Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Vote Quimby

It's Election Day, and if there's anything to look forward to, it's the end of the annoying campaign commercials (at least for another 10 months or so). I would never use this forum to discuss my political views, but if I never hear the phrase "I'm Ned Lamont and I approve this message" again, well, I'll give that my stamp of approval. Nothing personal. But after 10 million times in six weeks I'm on the verge of snapping.

On to the Huskies. After a week off, Randy Edsall has named a new feature running back (Donald Brown) and a new safety (Robert Vaughn) to bring the total of freshmen starters to eight. It's as young a team as Edsall has ever coached. The good news is that this could be an outstanding team in another year or two. Just look at Wake Forest. The team UConn crushed 51-17 in Winston-Salem in the final game of the 2003 season featured a lot of the same. Those same Demon Deacons players are now fourth- or fifth-year players with an 8-1 record and a legitimate shot at winning the Atlantic Coast Conference. "That experience really helps you," Edsall said.

Edsall also said Donald Brown's performance against Rutgers was even more impressive after watching the tape. While the offensive line was OK, they weren't exactly opening acre-wide holes to waltz through like USC did for Reggie Bush. Most of what Brown accomplished was of his own making. Edsall said Brown's total yards after contact for the game was around 100. "On that 65-yard (TD run) he made three people miss," Edsall said. Nothing's changed in Brown's preparation. He's excited and confident. "It's such a rush of adreneline, I can't even describe it," Brown said of the feeling he had last Sunday.

UConn's game plan for Pitt? Lots of Donald Brown. D.J. Hernandez said as much on Tuesday. There's nothing wrong with that, but let's hope Hernandez gets the passing attack together. Pitt has been fairly tough against the run (save for Michigan State and Ray Rice) and has been hurt more through the air. If D.J. isn't at least a little better on throws and decisions Saturday, it could be a long afternoon for the Huskies.

Edsall made his case for a playoff system in college football, which, among other things, would help end the criticism of the Big East and get a true national champion. His plan, essentially, would be to put the eight conference champions in a national tournament and let everyone else play in the various bowls. Obviously, it makes sense. But why should that change the minds of the conference commissioners who only care about reaping the biggest imaginable profits? Edsall stuck up for the Big East, which is continually slammed around the nation despite two legitimate BCS teams and a third, Rutgers, making its case.

"I don't know what we have to do as a league," Edsall said. " West Virginia went down and beat Georgia (in the Sugar Bowl) and I thought that would silence people. Now everyone is still saying we're no good. Louisville beats West Virginia in a high scoring affair and people say they don't play any defense. The perception of people is that the Big East isn't a football conference, it's a basketball conference and the SEC, the Big Ten and the Pac-10 have been around longer. The Big East is a conference that has been through change, but I think we've gone out and proven our worth."

Edsall also slammed the writer (he didn't name names, but he was referring to Jason Whitlock of the Kansas City Star) who had been voting Louisville 11th because of his Big East bias. "How can you put a team that's undefeated 11th?," Edsall said. "That just blows my mind." Whitlock actually voted the Cardinals 9th this week after their big win over West Virginia. Still ridiculous, and a good reason why the polls shouldn't mean anything. It's too easy for voters, coaches included, to rank rivals lower than they should to help their own personal interests. No matter. We won't see changes to the system anytime soon.

Enjoy the next 10 months of campaign commercial-free television!


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Edsall should spend more time worrying about UConn and less time worrying about the Big East.

November 07, 2006 7:07 PM 
Blogger Waquoit said...

And maybe he can recruit a decent QB while he's at it.

November 08, 2006 12:00 PM 

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