Thursday night’s matchup against the Minnesota Golden Gophers marks the opening of the 105th season of Buffalo Bulls football, but it it will be a tall order for the Bulls to celebrate with a victory. On the road, halfway across the country, against a Big Ten opponent isn’t the easy layup that some of the Bulls’ conference brethren is launching into 2017 with. By almost any measure, 2016 was a disappointment for the Bulls, who are picked to finish fifth in the MAC East this season. A win against a marquee opponent would do wonders for Lance Leipold. After a 2-10 season in 2016, his Bulls’ head coach record of 7-17 is a far cry from his 109-6 Wisconsin-Whitewater mark. It’s early for hot seat chatter for the 2017 season, but Leipold needs to be concerned without a significant boost of program performance.
For Minnesota, it’s the opening of the Fleck-era, and what an opening of the new regime it’s been. From ESPN specials chronicling the Gophers to PJ Fleck being the belle of the B1G ball so far as a young up and comer enamoring himself to a whole new batch of media, the offseason seems to be more continuation of success than outright rebuild. Fleck is familiar with Buffalo and I have to believe this being his first game against his former conference in addition to his coming out party in the Twin Cities, it has to mean quite a bit.
Your pertinent information:
Kickoff time: 7:00PM
Television: Big Ten Network
Stream: BTN mobile app or via BTN website, pending cable provider
Radio: Buffalo radio network, 1520AM in Buffalo
Weather: Sunny, 69 degrees (nice!)
Line: Minnesota -26