Saving the best for last right? The editors' round robin of season predictions for UB football ends me. I'm going to go the way of Matt and give some general predictions and thoughts that I've been having before getting into the game by game predictions.
First, some general predictions:
Unlike Matt, I think Tyree Jackson takes the reigns and starts every game. Jackson is a monster of a man standing at 6-6 and weighing in at 240 pounds, and by all accounts he has been improving every day. While Grant Rohach may have Power 5 experience, I think he may serve as a better student-coach, giving Jackson advice on the sideline and in practice. Jackson has a cannon of an arm and if he performs to his ability I think he could end up on the All-MAC team when the season is over.
Boise Ross may be the top dog in the defensive backfield but don't sleep on sophomore Cameron Lewis. As a true freshman, Lewis had 5 pass breakups and an interception return for a touchdown while playing in all 12 games for the Bulls. While Lewis is slightly undersized at 5-9 he has the lightning fast speed to keep up with receivers and make big plays.
For me, the biggest question mark on this team is the offensive line. The team lost John Kling, Robert Blodgett and Dillon Guy to graduation and it was recently revealed that Andy Fidler, one of the presumptive starters was lost for the season due to back surgery. That leaves James O'Hagan and Roubbens Joseph as the only returners with any significant starting experience with the team. Leipold has pulled in a great deal of JUCO O-Linemen but time will tell if they will be able to gel into a cohesive unit. Two new starting tackles and a new starting guard are exactly conducive to success. I seriously have my doubts and the line may be a limiting factor in the production ability of the offense.
Boise Ross will lead the nation in passes defensed. He led the nation for a stretch and finished 5th in passes defensed and I seriously think that he can lead the nation this year. With his coverage ability and high energy Ross will be drafted, as early as the 3rd or 4th round.
Only 2 Bulls had more than 2 sacks last season, Nick Gilbo and Okezie Alozie, and both were lost to graduation. I think Charles Harris leads the team in sacks. He had a solid season as a true freshman and he's a physical freak. Call it a hunch.
Khalil Hodge will take Nick Gilbo's spot in the lineup and have more than 100 total tackles. Hodge has great size for the position and he's a plug-and-play type guy. He'll be a tackling machine.
Taylor Sheets will be the biggest impact freshman. Tyler Grassman has graduated and the man taking his place will follow in Grassman's shoesteps starting as a true freshman. Sheets was a 3-star recruit and handle kickoff duties as well as punting, and even field goals if needed. He also has an 80 yard punt to his name. #PuntersArePeopleToo
Now to the game-by-game:
Albany - Win, 42-20. If UB loses this game I'll eat my shoe on Bulls and Beers.
Nevada - Loss, 27-14. UB made it close at home, but going to Nevada will be a different story.
Army - Win, 23-13. Army's option will be a challenge, but this is no longer Lou Tepper's defense.
Boston College - Loss- 20-10. BC had one of the stingiest defenses in the nation and this is a team that will prey on UB's young OL.
Kent State - Win, 31-10. Kent State won't have a missing equipment truck to save them this time.
Ball State - Win, 26-19. UB keeps the homefield advantage and downs the lowly Cardinals.
Northern Illinois - Loss, 32-20. 3rd game in 14 days and on the road at Northern Illinois? No thanks.
Akron - Loss, 24-23. I'm torn and decided this one on a coin toss.
Ohio - Win, 25-14. UB gets another phantom safety which doesn't affect the outcome of the game at all.
Miami (OH) - Win, 33-17. UB qualifies for it's 3rd bowl game on senior night.
Western Michigan - Loss, 41-17. Apparently, rowing boats does help win football games.
Bowling Green - Loss, 30-26. BGSU has had UB's number and I don't think that changes.
Final Record: 6-6