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Buffalo Bulls Football: Can the Bulls survive an FCS loss?

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The general consensus throughout Buffalo’s fanbase in the past few days is that losing to an FCS opponent is the end of the world. Although Buffalo was the first FBS school to fall to an FCS opponent this week, they were not alone. On top of that, they also weren’t the only school that struggled against and FCS opponent. Before anymore is said, take a look at what’s below:

FBS teams struggling against the FCS, Week 1

UConn 24 - Maine 21

Buffalo 16 - Albany 22

Nevada 30 - Cal Poly 27

#13 TCU 59 - South Dakota State 41

Virginia 20 - Richmond 37

Florida Atlantic 38 - Southern Illinois 30

Washington State 42 - Eastern Washington 45

Iowa State 20 - Northern Iowa 25

I think there’s some very positive things that a UB fan can take from this. Three power five opponents lost their footing this week to an FCS school. Virginia — being an ACC school — was absolutely stomped by FCS Richmond. Richmond hails from the Colonial Athletic Association, the same conference that Albany resides in.

These aren’t the only positives that Bulls fans can draw. TCU came into their season opener ranked 13th in the nation but still allowed a whopping 41 points to South Dakota State. If I were the media polls, I’d knock them down a few pegs for that but I hope it’s refreshing for others to see that just because you’re ranked, doesn’t mean you can’t have a hard time with an FCS school.

My final argument in regard to this weeks scores is the Nevada-Cal Poly game. After this much needed bye week, Buffalo will be traveling to take on the Nevada Wolfpack. Nevada struggled throughout their entire game with Cal Poly, who is arguably on the same level as Albany. The Wolfpack couldn’t put the Mustangs away until they made a field goal in double overtime.

The Bad News

Losing to an FCS team doesn’t bode well for a team to become bowl eligible. CFBMatrix.com gathered information back in 2014 about how likely it was for a power conference team to become bowl eligible after losing to an FCS program.

Below are power conference teams that have become bowl eligible after losing to an FCS program:

2012 Pittsburgh (6-7)

2010 Virginia Tech (11-3)

2013 Kansas State (8-5)

2001 TCU (6-6)

2007 Michigan (9-4)

1983 Penn State (8-4)

2013 Oregon State (7-6)

1993 Utah (7-6)

1990 South Carolina (6-5)

About 11% of power conference programs that falter to an FCS team still overcome the odds and make it to bowl eligibility. It’s happened before and it will happen again. Unfortunately, there isn’t too much data for mid-majors and it’s too much to sift through.

But, there is a case in the MAC brought up by our very own Conrad Mostiller:

Central Michigan has done the unthinkable before. The 2007 edition of Chippewas football started the season 1-3, which included a loss to FCS North Dakota State. This team won the MAC Championship that year under a coach who is now at Tennessee. If Lance Leipold is as good of a coach as he’s supposed to be, getting the Bulls to a bowl is still very possible.