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UCONN Football Preview Predictions and Schedule 2011
Being located in Connecticut, we've had a front row seat to watch the rise of the UCONN football program from a Division 1-AA team that used to lose regularly to fellow Connecticut resident Yale, to a team that played Oklahoma in the Fiesta Bowl. Along the way there were 4 other bowl games which in fact they were 4-0 in, beating the likes of South Carolina in 2009.
It's been a blast to watch. UCONN is no longer just a basketball school and you have to credit the guys who made it possible. Skip Holtz got things started in the right direction coaching the team from 1994-1998 before passing the torch to Randy Edsall as the team transitioned into Division 1-A. UCONN fans aren't thrilled with the way Randy Edsall left town in the middle of the night for greener pastures in Maryland, but the man was no doubt responsible for the programs success.
In our humble opinion, Edsall is one of the best out there. It will be interesting to see how he does at Maryland. He put his stamp on the UCONN program and made the best of the talent he had. UCONN teams had some talent, but not the best talent. They won games and had success over the years because they didn't beat themselves. They didn't turn the ball over and make costly mistakes. They played sound, fundamental football which was a direct result of their head coach for 11 years, Randy Edsall.
When Edsall left, UCONN scrambled to fill his shoes and decided on former Syracuse head coach and Connecticut native Paul Pasqualoni. Pasqualoni compiled a fantastic 107-59 record at Syracuse which included 4 Big East titles and also did time in the NFL with the Dolphins as Defensive coordinator and with the Cowboys. There's no questioning Pasqualoni's ability as a college football coach. The question that needs to be answered is, is this just a temporary fill in position? The last stop on the coaching carousel for 62 year old Pasqualoni? Or is he here for a lengthy stint?
With guys like Paterno still kicking, and Bobby Bowden coaching past his 80th birthday, I suppose it's possible to think Pasqualoni could be here for the next decade to continue to build this UCONN program, but that seems highly unlikely. For that reason, we think the hire was a mistake. A program like UCONN needs some stability at head coach. The players they go out and recruit need to know that the guy who recruited them is going to be there with them the whole way. What's needed is a young up and comer like Edsall was.
That being said, UCONN should be competitive. They return 10 starters on defense, and Pasqualoni is a defensive guy. There are big question marks on offense where they only return 6 and will have to fill holes at QB and Running Back. Not encouraging for an offense that ranked 110th in the nation in the passing game and 96th in total offense.
The first half of the UCONN schedule is favorable. Well, the 1st 4 games as they'll play Fordham, Vandy, Iowa State and Buffalo. You can't pencil in any wins there (ok, pencil in Forham), but all 4 are winnable games. They then play Western Michigan and then begin their Big East schedule, of which there are no easy games. They play at West Virginia, Pitt and Cinci and host South Florida, Syracuse, Louisville and Rutgers.
UCONN's bowl hopes ride on their first 4 games. How they do there, will determine whether or not this team plays in any bowl at all or whether they finish with less then 6 win and go home early. We'll call for a 6 win season which may very well come down to the final game at Cincinnati to decide whether they go bowling. Anything more than 6 wins would be playing with house money.
From a betting standpoint, they beat West Virginia in OT last season, 16-13 and play at West Virginia October 8th. You know what they say about payback. It rhymes with witch. But UCONN will get their own chance for revenge this year as they host Louisville and Rutgers, both of whom beat them a year ago. Also look for some extra emphasis to be placed on the home game against Syracuse on November 5th, a game Pasqualoni would surely love to have.
2011 UCONN Football Schedule
9-1-11 FORDHAM (Thur.)
9-10-11 at Vanderbilt
9-16-11 IOWA STATE (Thur.)
9-24-11 at Buffalo
10-1-11 WESTERN MICHIGAN
10-8-11 at West Virginia
10-15-11 SOUTH FLORIDA
10-26-11 at Pittsburgh (Wed.)
12-3-11 at Cincinnati
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