Team Chaos: Buffalo still needs help from Akron, BGSU

Buffalo’s playing like a legitimate third contender for the MAC East crown this year, after taking down Eastern Michigan 43-14 on the road. This shouldn’t sound too surprising since the Bulls did reach 10 wins last year, but now this team is taking off after the team already lost games to Ohio and Miami.

Stats and facts from Buffalo (5-4, 3-2 MAC) vs. EMU (4-5, 1-3 MAC)

    • Buffalo led EMU 29-7 at the half with 3 total TD from Kyle Vantrease (1 pass, 2 rush), and finished with such.
    • Jaret Patterson and Kevin Marks had a combined 54 carries for 253 yards and 3 TD, which was the blueprint of how this offense would play from the start.
    • Buffalo and EMU were very similar in their average yards per play on offense (5.4-5.0), but the Bulls ran twice as many plays than the Eagles did (85-42). 
    • Buffalo’s defense tallied five sacks at EMU, 
    • Lance Leipold’s updated record at Buffalo: 28-31 since 2015. Chris Creighton at EMU since 2014: 26-45. 
    • Buffalo has won three in a row since losing 34-20 at Miami, then 21-20 (OT) vs. Ohio.
    • Patterson is eighth in school history with over 2,000 career rushing yards, and Kevin Marks is ninth with 1,975.

With the Bulls’ win, the defending MAC East champs are 3-2 in MAC play heading into a bye week, and they’ll be watching Ohio vs. Miami on Wednesday night. The winner’s MAC record goes to 4-1 while the loser’s goes to 3-2, same as Buffalo’s. Being a game back to the divisional leader is difficult to overcome, especially if there’s not going to be a rematch.

Here’s what Buffalo has left on its schedule, which I think is all winnable games, but it won’t be easy:

  • at Kent State (3-5, 2-2 MAC)
  • vs. Toledo (5-3, 2-2 MAC)
  • vs. BGSU (3-6, 2-3 MAC)

For the sake of getting Buffalo to Detroit, let’s say Buffalo wins out and finishes the regular season with an 8-4 record, 6-2 in MAC play. That’s the record for the best-case scenario for Buffalo at this point, and it would require Ohio and Miami to finish with 5-3 MAC records. This scenario is still in the cards, but the likelihood of things playing out like that are very low.

After playing Miami, Ohio plays at home vs. Western Michigan, at Bowling Green, then at Akron.

The RedHawks still have Bowling Green and Akron at home, then finish the season at Ball State.

Again, the winner of Ohio vs. Miami will be 4-1 in league play, which means Buffalo fans would have to root for that team to go 1-2 the rest of the stretch. The loser of Ohio vs. Miami will fall to 3-2, but would still need to lose just one more game for this to work. It’s not that hard to imagine WMU to beat the Bobcats or Ball State beating Miami at home to end the year, but can BG and/or Akron beat either of these obviously-better MAC East squads?

I think the odds are against Buffalo here, but if BG or Akron can come through with an upset or two to make this a truly bizzare season, I’ll be here for the chaos.

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