Buffalo's football program should be one of the best in the Mid-American Conference's East Division in a year where they are expected to take a huge step forward under head coach Maurice Linguist.
With a plethora of graduate students and older seniors on the team, look for the Bulls to rely on returning quarterback Cole Snyder to help get the team to the MAC title game this year.
Buffalo 2023 Preview
THE CONF: Mid-Atlantic Conference (East Division)
2022 RECORD: 7-6 (went to Camellia Bowl, beating Georgia Southern 23-21)
CONF. FINISH: 5-3 in the MAC
HEAD COACH: Maurice Linguist (3rd year at school/overall: 11-14)
FIVE ALL-STAR CANDIDATES: Cole Snyder, Fifth year./QB, (3,030 yards passing, 18 TDs); Alex McNulty, Grad Student./K, (24-28 field goals, longest made - 54 yards, 41-42 extra points); Shaun Dolac, Sr./LB, (97 tackles, 4.5 sacks, 3 FF); Gabe Wallace, Grad Student./OL (Third team All MAC), Marcus Fuqua, Fifth year./S, (65 tackles, 5 pass breakups, 2 ff, 7 INT's.)
THE NEWCOMER: Richie Watts, Soph./QB, (College of San Mateo JUCO transfer), 1,893 yards passing, 10 TDs over last two seasons, (including four games his senior year shortened due to COVID-19).
Expectations are very high this year for the Bulls after going 4-8 and 7-6 the last two seasons. The Bulls landed nine quality transfers from the portal this offseason including the highly coveted Darrell Harding Jr. from ACC program Duke. The Bulls finished the year on a two-game winning streak including a 23-21 squeaker over the Georgia Southern Eagles in the Camellia Bowl last December.
Returning quarterback Cole Snyder is poised for a big year and is hoping to be the guy to lead the Bulls back to a MAC Conference title. Head Coach Maurice Linguist may be a candidate for MAC or even NCAA national coach of the year, should the Bulls finish around 9-3 or 10-2 in the regular season.
The Key Game and Why
The Ohio Bobcats at Buffalo on Nov 7. needs to be a huge and important victory as the Bobcats went to the MAC title game last year. They were defeated by the Toledo Rockets 17-7. If the Bulls want any shot at winning the MAC East and the MAC conference title, this is the game they should have circled on the calendar. Plus, they want revenge after losing 45-24 to this same Bobcats team on the road last year. This brings up the following point:
The Toughest Game and Why
Ohio U. looks to be one of the superior teams again in the conference and the Bobcats know they should have not been upset by Toledo in the MAC title game last December. But luckily, this is a home game for the Bulls, and while they have a better team and a greater chance of winning this year's matchup, nothing is guaranteed as the MAC is only improving.
Chances of Making Conference Title Game
On paper, this looks like it could be the best Bulls team since Lance Leipold was coach, and even the best so far in the Maurice Linguist era. With a ton of talent on both sides of the ball, they are also very experienced with nine transfer portal players and a decent abundance of seniors and grad students. Look for this team to be in the race all year long, and have it come down to the last few weeks of conference play.
Going on the road to Wisconsin to play another Big Ten team in the opener will be a challenge. The big home non-conference game with Liberty, could also give the Bulls some problems, but this is the way it goes in modern-day MAC football. This team is rolling with the big boys now and these are great measuring stick games early, to see where they will be before opening up conference play at Akron.
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