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UB roster negates grace period for Hurley

Fast food for thought …

Bobby Hurley wasn’t steered onto the subject often, if at all, during his tour of the national media talk shows last week. And understandably so. Whether the University at Buffalo contends for the MAC title next season is of little interest outside of Western New York and the alumni base.

But Hurley was asked about next season on the Bucky & Sully Show on Friday and his response was jarring.

“I don’t think you could set a goal that high right out of the gate,” Hurley said. “I’m going to talk to the guys about that, about competing for the championship. But the record is what the record is. It was 7-9. We got a lot of work to do and guys got to be very committed.”

Come again? So if UB retained Reggie Witherspoon it would have had MAC title aspirations with a healthy and seasoned roster but because it didn’t … grace period? I don’t think so.

The change was timed to give Hurley every chance at a successful start — and to justify the decision. There is no grace period. This shapes up as a 20-win team with Jarod Oldham back in the lineup, with Akron and Western Michigan the main obstacles to an NCAA berth.

Assuming everyone stays.


Multiple Masters winners under 50 automatically qualify as contenders in the season’s first major. Course knowledge is especially vital at Augusta National. But while Tiger Woods lurks as the favorite and Phil Mickelson can’t be dismissed, five more to like next week are: Justin Rose, Matt Kuchar, Brandt Snedeker, Ian Poulter, Rickie Fowler.

Rory McIlroy? He’s 14-over in his last five rounds at Augusta beginning with his Sunday 80 when he led in 2011.


The Kevin Kolb signing seemingly fits the bill — short term and low cost. Now here’s the thing.

If Kolb starts this season and plays very well, where does that leave the Bills heading into 2014? Aren’t they then obligated (especially to their veterans) to extend Kolb at more money, throwing the master plan out of whack?

That’s why I can’t see the Bills going QB in the first round anymore, even if Geno Smith’s available, unless they plan to start him from the get-go. The first-round QB investment’s too large for someone who — if Kolb delivers — could spend multiple years as a backup.

If the Bills are going QB in Round One it would have made more sense to swallow the money and retain Ryan Fitzpatrick. No matter how well Fitz played this season his acknowledged shortcomings would have made for a justifiable change at QB in 2014.


My postseason All-Big 4 team ballot will read: UB’s Javon McCrea, Niagara’s Juan’ya Green and Antoine Mason, Canisius’ Billy Baron and Bona’s Demitrius Conger.

There’s deep disappointment in the McCrea camp over his failure to land the MAC Player of the Year Award. He didn’t help his cause by turning it over seven times in the regular season-ending loss at Bowling Green that cost the Bulls a .500 conference finish. There hasn’t been a MAC POY off a team sub-.500 in conference in at least a decade. That said, Ohio’s D.J. Cooper still would have won because there’s a bias toward seniors and his career numbers astound.


Interesting to see UB wideout Fred Lee’s tweet about having Easter dinner with Joe Licata and family. Lee, a rising senior, is a top candidate to be a threat opposite Alex Neutz. Licata is 90 percent likely to retain the QB job and efforts to deepen relationships with his receivers can only benefit the Bulls.