Riordan went and got all pensive about Buffalo football last night. Essentially he's wondering if UB can gather football interest in a down where there's also
a professional football team the Buffalo Bills. It's such an odd branding overlap: Buffalo Bills, Buffalo Bulls. (I'm wondering if there's a local debutante society called the Buffalo Belles.)
My take: yes, it can. The Bills seem to be a little bit of a red herring, and case in point: Temple. Heck, there's so much overlap, they PLAY in the Eagles' own stadium, fer Chrissakes. But a better comparison is the two other sizable metros in the conference: Toledo and Akron/Canton. UT has no local competition but the area does care first about Detroit and Cleveland sports. Same with Akron/Canton and Cleveland. In order, the questions are what happened in the pros, then Ohio State, and finally what about the local colleges?
All the other schools have a decisive advantage in their own scopes. Ball State, Central Michigan, OHIO ... they're the only games in town. So for Buffalo, the trick is simple: don't follow up a MAC championship with another losing season. Riordan suggests that "a CMU-like run" could revive interest in the program, but it doesn't even have to go that far. Here's a number for you: in 12 MAC seasons, exactly one quarter of Buffalo's victories (8) happened in 2008. Stringing together a few winning seasons is all that's really necessary to avoid constantly getting picked sixth in the MAC East. (Out of seven teams.)