Buffalo State enters 2014 at number 10 in our rankings. Check out our Top 25 Season Preview for more on the top college teams to watch this fall. Can’t find your team in the Top 25? View our full rankings to see where every team stands.
Last Season: 5-5 (3-4) Empire 8
2013 was a very streaky season for the Bengals. After a pair of wins over Cortland and Brockport in the first two weekends of September, Buffalo State got right into the meat of their schedule with a home game against Wisconsin-Whitewater. The 55-14 loss was the start of a four-game losing streak, followed by a three game winning streak, and finally, a loss to St. John Fisher. Very up and down.
Passing offense and rushing defense were strengths for Buffalo State, with the senior leadership of Casey Kacz at quarterback. He threw for 18 touchdowns, third most in the conference, and also ran for nine, which ranked fifth. Prolific.
– Mike Feirabend OL – Second team All-Conference
– Casey Kacz QB – Second team All-Conference, 189/305 (62%), 2,381 yards, 18 TDs, 11 INTs, 88 carries, 333 yards, 9 TDs
-Brian Greene DE – Second team All-Conference, 41 tackles, 9.5 TFL, 5 sacks, 1 FF
– Chris Hall DB – Second team All-Conference, 47 tackles, 1 TFL, 4 INTs, 1 BK
What to Watch For
New Man Under Center – The Bengals will field an extremely experienced team on both sides of the ball this season. All four of their first team All-Conference performers from last year will be back, but second team All-Conference quarterback Casey Kacz won’t. Whoever ends up replacing Kacz won’t have any experience under center for the Bengals, but he will have Mike Doherty to throw to and Rich Pete to take the pressure off – a good setup for an inexperienced signal-caller.
If you’re a Buffalo State fan who came straight here without scanning the rest of our top ten, you’re probably a mixture of surprised, vindicated, and excited. If you saw the rest of the top ten, you know we’ve got St. John Fisher, Salisbury, Alfred, and Ithaca ranked ahead of the Bengals and you’re probably a mixture of happy (that the Empire 8 is getting so much respect), and annoyed (that we don’t think Buffalo State is in the better half of teams in their conference). If you’re in the second group, don’t worry – this almost certainly won’t be the order the teams finish.
Our rankings are based on conference strength and historical performance. You’ll agree that relative to other conferences, the Empire 8 is just where it should be – with over half of it’s teams in the D3 top ten. You probably think the Bengals deserve a little more respect though, especially since they’re so young, talented, and lost fewer starters than any team ranked above them – and you’re right.
Buffalo State will absolutely challenge for the Empire 8 title this season. They had 12 players named to either the first, second, or honorable mention All-Conference teams – four on each. Eight of those 12 will be back, including all four first-teamers. Three of last season’s honorable mentions (offensive lineman Brandon Lathrop, defensive lineman Anthony Sanders, and linebacker Shaq Frederick) will only be juniors. Expect the Bengals to compete with the top-dogs of the Empire 8 for a conference title and a shot in the tournament.