By Bob DiCesare
Five appearances on ESPN channels including a Friday night home game against Baylor on “the big screen” highlight the 2014 UB football schedule released today.
The Bulls will be looking for a more competitive result when they entertain Baylor on Sept. 12 at UB Stadium in a game set for broadcast on ESPN. The Bears walloped UB, 70-13, in Waco, Texas, last season en route to the Big 12 championship and the distinction of being the nation’s highest-scoring offense. A number of key players on that team are NFL-bound however quarterback and NFL prospect Bryce Petty returns.
UB also landed a trio of weekday Mid-American Conference East Division games on either ESPN2 or ESPNU. It will visit Ohio on Wed. Nov. 5 then return home to face Akron on Tues. Nov. 11 and Kent State on Wed. Nov. 19. The season concludes with the traditional Black Friday finish, this time at UMass. That will be aired on either ESPNU or ESPN 3.
The TV appearances are indicative of program perceived as on the rise. UB went 8-5 last season and played in the second bowl game in school history, a 49-24 loss to San Diego State in the Great Idaho Potato Bowl. However, there are major holes to fill with the graduation of five first-team all-MAC performers -- linebacker and MAC Defensive Player of the Year Khalil Mack, running back Branden Oliver, wideout Alex Neutz, guard Jasen Carlson and defensive back Najja Johnson.
The schedule contains a couple of oddities. As earlier reported, the Bulls will play seven home games, two of them against FCS teams, and only one of those can count toward the six-win mandate for bowl eligibility. UB opens against Duquesne on Aug. 30 and welcomes Norfolk State to UB Stadium on Sept. 20. Also, because of the season’s late start and early finish UB will experience two bye weekends within a three-week span. The Bulls are off the weekend of Oct. 18, play Central Michigan at home on Oct. 25 and then are off again the weekend of Nov. 1.
Sat. Aug. 30 vs. Duquesne
Sat. Sept. 6 at Army
Fri. Sept. 12 vs Baylor
Sat Sept. 20 vs. Norfolk State
Sat Sept. 27 vs Miami
Sat. Oct. 4 at Bowling Green
Sat. Oct. 11 at Eastern Michigan
Sat. Oct. 25 vs. Central Michigan
Wed. Nov. 5 at Ohio, 8 p.m.
Tues. Nov. 11 vs. Akron, 8 p.m.
Wed. Nov. 19 vs Kent State, 8 p.m.
Fri. Nov. 28 at UMass
All other start times are to be determined.