Multiple publications are predicting UB won’t be invited to a bowl
The Bulls pulled off an incredible upset when they took down the Ohio Bobcats, 31-24 the day after Thanksgiving. The Bobcats were seven-point favorites and I didn’t think the Bulls had a chance against them. But they pulled out the win, collecting their sixth of the season.
The Bulls are now in consideration for their first bowl appearance since 2013. But they’re one of 79 teams who are bowl eligible with only 78 available spots. And more teams may become eligible this week.
Last year, there weren’t enough teams that reached six wins to become bowl eligible. This resulted in five-win-teams getting invites. Now at least one team will be left out and multiple publications are expecting it to be Buffalo.
USA Today, Sports Illustrated, and SBnation all have Buffalo sitting out of a bowl game in their most recently released bowl projections.
I think that’s absurd.
The Bulls have earned a bowl invite and it would be egregious to leave them out. This is a team that has been plagued by injuries this season and rolled with every punch.
After his performance last season, I expected Tyree Jackson to dominate the MAC this year. He showed all the raw skills last year. This year was just about putting together the intangibles. He did that for three and a half weeks before he was injured and had to replaced by Drew Anderson.
Anderson was one of the most composed backups I’ve watched at any level of football. He finished out the Florida Atlantic University game to seal a victory and dominated Kent State in his first start. He also led the Bulls to war in one of the longest college football games ever. Anderson would have sealed the win against Northern Illinois University if he finished the game without injury.
Kyle Vantrease played admirably, but a true freshman quarterback in a competitive year in the MAC was destined to come up short. But he played close in two games as a third-string quarterback and that says a lot about the grit of this team. If Anderson or Jackson played those two games, they would have come up with at least one victory.
Jackson has dominated since his return. He set career-highs for passing yards in his first two games back and pulled off three straight wins to end the year and secure bowl eligibility.
If any of the bowl committees have watched Jackson play since his return, they know he could do damage to any defense in the NCAA.
The Bulls are plainly better than some other 6-6 teams.
An easy example for a team they need to make it over is the Western Kentucky Hilltoppers. The two teams never met but shared two common opponents, Florida Atlantic University (FAU) and Ball State University. They both beat Ball State but Buffalo had a four-point higher margin of victory. Buffalo also beat FAU with a backup quarterback, while the Hilltoppers lost by 14 and have lost four of their last five games. Buffalo would be coming into a bowl on a three-game win streak.
Bowl invites are subjective and I’m going to lean towards the team I watched play every week.
Injuries happen to every team, so I understand they aren’t taken into consideration when deciding rankings, but losing two of your quarterbacks during the year and still winning six games should be commended. The Bulls were 5-3 in the eight games Jackson played. This should be considered because Jackson will be on the field if the Bulls make it to a bowl game.
This team is on a roll and if someone is smart enough to give them an invite, I think they’ll prove it was the right decision when they win their first bowl game in program history.
Daniel Petruccelli is the sports editor and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org