Ed note: our good friend Phil Friend is unable to post this from his current location, which is presumably outer space, so he siphoned me his game preview for this 2008 MAC Championship rematch and I'm posting it as his proxy. I personally hate neither team but in all honesty who ever heard of a blue-colored bull?
I hate Buffalo with every drip of blood in my body.
Just thinking about the 2008 Mid-American Conference championship game makes me want to throw up. 12-0 undefeated record - kaput. Dream season - gone. Outside chance of BCS game - evaporated into the night. If the loss had been to an established MAC team like Toledo or Miami, it may have been a bit more palatable. But this is Buffalo we're talking about - a program that has been downright terrible in football - and the Bulls win a conference title in the newish two-division alignment before Ball State. And not just before Ball State in general, a Ball State team that was one of the best teams in conference history and had already slayed its biggest dragon in the Fighting Dan LeFevours.
I cannot think about Buffalo without thinking of that disastrous Friday night in Detroit, and that includes all sports - and may even include mention of the NFL Bills or a Buffalo Wild Wings restaurant. If that game is played 100 times, Buffalo wins that game...once, maybe twice? If MiQuale Lewis' TD run is called properly by the officials, we're not even talking about this and Ball State cruises into the postseason 13-0, and maybe Brady Hoke doesn't leave (that's a lie - he's probably gone regardless).
In case you haven't noticed, I still can't rationally think about Buffalo, not even three years later when only a few players on this team - namely Briggs Orsbon and Sean Baker - were prominently involved. And to top it all off, this win got Turner Gill the job at Kansas. You're welcome.
But a lot has changed since then. Both teams have dropped to middle-to-bottom of the pack in conference play. And what happened in 2008, when it pertains to this game, has very little, if any, significance, expect when a writer needs a hook for a game preview story.
After an impressive win against Indiana, Ball State got their butts handed to them by a pretty, pretty, pretty good South Florida team, 37-7. There isn't a whole lot to take away when it pertains to the Cardinals in terms of proper evaluation. The running attack is still a mess, as true frosh Jahwan Edwards led the team in rushing with 42 yards and scored his first career touchdown while starter Sir Barrington Scott only had 23. Keith Wenning only threw for 148 yards, but he didn't throw any picks. Glass half-empty!
The IU win was promising, the USF loss was not. If Saturday's performance is similar to the one against IU or, hopefully, better, the Cards should start conference play on a winning note.