by Greg Gabriel, Buffalo Sports Page Football Expert

We can find out a lot about a football team just by the way they play in big games. In the case of the University at Buffalo Bulls, this team might not be the team we thought they were.
UB has played 11 games and have an excellent 9-2 record. Yes, they have come up big in most games and widely outplayed their opponents. In two games though that were perhaps against the toughest opponents the Bulls have faced this year, they didn’t show up and that is disturbing.

Losing the Army Battle

In week-5 of this season Army came to UB stadium. UB got up quickly on Army with a 53 yard TS pass to K.J. Osborn on UB’s first series. Army quickly stormed back with a very physical running game and scored their next three possessions to grab a 21-7 halftime lead. Army never let up and went on to win this game by the score of 42-13.

In that game Army outhustled UB, outhit UB and basically played a far more physical football game that UB couldn’t handle. At the time I don’t think that much of it given the fact that Army’s scheme is so different than most others in college football. The following week, UB traveled to Central Michigan and won 34-24, so to me the Army game was an anomaly.

Clawed By the Bobcats

Fast forward to Wednesday night at Ohio University. UB had a chance to clinch the MAC East and then rest some starters next week at Bowling Green before a tough MAC Championship game in Detroit. UB also had a chance to gain some ground in both the USA Today coach’s poll and the AP poll as far as rankings. It was a great chance for UB to show how good a football team they were.

The problem is that much like the Army game, the Bulls didn’t show up at Ohio. Just like against Army, UB got off to a quick start by scoring on their first possession but after that it was all Ohio as they ran the ball at will and pushed UB’s defense all over the field. That’s two physical football teams that had their way with UB. The question is, is that the way to beat Buffalo?

Division Title Still In Reach

What is worrisome is that UB now has to go on the road again to Bowling Green and try and clinch the MAC East. Yes, Bowling Green is at the bottom of the MAC’s standings but that doesn’t mean they will be a pushover for the Bulls. They can try and play the same physical game as Ohio and they just may well have success.

Assuming UB does beat Bowling Green, they will have to face Northern Illinois in the MAC Championship game. Northern Illinois is a tough, physical team and they can run the ball as well as any team in the MAC. Northern will easily be the best team UB has faced in 2018. For UB to win this game they have to change their M.O. I don’t know if that is possible this late in the year.

A week ago this looked like it could be the greatest season in UB football history. A week later, all those bets are off. How things change.

Greg Gabriel

Gabriel has spent most of his adult life as an evaluator for various NFL clubs. He started his career in 1991 working for the Buffalo Bills as a part time scout under dormer Bills Director of Player Personnel Norm Pollom. He left the Bills in June 1984 to become the Great Lakes area scout for National Football Scouting. Following the 1984 season, Gabriel joined the New York Giants as their Midwest area scout and was promoted to Director of Player Development in 1996. The Giants went to three Super Bowls and won two during Gabriel’s time with the club.

Following the Giants appearance versus the Baltimore Ravens in Super Bowl XXXV, Greg became Director of College Scouting for the Chicago Bears under General Manager Jerry Angelo. He held that position until June of 2010. During his time with Chicago, the Bears won three Division titles and the 2006 NFC Championship. In his nine Drafts with the Bears, the team drafted 12 future Pro Bowl performers such perennial Pro Bowler Matt Forte, Tommie Harris, Devin Hester, Lance Briggs and Charles Tillman.

In the 2012 – 2013 season, Gabriel was a consultant for the Philadelphia Eagles Scouting Department and has since done some small scouting roles for various NFL clubs.

Since leaving the NFL Gabriel has been a contributor for the National Football Post, the Bleacher Report and more recently Pro Football Weekly. He also is both a writer and contributor for WSCR (670the Score) in Chicago. The last three years he has authored the Pro Football Weekly Draft Guide.
Gabriel grew up in Amherst and is a 1974 graduate of Canisius College where he was a member of the football team. He and his wife Robin currently resides in the Chicago area.

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