BUFFALO, N.Y. (From UB Athletics)- Highlighted by potentially four nationally-televised games, the University at Buffalo football team released its 2013 schedule on Friday. The challenging schedule features five opponents coming off bowl-qualifying seasons, as well as a school that could very well open the year as the nation's top-ranked team.
The season begins on August 31, when the Bulls travel to the Horseshoe to take on the Ohio State Buckeyes. Though the team was prohibited from competing in the bowl season, Ohio State finished 2012 as the nation's lone undefeated team. Led by dual-threat quarterback Braxton Miller, who rushed for 1,271 yards and passed for 2,039 more, the Buckeyes averaged over 37 points per game in 2012.
The following week, the Bulls will travel to Waco, TX for a Sept. 7 game against the equally imposing Baylor Bears. Though the rematch of the 2011 game between the two teams will lack current NFL star Robert Griffin III, the Bears still will be a tough out, winning five of the last six games of the 2012 season, including a rout of then-top-ranked Kansas State.
After the road trip, the team returns home for almost an entire month, hosting a three-game home stand, starting with the home opener against Stony Brook on Sept. 14. The two teams met in 2011, with the Bulls winning 35-7, but the Seawolves would then go on to win the 2011 Big South Conference title. In 2012, the team lost in the conference title game, but still earned a top 15 national ranking and made the second round of the FCS national tournament.
Following a bye week, the team will then continue it's running series against Connecticut, hosting the Huskies on Sept. 28. Last season, the Bulls lost by a touchdown in Storrs. It is the fourth straight year the two teams will match up.
To cap the home-opening stretch, the team will open the Mid-American Conference season with a crossover game against Eastern Michigan. The last meeting between the two teams was in 2010, when the Eagles rushed for 261 yards in a 21-17 win.
Another cross over game will follow in the next week, on Oct. 12, when the Bulls head to Kalamazoo to play the Western Michigan Broncos. In Buffalo's 29-24 win over WMU in 2012, the Bulls put up over 450 yards offensively and forced five turnovers.
A home game against Massachusetts on Oct. 19 sandwiches between a major road game against MAC East rival Kent State on Oct. 26.
The national spotlight will be shining on the Bulls as November rolls around, as the final four games of the season will be mid-week features on the ESPN family of networks, starting with a Nov. 5 game at UB Stadium against Ohio. In a series that hasn't lacked fireworks over the past few seasons, the rivalry continues in an 8 pm contest on either ESPN2 or ESPNU. The Bulls have put up record-breaking offensive numbers against the Bobcats, but have split the past two meetings in the series.
Next will be a pair of televised road games, starting at Toledo on Nov. 12. Scheduled to air on ESPNU, the Bulls will look to avenge an upset attempt that came up just short in 2012. Then it's on to Oxford, OH for an ESPN2/ESPNU game Nov. 19 against the Miami Redhawks. The Bulls took last year's matchup in a dramatic flourish, with Patrick Clarke hitting a game-winning field goal as time expired. The season will come to an end with an ESPNU/ESPN3 game at home against Bowling Green on Nov. 29.
"We are excited about this challenging schedule that allows our players to play against some of the best competition in the nation," head coach Jeff Quinn said. "Our program has grown in my time here and we are being rewarded with an opportunity to showcase our talents to a national audience."
The Bulls finished the 2012 campaign strong, winning three of their final four games. Buffalo will return 17 of 22 starters next season, including All-MAC running back Branden Oliver, All-MAC wide receiver Alex Neutz and All-MAC linebacker Khalil Mack.
Aug. 31 at Ohio State
Sept. 7 at Baylor
Sept. 14 Stony Brook
Sept. 28 UConn
Oct. 5 *Eastern Michigan
Oct. 12 *at Western Michigan
Oct. 19 *UMass
Oct. 26 *at Kent State
Nov. 5 #*Ohio, 8:00 pm ET (ESPN2/ESPNU)
Nov. 12 #*at Toledo, TBA (ESPNU/ESPN3)
Nov. 19 #*at Miami, TBA (ESPN2/ESPNU)
Nov. 29 #*Bowling Green, TBA (ESPNU/ESPN3)
* - Mid-American Conference Game