Friday, October 27, 2006

Remembering UNH football and this week's picks



An added thought to continue my last post about flipping through the Rutgers media guide. Darren Rizzi is the Scarlet Knights assistant head coach and linebackers coach. I first remember Rizzi when he was a tight end at Rhode Island. A saw a lot of Yankee Conference football in the early 90s because three of my good friends from high school played in the league (one at URI, one at BU, one at UConn). Rizzi was easily the best tight end in the league. He dominated. Later, I got to talk to Rizzi a bit when he was an assistant and later head coach for three years at the University of New Haven.

It all made me think back to the "old" days of New Haven football, an elite Division II program from the mid-80s to the late 90s. I can't believe it's been three years since the school decided it was too expensive and dropped football altogether.

Not long ago, UNH football was one of the best-kept secrets in Connecticut. For a span of about 15 years, the Chargers were probably the best college football team in New England save for Boston College. When I was in high school here in the New Haven area, everyone went to Yale games for the tailgaiting. But to see exciting football in a scaled-down setting, it was over to UNH. Even in college in the early-to-mid 90s, we made a point of getting over to see UNH play. Especially come playoff time. The school cranked out great team after great team, had a bunch of All-Americans and future NFL players (Harry Boatswain, Roger Graham), and routinely beat Division I-AA teams (including a 14-13 win over UConn in the only meeting between the schools in 1992). It was also a breeding ground for future NFL coaches: Chris Palmer, Mark Whipple, Tony Sparano to name a few.


Mark Whipple won the Super Bowl as quarterbacks coach of the Pittsburgh Steelers in February

Rizzi was the defensive coordinator when the Chargers reached the Division II national championship game in 1997, losing to a Northern Colorado team led by current Steelers defensive end Aaron Smith. He later took over as head coach from 99-01, and posted a few big victories against Division I-AA teams like Villanova, ranked 12th in the country at the time. But around that time the school decided it couldn't afford the football expenses anymore. In order to compete on the national level, New Haven had to remain independent and jetted around the country for games because the best Division II teams are in places like Michigan, North Dakota, and Washington. So the program was axed altogether, we lost something really special here in New Haven, and I miss it a lot.

On to this weeks picks. I went 6-5 this week to creep over .500 for the season at 39-38-5. Three others also went 6-5 to tie for the best of the week.

Game 1: Syracuse (+6.5) over CINCINNATI: Two teams who are greatly improved from last season. Bearcats will win, but won't cover the spread.

Game 2: UConn (+19.5) over RUTGERS: The Huskies have been able to contain opposing tailbacks, even elite ones like Steve Slaton last week. That alone will keep UConn within 20 points.

Only two Big East games this week. A sampling of the rest...

Game 3: Oklahoma (+1.5) over MISSOURI

Game 4: GEORGIA TECH (-5.5) over Miami-Fla.

Game 5: USC (-11.5) over OREGON STATE

Game 6: FLORIDA (-14) over Georgia

Game 7: MARYLAND (-4) over Florida State

Game 8: Tennesee (-3.5) over SOUTH CAROLINA

Game 9: Notre Dame (-13.5) over NAVY

Game 10: Central Conn. State (+6.5) over MONMOUTH

Get your picks in...enter by clicking the "comments" tab below.

6 Comments:

Blogger Chip Malafronte said...

Chip's picks

Game 1: Syracuse (+6.5) over CINCINNATI
Game 2: UConn (+19.5) over RUTGERS
Game 3: Oklahoma (+1.5) over MISSOURI
Game 4: GEORGIA TECH (-5.5) over Miami-Fla.
Game 5: USC (-11.5) over OREGON STATE
Game 6: FLORIDA (-14) over Georgia
Game 7: MARYLAND (-4) over Florida State
Game 8: Tennesee (-3.5) over SOUTH CAROLINA
Game 9: Notre Dame (-13.5) over NAVY
Game 10: Central Conn. State (+6.5) over MONMOUTH

October 27, 2006 12:01 PM 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

1. Cincinatti
2. Rutgers
3. Mizzou
4. Ga Tech
5. USC
6. Georgia
7. Fla. State
8. Tenn
9. ND
10. Monmouth
-- Manny

October 27, 2006 12:43 PM 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Three things I remember - Cazzie Kosciolek, Northern Colorado fake punts, and didn't the running back get a serious look from the Cowboys?

-Kgun7

October 27, 2006 1:13 PM 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

If Cincy can field a full squad unlike their basketball program then I pick Cincy.

Ray Rice 53 UConn 6
Oklahoma
Miami
USC
Georgia
Florida State
Tennessee
Navy
How in the world am I supposed to pick CCSU against Monmouth. I'll pick CCSU so long as the players don't go to Elmer's the night before.

The King

October 27, 2006 1:55 PM 
Blogger Vinny From East Haven said...

Vin's picks:

Syacuse
Rutgers
Oklahoma
Miami -FL
USC
Florida St
Tennessee
ND
CCSU

October 27, 2006 11:59 PM 
Blogger beisbolct said...

syracuse
rutgers
oklahoma
miami
USC
georgia
maryland
South Carolina
Notre Dame
CCSU

To the second anon, I don't think Elmer's is there anymore. But I remember the days where everyone at CCSU was there

October 28, 2006 11:17 AM 

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