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Schedule and Odds
Connecticut continues to be just one game short of a bowl game for one solid reason. Nothing about this team stands out. They don't have a great offense or a great defense which are two things that when combined, tend to lead to disappointment. Their defense may have allowed fewer than 20 points per game in 2012, but a lot of that has to do with the conference. The Huskies managed to win at Louisville at the end of last year in three overtimes, but ended up losing to Cincinnati (giving up 34 points) in the season finale when a win would have given them a bowl date. If they can put the pieces together every week, that's another story.
UConn brought in new offensive coordinator T.J. Weist to bring to life an offense that scored just 17.8 points per game last year. In reality, the pieces are there to succeed. Chandler Whitmer has a full season under his belt (although a very poor one with nine TDs and 16 INTs) and improvement will be expected. Receivers Geremy Davis and Shakim Phillips are also back who were the top two in receptions last year for the Huskies. Lyle McCombs is one of the top returning running backs in the conference after he went for 860 yards and six TDs last year while battling injuries. Of course, his 3.5 yards per carry will need to improve. The line returns four starting seniors which gives Weist at least one positive to work with.
The Huskies had a good defense last year, but again they were inconsistent. Now, they lost three players to the NFL Draft and only return five starters. They have starters returning at each level which is a good start. Tackle Shamar Stephen and linebacker Yawin Smallwood will need to lead the unit because if they drop off at all, those six wins look even more unlikely. Incoming transfers from Florida and Maryland should be able to help at linebacker.
2013 UCONN Football Schedule
Aug. 29 vs. Towson
Sept. 14 vs. Maryland
Sept. 21 vs. Michigan
Sept. 28 at Buffalo
Oct. 12 vs. South Florida
Oct. 19 at Cincinnati
Oct. 26 at UCF
Nov. 8 vs. Louisville
Nov. 16 at SMU
Nov. 23 at Temple
Nov. 30 vs. Rutgers
Dec. 7 vs. Memphis
After the Huskies lost to NC State and Western Michigan last season, there's no telling what they'll do in non-conference play this year. Even though they start with three home games, two of them will be against Maryland and Michigan. Winning at Buffalo won't be easy either, as they only managed a seven-point win against them last year at home.
If Connecticut wants to make it to a bowl game, they'll need to show up on their home field. Home losses against NC State, Temple and Cincy showed that their advantage is minimal. Games against Louisville and Rutgers stand out on their home schedule this year.
UConn's road doesn't look all that nice either at Cincy, Temple and two viable newcomers in UCF and SMU. At least the Huskies finish out the season at home against Memphis so if they still need that sixth win, it'll be there for the taking.
If Weist can jumpstart this offense to score some points, Connecticut has a good chance of reaching six wins. Still, that seems like a longshot if they continue to be inconsistent as a team.
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