Buffalo head coach Jeff Quinn fields his best team yet as the Bulls return sixteen starters, including one of the best running backs that no one has heard of (Branden Oliver). Buffalo has shown improvement in each of the last three years, and 2013 could be the season that the Bulls secure a postseason berth. As for the Bulls difficult task in Week One against the Ohio State Buckeyes, the experts at Pro Edge Sports Picks lean with Buffalo (+34.5) for several reasons, including:
- Starting quarterback Joe Licata was quite impressive last season after taking over for Alex Zordich, who suffered a rib injury versus Toledo and did not return. Licata started the final four games of the 2012 campaign wherein he threw for 1,045 yards (52.8%; 7-3 ratio; 3-1 as a starter).
- Licata will be supported in the backfield by Branden Oliver, who set school records for most carries (306), rushing yards (1,395), all-purpose yards (1,760) and 100-yard games (8) in 2011 before suffering through injuries last season. Assuming Oliver remains healthy this season, he should become the school’s all-time leading rusher (only 626 rushing yards away).
- Licata will likely throw a lot of balls to wide receiver Alex Neutz, who compiled 1,105 yards last season (15.6 yards per reception; 11 touchdowns; 1st Team MAC). With the entire receiving corp. back, I expect this unit to be one of the best in the conference. Buffalo also has an outstanding offensive line that boasts 61 career starts and returns eight of its top 10 players back from 2012.
- The strength of Buffalo’s defense is with its linebacking unit that is anchored by senior Khalil Mack, who turned down the NFL to finish his collegiate career in Buffalo. Mack led the team in tackles last season (94), and also produced 8 sacks and 13 tackles for a loss.
For technical support, college football teams with seventeen or more returning starters are 18-5-1 ATS as underdogs of 27 or more points in season openers since 1990. Buffalo is also 4-0 ATS in Game One, 4-0 ATS as underdogs of 30 or more points and 3-1 ATS versus Big Ten Conference opposition, which gives us a 11-1 ATS winning angle.
Pro Edge Sports Picks Week One Free College Football Sports Pick:
Buffalo (+34.5) (-110) over Ohio State