Took the holiday off of the blog and of course UConn cruises to a win over the biggest football rival the school has in Rutgers 40-22. One of the only all around great games the Huskies have played all year and in a critical time. In a much more measured attach offensively which reigned in Johnny McEntee from the throwing fiesta he had the week before Pasqualoni dropped passing plays from over forty to sixteen while allowing Scott McCummings to run wild on the Scarlet Knights (something fans have been calling for for a long time I might add). The real hero of this game was Nick Williams however, who had over 150 return yards to continuously give UConn great field position. As I've stated in earlier posts as well as my podcasts Nick Williams is the most consistent scoring weapon for the Huskies and he returns kicks. The defense played well in this game as well creating six turnovers and holding Rutgers to a net rushing yardage of negative nine. While at the end of the game the Scarlet Knights racked up some serious passing yards on the second and third stringers including two late touchdowns the game was extremely one sided from early on in the affair. The defense now ranks second nationally in rush yards allowed this season, third in rush yards a game, tenth in interceptions, and twelve with 28 total forced turnovers. So in four of the most important defensive statistical categories the Huskies rank in the top twenty, now if only their offense didn't rank in the bottom twenty for several categories of their own. The problem is that this has been the same problem facing UConn for many years now, a stout defense and a great rushing attack can only compensate so much for how terrible the passing attack is and has been. Fortunately for the Huskies Cincinnati is not known for their defense either
This weekend's game against Cincinnati determines whether or not UConn will even be eligible to travel to a bowl game this year. Without their star quarterback the Bearcats have struggled to find an identity behind a more run first quarterback without the pure passing skill that Zach Collaros had before his season ending injury. I look forward to this game to see if Pasqualoni can use the exact same game plan he used to beat Rutgers or if he innately goes back to a ridiculous number of pass attempts and an unreasonable reliance on a quarterback who has shone flashes of mediocrity on his best days. In my last post I called for Pasqualoni's job and I stand by that because I think for UConn to ever be relevant in the national collegiate football world we need someone who can push these kids to do way better than 6-6 assuming he can get them there. I do think he learned his lesson from the humiliating loss to Louisville and has permanently implemented the run first basis that has been the UConn way for the past five years. My prediction is that the Huskies pull off another huge win and end Cincinnati's chances for a BCS game while earning a spot in a bowl game of their own 27-23.
The Big East will once again have multiple teams claiming a "share" of the title and only a convoluted tiebreaker stands between West Virginia and the BCS should the Huskies lose, as it stands Louisville will earn a BCS bid if Cincinnati loses to UConn with a 5-2 conference record however West Virginia has the same conference record and Cincinnati will if they win. This tie at the top can't be decided by head to head because each has lost to one of the other so the deciding factor is BCS ranking, and since West Virginia is the only Big East team with a BCS ranking they would get the nod. Now in this situation the best thing for the conference as a whole is for the Mountaineers to represent the Big East in the BCS, they are the most talented and the only team that could potentially pull an upset. As a UConn fan however there is absolutely nothing more I want out of this weekend than to win and earn the way into a bowl, especially considering that I don't want UWV's last year in the conference to be one in which they won it. Also I just like the chaos that is the Big East's BCS appearances in the last few years, and that the Mountaineers are always involved but are usually on the outside looking in despite the fact that every year they are tagged "the most talented in the conference" just like USF is always the "fastest." Here's the one thing I can about the Big East race that I do enjoy, while no one emerges as a national title contender it always is just about the only conference that is still undecided at this point in the year and the anticipation around the league for these games is great and creates a fun atmosphere for fans.