some drops. Ross will be playing on Sundays. Strong safety combination with Williamson and Dadeboe. I like the direction defensive coordinator Borland is taking his unit. Lost some depth at linebacker both the terrible situation and graduation but the converted safety Berry brings back experience. I feel good but need to see the depth at DL for this team step up and dominate games.
Mitcheson must be better than 13 - 19 in field goals and a new punter will be crowned. Here is my first run at the outcome of the 2016 season.
Games that UB should win: 1 - 0
Albany Great Danes: Buffalo 26 - Danes 14
Games I would like UB to win: 2 - 3
Army Black Knights: You'll remember a blowout loss on the road and last second field goal win. Army 21 - UB 14
Akron Zips: Zips 24 - UB 21
And here is where the season lies in the balance. Three teams who were 2-6 last year in the MAC.
Kent State Golden Flashes: UB - 31 - Kent 17
Ball State Cardinals: Ball State 24 - UB 17
Miami (OH) Redhawks: UB 24 - Miami 7
Games I think the Bulls come up short:
Boston College Eagles: BC 37 - UB 21
Nevada Wolf Pack: NWP 31 - UB 17 --UB will have to try to stop Akeel Lynch again.
Bowling Green Falcons. Falcons 17 - Bulls 7 --Has the Bulls number
Northern Illinois Huskies: NIU 24 - Bulls 10
Ohio Bobcats: Bobcats 29 - UB 17
Western Michigan Broncos: WMU 17 - Bulls 10
Comment below on how terrible my picks are. UB 3 - 9. UB is a year or so away from hopefully piecing it together. Some talent on this team but lack of experience spells a down season for the Bulls. There could be huge movement in the middle of the five games and of course we all would love UB to pick a win against the come up short column. Wish I had a more successful prediction Bulls fans. Disclaimer that I do not speak for all the editors on Bull Run,