December 30, 2008

International Bowl -- Buffalo (8-5) vs. Connecticut (7-5) (Toronto Rogers Centre Toronto, Ontario January 3, 2009 12pm ESPN2)

Tie Ins: Big East #4-5 vs. MAC #3

Dan: UConn -4.5

I don’t care if Mike Brey’s son plays for Buffalo. You can be damn sure I’ll be watching Big East Hoops (Pitt v. Georgetown, ND v. St. Johns) or NFL playoff action on this early Saturday in January. Also, I watched Buffalo against Ball State. They are not very good.

UConn 24 Buffalo 17

Matt: Buffalo +4.5

I really can’t believe that Turner Gill didn’t get a job this year. The guy can obviously coach – he got freaking Buffalo to a bowl game. The same Buffalo that routinely went 0-11. You’re telling me that Dabo Swinney or Gene Chizik are better head coaches? I don’t buy it.

But on the flip side, I can also see big time programs being a little leery of hiring him (and it has NOTHING to do with his or his wife’s race). There is a huge difference between the Buffalo Bulls and War Eagle. Urban Meyer dominated at Bowling Green, took another step up to Utah and dominated, then went to Florida. It’s hard to jump from a MAC school to the SEC. I kind of like what Brady Hoke from Ball State did. He accomplished everything possible at Ball State. Take a step up and turn around San Diego State, which should be possible in a few years, and then he will have every big time program convinced he is can’t miss.

As for the game, the key for Buffalo will be slowing down Donald Brown, who averaged about 150 yards a game. I’m not going to pretend to know anything about Buffalo football, but I think UConn pulls out a close one.

UConn 24 Buffalo 21

Mike: Buffalo +4.5

It has been repeated ad nauseam, but how did Syracuse miss the boat on Turner Gill? Actually, this bowl features two coaches that would thrive in the Dome, given that Randy Edsall is a fine coach and a Syracuse alumnus. As for the game, I think that the Bulls are more equipped to put points on the board. Connecticut's Donald Brown is a great running back, but the Huskies' quarterback play is just atrocious. I have honestly been unable to watch a full UConn game because their passing game hurts my stomach.

Buffalo 29 Connecticut 24

Doug: Buffalo +4.5

Throw out the records when these two get together! I'm sure the locals in Canada are fired up about this Buffalo-Connecticut tilt.

I really don't know where to lean on this game, but I'll give the edge to Buffalo since they are probably more psyched to be in this game than UConn is. UConn basically has MAC talent at the moment, so there's not a real big talent difference between the programs if there is one at all.

I'll take the Buffalo Bulls to cover the points and pull out the win. Great year for them. I think Turner Gill better get ready to move on though if he wants to get a big-time job. He had a lot of seniors on his team this year. Winning in the MAC can be a crapshoot to some degree, especially when you are a program like Buffalo that probably has among the worst talent in the league.

Buffalo 21 UConn 17

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