Buffalo's love for its hometown sports should be ranked near the best in the country. Unfortunately, there hasn't been much to love on the Buffalo gridiron–almost ever. Buffalo, New York ranks 92 in our Top 100 College Football Towns in America countdown.
To celebrate 100 days until the start of the college football season, HERO Sports is counting down the Top 100 FBS College Football Towns in America. Each day, starting May 17 and ending Aug. 24, a new city will be revealed. We will analyze the city, the program, the good and bad of the city as well as the bottom line. If you got a problem, @me on Twitter.
92. Buffalo, New York – Buffalo
[credit] There is cause for optimism at Buffalo in 2018. (Photo: University of Buffalo Athletics)[/credit]
In 1970, the University of Buffalo student body decided they no longer wanted football. Yes, you read that correctly. At that time, the university's student body decided where funding for the university would go, and they decided they were done with football. Seven years later, the program restarted in Division III. Slowly but surely the Bulls have worked their way back to the FBS. The wins, however, have not followed. Since its return to FBS, Buffalo has more one-win seasons than winning seasons.
Things seem to be headed in the right direction now. Head coach Lance Leipold was the Nick Saban of Division III football. His teams went 109-6 at UW-Whitewater with six national titles in eight years. Last year the team went 6-6 and improvement is expected in 2018.
Buffalo seems to be stuck in a transformational era where half the city is still trying to recover from economic globalization that crippled strong midwestern cities from the 50s and 60s. The other half has adapted and with it, a newfound strength in tech. Abandoned red-bricked buildings with painted advertisements from the 50s lay dormant as businesses along the waterfront thrive.
As for food, the home of the buffalo wings has never strayed too far from its history and tradition. Moving away from downtown, however, and the economic resurgence that has created a boon for the area disappears and the surrounding parts of the University of Buffalo show no signs of the new money flowing into the city.
There is probably no city in America where civic pride is intertwined with the city's teams more than in Buffalo. Walking the streets in the fall when football is good, is to walk in a Utopia. Just a short drive north is Niagra Falls, a glorious sight during the warmer months.
When football is bad, however, the grayness of fall and the freezing, bitter wind blowing off Lake Erie will enter your soul and leave you with nothing. Want to go to a Bills game while in town, prepare to drive. Want to spend time around the campus, prepare to leave before it gets dark.
Buffalo's appeal is directly connected to how well fall and winter sports perform. Enter the city when times are good, and you may have the best time of your life. Enter when it's bad and you may find yourself asking one of life's unanswerable questions, "How many buffalo wings is too much?"