1. Khalil Mack is legit. The senior linebacker eschewed a third-to-fourth-round selection in April's NFL draft for one final go-round with the Bulls. The NCAA career records for forced fumbles and tackles for loss are within his reach. Mack didn't play his junior year of high school and received just one offer -- from Division I-AA Liberty. He ended up in Buffalo when Liberty assistant Robert Winberly left to join Turner Gill's staff in Buffalo and sold Gill on Mack's talents. He's been a force since stepping on the field as a redshirt freshman and his versatility -- he could play any LB spot in the NFL -- has him now projected as a first-rounder this coming April.
2. New York in general and Buffalo in particular aren't considered particularly ferfile recruiting grounds. That's interesting, because former UB running back James Starks won a Super Bowl ring with the Green Bay Packers, former WR Naaman Roosevelt bounced around the NFL and DE Steven Means was a Tampa Bay Bucs draft pick last April. All are from Western New York, which doesn't rival Ohio but isn't exactly Siberia either.
3. Bo Oliver broke the school single-season rushing record set by Starks during his sophomore season then missed five games last year because of a knee sprain. Like Mack, he's a Florida kid and, again like Mack, a workout fiend. The two run weighted sleds up a hill on campus, often arising at the crack of dawn. If he's healthy, Oliver's a shoo-in to break Starks' career rushing mark this season. His size might hurt him in the NFL draft but at the least he should be in a pro camp next season as a undrafted free agent.
4. This is the 100th season of UB football but, to be honest, there's little in the way of tradition at the school. Why is that? Buffalo was Division I when it was a private institution but dropped down to Division III upon becoming part of the State University of New York System. SUNY trustees weren't big fans of Division I athletics, and their lack of vision put Buffalo and the other SUNY schools way behind the 8-ball. UB's spent the last 13 years playing catch-up, but there's still a long way to go. The university aspires to big things down the road and has a hole card -- it's the only AAU research institution playing outside one of the BCS conferences.
5. UB head coach Jeff Quinn enters his fourth season with a contract extension in hand, a rarity for a coach who won just nine games his first three seasons. He was set to join Brian Kelly's staff at Notre Dame until the Buffalo offer came along when Turner Gill left for Kansas. Quinn coached Cincinnati in the Sugar Bowl following Kelly's departure, losing resoundingly to a Florida team coached by some guy named Urban Meyer. Quinn's signed through 2017 although the general feeling is he better be bowl-eligible this season if he wants to get anywhere close to the end of that pact.