BUFFALO, N.Y. — The University at Buffalo is heading to
the Famous Idaho Potato Bowl on Dec. 21, giving the university an
opportunity to introduce a national audience to the
institution’s athletic, academic and research strengths.
The game will be broadcast on ESPN and ESPN Radio.
The Bulls got their invitation after an 8-4 season whose
highlights included a seven-game win streak and the country’s
No. 10 red-zone defense and fourth best turnover margin.
But the Dec. 21 match-up against San Diego State isn’t
only about football for UB, President Satish K. Tripathi said in a
message to the university community Monday morning.
The Famous Idaho Potato Bowl “provides UB with another
national stage on which to showcase our academic, research and
athletic excellence,” Tripathi said.
It’s an opportunity for the university to connect with
alumni across the country and make them proud. In addition, the
game could be a boost for student recruitment, with the ESPN
broadcast exposing huge numbers of football fans to the UB
And while bowl invitations aren’t a silver bullet for
increased enrollment and alumni giving, “schools can benefit
from their enhanced visibility and name recognition, particularly
if they peg the free publicity to their academics,” according
to an article on “the Cinderella Effect” published by
the Council for Advancement and Support of Education
A. Scott Weber, UB senior vice provost for academic affairs,
said UB’s appearance in the bowl may help build on UB’s
record fall enrollment, which saw the university enroll 29,940
students, including about 5,200 international students and 3,700
“The Famous Idaho Potato Bowl is a terrific platform to
highlight UB’s excellent academic programs to prospective
students,” Weber said.
To leverage and build on the excitement, UB is sharing the good
news with 230,000 alumni worldwide through social media and
personal outreach. UB will be hosting “viewing parties”
in Buffalo, New York, Philadelphia, Baltimore, Los Angeles,
Washington, D.C., and other cities with strong alumni
The university also is hoping for a strong turnout of alumni
— as well as faculty, staff, students and fans – at the
game in Boise. More than 5,400 UB alumni live in the eight U.S.
states of the Mountain West region, and there are 1,122 alumni
residing in San Diego, the home city of the UB Bulls’
“Going to a bowl game is such an exciting notion all on
its own, but it’s also a tremendous rallying point for our
alumni,” said Nancy Wells, UB vice president for development
and alumni relations. “They love this university, and we
couldn’t be happier to provide a reason for them to gather in
support of UB. This national spotlight on their alma mater gives
alumni another reason to share their UB pride.”
As they did when President Barack Obama visited UB in August,
university officials will be highlighting a few key institutional
messages before, during and after the bowl game that they believe
will resonate with a national audience and showcase the strengths
of a major research university.
Among these key messages:
- UB is a school on the move, with an exciting vision to advance
to the highest tier of the nation’s leading public research
- UB is New York’s flagship public university, the largest
and most comprehensive school in the SUNY system.
- UB is solving problems and improving lives through innovative
faculty research addressing local and global challenges.
- UB attracts very bright and talented students from around the
- UB students receive an outstanding and affordable education and
graduate with low debt.
- UB athletics is bringing big-time college sports to Western New
York and New York State.
“This bowl invitation is monumental for our athletic
program and is a great way to close out a record-breaking season
for our football team,” said Danny White, UB vice president
and director of athletics. “We could not be more proud
of our student-athletes and look forward to seeing them compete on
ESPN’s flagship channel in more than 100 million households
across the country. Our goal is to be in this position every year
as we work to build ‘America’s next big-time college
This is the second time in university history that the UB Bulls
football team will appear in a bowl game. Buffalo battled UConn in
the 2009 International Bowl, and was invited to the 1958 Tangerine
Bowl, but declined that invitation after being told that its
African-American players would not be allowed to play.
“As we advance our prominence as one of the nation’s
great research universities, our success in building a nationally
competitive Division I athletic program is a significant element in
our broader vision of institutional excellence,” Tripathi