Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Reasonable Expectations for UConn Football

There has been a lot of talk heading into this season of UConn football about how the Big East champions will have a BCS hangover like many other teams in the past, but most of this talk is centered around the lack of an established quarterback and the introduction of a new head coach. While it is a little hurtful as a UConn fan that Randy Edsall would use a BCS team as a stepping stone to a Maryland job where he will not be able to compete for an ACC title for at least a couple years based on the talent level of teams around him like Virginia Tech and Florida State, the likelihood of a drop off in the ability of this UConn team to compete because of the coaching change is very slim to me because of the similar styles that the coaches have. Pasqualoni is a good coach who has had a long off season to work with the team and establish his system as he was named rather early in the process. While the situation at quarterback is a little unsettling as a fan, it helps to remember that as a team last year UConn's offense produced more yards on the ground offensively than they did through the passing game. Anyone the team puts under center will probably be better suited to the position than Zach Frazier was last year, UConn ranked 110th last year in passing yards per game with 10 touchdowns to 9 interceptions. To be frank it was not pretty to watch. And while the receiving corps is a concern with this team as it was last year, 2 of the interceptions in the BCS game were a direct result of dropped passes that fell into the hands of the Oklahoma defense, I think that with the coaching staff acknowledging the situation early in practice has helped a lot. There is also the defense which ranked 35th in points allowed last year and returns most of the stars of the BCS teams with a couple holes to fill at linebacker and cornerback. This team has the potential, with a couple players stepping in and making a difference at quarterback and in key positions on defense, to compete for another Big East championship. Considering the fact that with solid to mediocre quarterback play the first five games on the schedule should all be wins with Fordham, Vanderbilt, Iowa State, Buffalo, and Western Michigan respectively before even starting to play in conference. So what are reasonable expectations for this Huskies team? I think seven wins and a fifth straight bowl appearance is a safe bet, but I have higher expectations than most because although I wasn't thrilled with the coaching choice I do respect his record and ability to develop talent. I'm going to predict the best finish (record wise) in UConn football history at 10-3 with a bowl win to cap off another season where they further establish themselves as one of the Big East's best. I predict the home record for the Huskies continues to be impeccable as well with a record of 6-1 at home losing only to the eventual Big East champs, South Florida.

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