DETROIT - The University at Buffalo got a little more respect than might have been expected in the Mid-American Conference preseason football poll Thursday.
The Bulls were picked fourth out of six in the MAC’s East Division in a poll of media members who cover the league.
UB finished 5-7 last season, fourth in the MAC East. The Bulls graduated career passing leader Joe Licata and return the youngest roster in the MAC.
UB has high hopes for “quarterback of the future” Tyree Jackson, a 6-foot-5 Michigan product. He will battle senior transfer Grant Roach for the starting job.
The opportunity for a better-than-expected finish exists for UB. The MAC East clearly is the weaker of the two divisions. Four of the MAC’s best five teams are in the West.
Western Michigan, coming off an 8-5 season and a bowl victory, was picked to win the MAC West and claim the overall title. The Broncos have had the top-rated recruiting class in the MAC the past three years.
Bowling Green, three-time defending MAC East champ and the defending overall MAC champ, was picked for first in the MAC East.
The preseason poll ranking, with first-place votes and total votes:
MAC EAST: 1. Bowling Green (12) 136. 2. Ohio (10) 134. 3. Akron (4) 107. 4. Buffalo 75. 5. Miami 52. 6. Kent State 42.
MAC WEST: 1. Western Michigan (19) 144. 2. Toledo (2) 113. 3. Northern Illinois (3) 112. 4. Central Michigan (2) 98. 5. Ball State 44. 6. Eastern Michigan 35.