Friday, December 31, 2010

(Finally) Ready for the Fiesta

After one cancelled flight, 48 hours of waiting and 13 hours of travel, I arrived in Phoenix around 12:30 this morning. Caught a few winks, had a 7 a.m. wake-up call and was at Randy Edsall's 8:30 a.m. press conference.

Here's a link and another to my stories running on

When I left Hartford yesterday, it was 42 degrees. I arrived in Phoenix to even colder temperatures. It was 34 degrees this morning when I got my wake-up call. I'm told it even snowed in some parts of the city Thursday morning, though it was just a dusting...not quite the blizzard Connecticut received earlier in the week.

The retractable roof at the University of Phoenix Stadium will be closed for the Fiesta Bowl because of the chilly temperatures.

Edsall finished his press conference at the media hotel in Scottsdale this morning, then posed for a photo shoot with Oklahoma coach Bob Stoops in front of the gargantuan Fiesta Bowl trophy. No players were available today.

Hope you all have a safe New Year. I'm grabbing a much needed nap to rest up for another long day tomorrow.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Travelin' Glendale blues

I figured I might have a chance to escape the travel woes plaguing New York City over the last couple of days since my flight from JFK to Phoenix was scheduled to leave at 7 tonight. Nope. Got an alert at 9:30 a.m. that Delta had cancelled my flight, despite the fact that it was over nine hours from takeoff.

This all comes after losing power at my home last night when a 75-foot tree was blown across my street and took down the lines at 8 p.m. No heat all night. Temps around 15 degrees outside. Power finally restored 16 hours later. Fun day.

The good news: I got word of the cancellation before driving all the way to New York this afternoon. The bad news: They can't get me out to Phoenix until Thursday night. And since I'm now leaving from Bradley, and there are no direct flights, I have to connect in Minneapolis. Which means -- with my luck -- there'll either be 42 inches of snow causing more delays and headaches or a Brett Favre-related incident that forces all flights to be re-routed to Green Bay.

Anyway, I'm supposed to arrive just after midnight on the 31st. I'll have plenty of live blogging then, and on game day. Until then, we'll make do with what we can.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Blizzard in Connecticut, Huskies land in Phoenix

Randy Edsall held a press conference at the airport in Phoenix today shortly after the UConn plane touched down. Here's a transcript. By the way Randy, it's more like 12-20" of snow in Connecticut today.

UConn Head Coach Randy Edsall
Airport Press Conference, December 26, 2010

Opening Statement:

“We just left 25 degree weather and we are supposed to have a storm comin
g in with 6-12 inches so being out here is great. We are honored and privil
eged to be here and play in the Fiesta Bowl against an outstanding opponent
in Oklahoma. I know our kids are excited about being here and they have re
ally worked hard and earned the right to be here with all of you great folk
s. We look forward to preparing this week then playing the game on Saturday
against a quality opponent.”

Can you talk about what a great opportunity this is for your program?

“It is a tremendous opportunity for us, for our program to only be seven
years in the BIG EAST and nine years as an FBS school, to get here this qui
ckly and be in our first BCS game is something that these young men have dr
eamed about since they started playing the game. To get this opportunity an
d to know that because of team work, taking one game at a time and being ab
le to fight through adversity, which they had to this year to get here, mak
es it that much more rewarding. It says so much about the kids, our program
and the university. It is really hard to imagine that this has happened th
is quickly.”

Has anything happened in the last three weeks or today that has made you re
alize that this is a different stage?

“Just getting off the plane, this hasn’t happened before with all of th
e folks welcoming us and the press conference this is different. Also we ha
ven’t been to a bowl game where it has been this warm. Sometimes you have
to pinch yourself. Last night I was able to watch the South Florida game a
nd reflect, and to see that game in its entirety and to know that that game
meant we won the BIG EAST and were able to come here was surreal. Now we a
re here and now we have work to do and business to take care of.”

Can you talk about the challenges Oklahoma presents?

“Oklahoma has tremendous athletes, Landry Jones is an outstanding quarter
back and Ryan Broyles is very good, they know what they are doing. They hav
e a tempo that gets after you and they can create problems with that. They
just have outstanding players who are very well coached. It is a tremendous
challenge for us, but it’s a challenge that we look forward to. This is
why you work and why you put in all of the time and effort that the young m
en do, to achieve these goals and go out and play against the best there is
in the country. We know that it is going to be a difficult test and we are
going to have to play really good, sound, fundamental football to give our
selves an opportunity to win.”

Oklahoma lost the last two times they were here, is that a positive or nega
tive going into the game?

“To me, I just know that they are a very good team and this game is total
ly different. We know that they are hearing all of those things that everyb
ody is saying, and we know that we will be getting their best effort. We ju
st have to make sure that we give our best effort also. We need to go out a
nd play the type of football that we have been playing, and hopefully we ca
n get some turnovers, possess the ball and play as well as we have been on
special teams. For us it has to be a team effort, we have to have all three
phases clicking in order for us to get the result that we are looking for.

Oklahoma has changed Offensive Coordinators since the end of the season, do
es that change anything that you are doing?

“I doubt that it will change anything that they do. It’s not like they
brought somebody in from the outside to put in a whole new system. There is
going to be wrinkles just like everybody else puts in for a new game, but
I don’t think the structure of what they have done in the 12 games that we saw will change.”

Can you talk about the bigger picture of playing in a BCS game?

“I think you will see more UConn fans here then what bought tickets. I think some of them went online and bought them instead of going through the school. I think the bigger message is about what this team has accomplished and what opportunities college football can give kids. This to me is something that people should focus on, giving these young men the opportunity to
go and get an education and play football. For our young men at the University of Connecticut to be part of the BIG EAST Conference and to win the BIG EAST, coming back from a 3-4 record and 0-2 in the conference, and winning the last five games to win the conference is great. Being in the BCS for the first time in school history, I commend the people of college football for giving young men that opportunity to be able to do that.”

“I think that is more of a story then the economics or anything along tho
se lines. This will have an impact on our recruiting moving forward, and it
is also going to show other people that if you really work hard and play a
s a team and you don’t care who gets the credit, you can accomplish anyth
ing that you want to in life. That is really what this is all about and tha
t is really what this team has been about this year and last year. It goes
to show you that if you take a diversified group of young men from all over
the country and get them to believe in a common goal, they can achieve tha
t goal, which is to be here and play in a BCS game.”

What makes Jordan Todman such a special running back?

“He is talented first and foremost. I think one thing is that he is a com
petitor. He is a guy that wants to do as well as he possibly can, but he is
also the ultimate team player. He could care about the yards, and being an
All-American, but really all he cares about is winning and doing his part
to help his teammates win. He is the guy that we have been riding this year
and I think we got him a little bit healthier now with some time off, but
it is a shame that he wasn’t recognized even more than he was. Being the
team guy that he is it really hasn’t affected him. He is an outstanding r
unning back, but he is an even better person and a better competitor.”

Monday, December 20, 2010

Notes from UConn's Fiesta media day

Some news and notes from Randy Edsall's morning press conference with state media...

  • Edsall began by congratulating Geno Auriemma and delivered an impassioned speech regarding the UConn women's basketball team and their 88-game win streak. "I hope people really appreciate what they've done," Edsall said. "They play the game the way it's supposed to be played. Great fundamentals; good techniques; they play the game hard all the time. People can say what they want to say, but what they're doing is unprecedented. They should get the credit they deserve. That's something special. ... People talk about John Wooden. You have to talk about Geno Auriemma in the same vain; best coach in the history of basketball, men's or women's."

  • Oklahoma's offensive tempo is impressive, Edsall said. "We can't really simulate the speed with which their offense gets lined up."

  • UConn has finally shed the stigma of being "an up-and-coming program", at least in Edsall's eyes. Two conference titles, five bowl games, one BCS bowl should do the trick. "There are teams in our conference who have been in the Big East since the beginning and haven't won a conference championship." (Hello, Rutgers).

  • Edsall was asked if he's disappointed with UConn's low ticket sales for the Fiesta Bowl. "That's a loaded question," Edsall said. "I can't win answering that question. No matter how I address it, how I say it and how it comes out, 50 percent won't like it. I just hope as many people that can get there will get there and support the Huskies."

  • There were nine recruits on campus making visits this weekend. Edsall said when he talks to recruits individually, they tell him they can see why UConn wins. "People see us on TV, then they see us here and they can see why we win," Edsall said. "Because of how we practice, how close our kids our and the bond between players and coaches. They see that family atmosphere."

  • UConn is healthy. Mike Ryan and Twyon Martin have been cleared and are practicing in full. Aside from the five players listed as out for the year (Smallwood, Kinnard, Wylie, Campbell and Davis), only freshman long snapper Adam Mueller (mono) is in doubt.

  • No academic casualties yet, but not all the grades are in yet. Edsall doesn't expect to hear from anyone who intends to transfer until after the Fiesta Bowl. Got to get that trip and all the free stuff, first, after all.

  • UConn is establishing a reputation for churning out excellent running backs. Terry Caulley's potential was slowed by injury, but Donald Brown, Andre Dixon and Jordan Todman have been All-Big East, with Brown and Todman winning Big East Offensive Player of the Year Awards and All-America status. Edsall hopes that recruits understand this is a place where top high school backs can come to excell. "You would hope so," Edsall said. "I think people understand our philosophy here is we're going to run the ball. Yeah, we want to be balanced, but we're going to run." Edsall said he was speaking with an NFL general manager recently who told him "you understand who you are, because you have two seasons. You have a fall and a winter you have to play in, so you better be able to run the ball because when it gets cold, if you can't run in those elements, you've really got no chance. And those are the things we try to sell to those young men out there who are running backs. It's a philosophy that works for us." Not quite sure how that pitch will help the recruitment of quarterbacks and receivers, though.

  • After hitting the game-winning 52-yard field goal at South Florida to clinch UConn's BCS berth, Dave Teggart turned on his cell phone and waited several minutes for the buzzing that indicates an awaiting text message to finally cease. "I had 85 new text messages," Teggart said. "I got back to my Facebook and had 100 new friend requests and people poking me. I don't even know what a poke is."

  • The "UConn doesn't deserve to be in the BCS" argument is, um, angering the players a bit. Some of them said they try to ignore it, most said it's impossible to get away from it. "It's motivation," Todman said. "It makes me smile like a 'who are they to say that?' type thing. We won, we beat them teams, we won out fair and square and we belong to be where we're at. This is our rewards. For someone to say we don't deserve it, to be honest, is kind of a smack in the face. We'll let them say what they want to say. But whoever you put on the field against us, we're going to compete and work hard. We still have to earn the respect of the other side, but we're not going to stop and do whatever it takes to get our place."

  • Cornerback Blidi Wreh-Wilson isn't overly concerned with the quick pace of Oklahoma's offense. "When we played Michigan, it was all about during camp going quick tempo and conditioning ourselves for that," Wreh-Wilson said. "I think we'll be fine with the pace just because when they do the pace we know the plays they're going to run after the quick tempo. A lot of the stuff they run we've seen on film from other teams. They just have great athletes at the skill positions, a good back and a good quarterback, so they have good timing and execution out of it."

Monday, December 13, 2010

Fiesta ticket sales update

UConn tickets sold for the Fiesta Bowl around 4,000 as of Monday.

Oklahoma doesn't release its tickets sold numbers, but the feeling out there is the Sooners are struggling to sell them, too.

UConn getting ready for a historic trip

Some news and notes from Monday's press conference with Randy Edsall...
  • Edsall opened by announcing the team awards. The most surprising was the offensive player of the year. Zach Frazer. Jordan Todman was the team MVP, and Lawrence Wilson the defensive player of the year. But Frazer was 11-3 in games he started and finished over the last two years, and might be the only player to win the award who went from starter to third string to second string to starter again.

  • Todman and Kendall Reyes are exploring the possibility of entering the NFL Draft, Edsall said.

  • Lawrence Wilson and Scott Lutrus will play in the East-West Shrine Game; Zach Hurd and Anthony Sherman will play in the Texas vs. the Nation Game. Edsall is also working to get long snapper Derek Chard into a senior showcase game.

  • It was Christmas in Storrs for the UConn football players. The Fiesta Bowl representatives are in town for the next two days, and have set up a room where the players can select their NCAA-sanctioned bowl gifts on a point-system. No specifics yet on what's available, but you can bet there's some very nice electronics.

  • Everyone not already out for the year should be available for game, meaning Mike Ryan and Twyon Martin, Edsall said. Moe Petrus had surgery on his hand, but should be OK. "They're telling me all those young men will be cleared to go," Edsall said.

  • Edsall mentioned an Associated Press story (written by Hartford-based reporter Pat Eaton-Robb) about UConn's success this season and its effect on them. "This is for all those guys," Edsall said. "Anything is obtainable."

  • Edsall stopped working with the safeties after the Louisville loss. He now thinks that might have taken something away from the team. "I went to the coaches and said I can't do that anymore," Edsall said. "I went back to big picture stuff."

  • Edsall was asked if UConn's game be an "us against the world" mentality for the Huskies? "We're 17-point underdogs," Edsall said. "We're going to play hard. The way we always play. I have tremendous respect for Oklahoma and Bob Stoops. They're good. But we're going to go and play hard." Edsall mentioned he's been a similar scenario. As an assistant at Jacksonville, the Jaguars came in as 17-point underdogs to the Denver Broncos and John Elway in the NFL playoffs in 1996 and won to reach the AFC championship game. "It was one of the biggest upsets in the history of the NFL playoffs," Edsall said.

  • Edsall said he's going to try and get former UConn and Kansas athletic director Lew Perkins out to the Fiesta Bowl. "He deserves it," Edsall said.

  • Edsall said he hasn't really had an opportunity to dig into Oklahoma film yet because he's been out recruiting, and he goes back on the road for two days starting tomorrow.

Wednesday, December 08, 2010

Todman, Edsall win Big East awards

Jordan Todman is the Big East Conference offensive player of the year; Randy Edsall is the co-coach of the year with Louisville's Charlie Strong. (not Doug Marrone of Syracuse? odd.) Zach Hurd, Dave Teggart, Tpdman, Mike Ryan, Kendall Reyes and Lawrence Wilson are all first-team all-conference. Nick Williams and Moe Petrus are second-team picks.


Jordan Todman, RB, Connecticut (Jr., North Dartmouth, Mass.) *

Jabaal Sheard, DE, Pittsburgh (Sr., Hollywood Hills, Fla.)

Lindsey Lamar, WR, USF (So., Tampa, Fla.)

Hakeem Smith, S, Louisville (RFr., Jonesboro, Ga.)

Randy Edsall, Connecticut
Charlie Strong, Louisville

Pos. Player School Cl. Ht. Wt. Hometown/High School
WR Armon Binns Cincinnati Sr. 6-3 210 Pasadena, Calif./Pasadena
WR Jon Baldwin Pittsburgh Jr. 6-5 230 Aliquippa, Pa./Aliquippa
OT Mike Ryan Connecticut Jr. 6-5 332 Tamaqua, Pa./Marian Catholic
OT Jason Pinkston Pittsburgh Sr. 6-4 305 Pittsburgh, Pa./Baldwin
OG Zach Hurd * Connecticut Sr. 6-7 323 Waterford, Conn./Waterford
OG Mark Wetterer * Louisville Sr. 6-5 306 Cincinnati, Ohio/Anderson
C Sampson Genus USF Sr. 6-1 314 Lake City, Fla./Columbia
TE Cameron Graham Louisville Sr. 6-4 242 Inglewood, Calif./Inglewood
QB Zach Collaros * Cincinnati Jr. 6-0 216 Steubenville, Ohio/Steubenville
RB Jordan Todman * Connecticut Jr. 5-9 190 North Dartmouth, Mass./Dartmouth
RB Bilal Powell Louisville Sr. 6-0 204 Lakeland, Fla./Lake Gibson
K Dave Teggart Connecticut Jr. 6-0 209 Northborough, Mass./Algonqun
RS Lindsey Lamar USF So. 5-9 160 Tampa, Fla./Hillsborough

Pos. Player School Cl. Ht. Wt. Hometown/High School
DL Kendall Reyes Connecticut Jr. 6-4 287 Nashua, N.H./Nashua North
DL Jabaal Sheard * Pittsburgh Sr. 6-4 260 Hollywood Hills, Fla./Hollywood Hills
DL Terrell McClain USF Sr. 6-3 302 Pensacola, Fla./Pensacola
DL Chris Neild West Virginia Sr. 6-2 301 Stroudsburg, Pa./Stroudsburg
LB Lawrence Wilson Connecticut Sr. 6-1 217 Tuscaloosa, Ala./Paul W. Bryant
LB Doug Hogue Syracuse Sr. 6-2 226 Yonkers, N.Y./Roosevelt
LB J.T. Thomas West Virginia Sr. 6-2 225 Fort Lauderdale, Fla./Ely
CB Johnny Patrick Louisville Sr. 6-0 186 Deland, Fla./Deland
CB Keith Tandy West Virginia Jr. 5-10 198 Hopkinsville, Ky./Christian County
S Dom DeCicco Pittsburgh Sr. 6-4 230 Jefferson Hills, Pa./Thomas Jefferson
S Robert Sands West Virginia Jr. 6-5 221 Carol City, Fla./Miami-Carol City
P Dan Hutchins Pittsburgh Sr. 5-11 195 Williamsport, Pa./Loyalsock Township

* unanimous selection

Pos. Player School Cl. Ht. Wt. Hometown/High School
WR D.J. Woods Cincinnati Jr. 6-0 172 Strongsville, Ohio/Strongsville
WR Dontavia Bogan USF Sr. 6-1 188 Thomasville, Ga./Central County
WR Tavon Austin West Virginia So. 5-9 173 Baltimore, Md./Dunbar
WR Jock Sanders West Virginia Sr. 5-7 179 St. Petersburg, Fla./St. Petersburg Catholic
OT Justin Pugh Syracuse So. 6-5 287 Holland, Pa./Council Rock South
OT Don Barclay West Virginia Jr. 6-4 304 Cranberry Township, Pa./Seneca Valley
OL Jason Kelce Cincinnati Sr. 6-4 283 Cleveland Heights, Ohio/Cleveland Heights
OL Byron Stingily Louisville Sr. 6-5 300 Country Club Hills, Ill./Joliet CC
OL Jacob Sims USF Sr. 6-5 290 Winter Park, Fla./Winter Park
C Moe Petrus Connecticut Jr. 6-2 292 St. Laurent, Que./Vanier Prep
TE Ben Guidugli Cincinnati Sr. 6-1 240 Fort Thomas, Ky./Highlands
QB Geno Smith West Virginia So. 6-3 210 Miami, Fla./Miramar
RB Isaiah Pead Cincinnati Jr. 5-11 194 Columbus, Ohio/Eastmoor Academy
RB Delone Carter Syracuse Sr. 5-10 215 Copley, Ohio/Copley Senior
K Ross Krautman Syracuse Fr. 5-7 154 Franklin Lakes, N.J./Ramapo
RS Nick Williams Connecticut So. 5-9 182 East Windsor, N.J./The Hun School

Pos. Player School Cl. Ht. Wt. Hometown/High School
DL Brandon Lindsey Pittsburgh Jr. 6-2 250 Aliquippa, Pa./Aliquippa
DL Chandler Jones Syracuse Jr. 6-5 251 Endicott, N.Y./Union-Endicott
DL Scooter Berry West Virginia Sr. 6-1 287 North Babylon, N.Y./North Babylon
DL Bruce Irvin West Virginia Jr. 6-3 235 Walnut, Calif./Mt. San Antonio CC
LB JK Schaffer Cincinnati Jr. 6-1 228 Cincinnati, Ohio/LaSalle
LB Jacquain Williams USF Sr. 6-3 216 Tampa, Fla./Riverview
LB Derrell Smith Syracuse Sr. 6-1 232 New Castle, Del./Paul Hodgson
CB Mistral Raymond USF Sr. 6-2 192 Palmetto, Fla./Palmetto
CB Brandon Hogan West Virginia Sr. 5-10 189 Manassas, Va./Osbourn
S Hakeem Smith Louisville RFr. 6-1 174 Jonesboro, Ga./Riverdale
S Jared Holley Pittsburgh So. 5-10 180 Easton, Pa./Easton Area
S Joe Lefeged Rutgers Sr. 6-1 205 Germantown, Md./Northwest
P Rob Long Syracuse Sr. 6-3 190 Downingtown, Pa./Downingtown West

McKee arrested on child porn charges

UConn freshman offensive tackle Greg McKee, suspended from the team indefinitely yesterday, was arrested on child pornography charges. McKee is a true freshman who enrolled in January, but is redshirting this season.

Here's the report from the state police...

Arrested: Gregory McKee DOB: 05/10/1992
402A Rosebrooks Hall Dormitory
University of Connecticut
Storrs Mansfield, CT

CHARGES: C.G.S. – 53a-196b Promoting a minor in an obscene performance
C.G.S. – 53a-196c Importing child pornography
C.G.S. – 53a-194 Obscenity

Upon receipt of information in September 2010, the Connecticut State Police Computer Crimes Unit initiated a criminal investigation into possible possession and distribution of child pornography from the Campus of the University of Connecticut.

On Tuesday, November 16, 2010, the Connecticut State Police Computer Crimes Unit and the Mansfield Resident Trooper, assisted by UConn Police, executed a search and seizure warrant at the dormitory room of accused Gregory McKee, located at 402A Rosebrooks Hall on the University of Connecticut campus.

During the execution of the search warrant, items of evidence were seized by Troopers. This evidence was transported to the Connecticut State Police Computer Crimes and Electronic Evidence Laboratory for further investigative examination.

The analysis of the evidence seized and investigative information uncovered by investigators led Troopers to submit an arrest warrant application to Superior Court for the arrest of the accused in this case.

An arrest warrant was issued by the court G.A. 19 Rockville, for the arrest of Gregory Joseph McKee.

Accused McKee turned himself in to State Police Barracks, Troop C, in Tolland, on 12/08/2010. The accused was processed and held on $75,000 court set bond.

The accused will appear at G.A. 19 today, Dec. 8.

The investigation is continuing and additional arrests may be forthcoming.

Tuesday, December 07, 2010

McKee suspended indefinitely

Until we know more, here's the UConn press release.

STORRS, Conn. (Dec. 7, 2010) – University of Connecticut freshman offensive tackle Greg McKee (Chicago, Ill.) has been suspended from the football team indefinitely. The University will have no further comment on this matter.

Monday, December 06, 2010

Some Phoenix travel options

Got a note from Ryan Phalen. In addition to being a brilliant financial analyst and college football prognosticator (though not so much this year...on the football picks, not the financial picks) Ryan is a master road tripper who organized bus trips to Michigan, Temple and Rutgers for any and all interested UConn fans this fall. Ryan has taken the liberty of reserving blocks of hotel rooms in Phoenix for those looking for an affordable Fiesta Bowl trip. . The info...


I’ve put together two blocks in Phoenix for the game (no bus trip this time….). I’d greatly appreciate if you could post this information on your blog so we can have two full UConn hotels! One hotel is just north of downtown, and the other is closer to the stadium. Since the more expensive one is nearer to the stadium, I wanted to add a second hotel to the mix to give people some options. Below is the information on both hotels:

Hotel #1
Holiday Inn Downtown North
212 West Osborn Road Phoenix, AZ 85013
$75/night plus tax ($84.95 total/night), good from 12/26 to 1/6
This hotel is right in downtown Phoenix, accessible by light rail from the airport ($3.50 for a day pass), and 2 miles (walking or light rail) to downtown. It’s a 20-25 minute car ride to the stadium from here, all highway- there’s no rail to the stadium. You can either book through the reservation line at 602-595-4444, and asking for the “Connecticut Football Fans” Block (Rate Code: CFF) or you can click on the link posted below. If you have problems with the Booking link please let me know as I haven’t booked my reservation yet (I’ll be staying here).

Connecticut Rate

Hotel #2
Holiday Inn West Phoenix
1500 North 51st Ave. Phoenix, AZ 85043
$95/night plus tax ($107.61 total/night), good from 12/29 to 1/2. If you need to book past the 2nd, please let me know so I can have the manager extend the date- currently you won’t be able to access this rate if you stay past the night of the 2nd.
This hotel is right off I-10, the main artery in the Phoenix area. It’s about 10 minutes away from downtown and 10 minutes from the stadium. You can book through the reservation line at (602) 484-9009 and asking for the “Connecticut Football Fans” group rate. I’ll have a link later in the day tomorrow if people need that. From what I can gather this is NOT on the light rail.

Also, for those who enjoy public transportation and don’t want a rental, the hotel in north Phoenix (Hotel #1) is about a 45 min ride on the light rail ($3.50 for a 24 hr pass) from the airport- you take a shuttle bus to the light rail from the terminal.

I'll be looking into getting a bus to take us to and from the game/tailgate from the hotel #1 (possibly stopping at hotel #2) for a nominal fee so there may not be a need for rental cars, but don’t count on it 100% yet.

If there’s any questions let me know. Hope to see you all out there.

Thanks Chip!

Ryan Phalen

Sunday, December 05, 2010

Edsall on Fiesta

Here's a little of what Randy Edsall had to say.
  • The team will leave for Arizona on Dec. 26.

  • The Huskies watched in the team room, watching on the TVs. "They were excited and enthusiastic," Edsall said. "There was a lot of noise for what took place on the screen."

  • "It's remarkable," Edsall said when asked of the rapid evolution of the program. Memorial Stadium still stands across the street from the new training facilities, and stands as a reminder of where the program has come from. "I always dreamed about it."

  • Oklahoma will be a big favorite, and few expect the Huskies to compete. "It's kind of been the story since we've made this jump. We've kind of been the underdog," Edsall said. "I get fired up when people say you can't do somthing. It's always good to prove people wrong."

  • Edsall knows Bob Stoops. "Bob is a very good person and an outstanding football coach. He's done a great job at Oklahoma."

  • Other 8-4 teams have won their conference and made a BCS bowl. "Those are the rules," Edsall said. "Don't get on UConn because of the system."

  • Edsall said it might take him four days to get back to everyone after all the congratulatory calls and texts he's received since last night.

Fiesta time.

UConn vs. Oklahoma, Jan. 1, 8:30 p.m at the Fiesta Bowl

Waiting for a fiesta

And we're back.

Here in the bowels of Gampel Pavilion awaiting the BCS selection show with other members of the Connecticut media. Nothing's been announced, so sayeth the folks in the know at UConn, and the word is the school won't find until everyone else does when it's announced on national TV.

It'll be the Fiesta. Has to be. But you probably know that.

On a side note, Minnesota hired Jerry Kill, the Northern Illinois coach, per Joe Schad of ESPN. Scratch that one off the Edsall rumor mill.

Thursday, December 02, 2010

Injury report for USF

DT Twyon Martin (leg) is out; OT Mike Ryan (leg) is questionable; LB Scott Lutrus (arm) is probable.

Expect Shamar Stephen and Alex Polito to fill in for Martin. Kevin Friend will replace Ryan if he can't go, and I'd be surprised if Ryan is in the lineup.

Sun Bowl chair speaks about UConn

UConn's bowl scenario is pretty clear with a win -- it's either the Orange or Fiesta Bowl. Orange makes sense if Virginia Tech wins the ACC crown Saturday. If it's Florida State from the ACC, the Huskies might wind up at Fiesta Bowl. It'll come down to whether the guys in the orange sports jackets and plaid pants want a very good Stanford team (and it's apathetic fan base) that must travel across the country.

A loss to South Florida muddles things, and it depends on how the selections unfold. Will the Champs Bowl take Notre Dame? Will the Pinstripe Bowl go with Syracuse? (Yes. That will be announced shortly, sometime today). Will Louisville lobby for the Bowl Nobody Wants (formally known as the Beef O'Brady's Bowl) because its basketball team is playing Kentucky on New Year's Eve? Will UConn ask out of the beefarino bowl because its women's basketball team is playing at the exact same time against Florida State with a chance to win its record 89th straight game? Will anyone want Pittsburgh, especially if it loses to finish 6-6?

When it's all said and done, UConn may wind up at the Sun Bowl on Dec. 31, a game with history, prestige and a $2 million payout. I spoke to John Folmer, the Sun Bowl chairman, today to gauge where his committee stands on UConn. Folmer said that if Notre Dame isn't available, his committee will indeed take a Big East team.

"We've been talking to the Big East all week," Folmer said. "If we come up short in the Pac-10, and we expect to come up short, we have to do something different. We've thought about UConn; we've thought about Louisville; we've thought about South Florida. We've thought about all of them, really."

The Sun Bowl is different from most bowls in that ticket sales aren't an issue. They have full support from the El Paso, Texas community. Folmer said television is the difference-maker. The bowl has a long-standing contract with CBS, and the goal is to present the best-possible matchup to keep eyeballs on the TV set.

Should UConn lose to South Florida, the Sun Bowl may well choose between the two schools. The Bulls, by virtue of what would be an 8-4 overall record, would most likely be the Sun's first choice. If they're available.

"A lot of it depends on what South Florida does," Folmer said. "If (South Florida) gets bumped up, and (UConn) ends up with the same record as Pitt, Connecticut looks a lot better. It's an awful good conference, but there's a big difference between 8-4 and 7-5."

Folmer and members of the Sun Bowl selection committee are heading to Charlotte Friday for Saturday's ACC title game. They return to El Paso and will convene at 11 a.m. to begin making their choice.

There's so much that could happen. But, if UConn loses, here's how things just might shake out.

BCS: West Virginia

Champs Sports: Notre Dame

Meineke: South Florida

Pinstripe: Syracuse

Birmingham: Pittsburgh

Beef O'Brady: Louisville

Sun Bowl: UConn

The picks, final week

Time for the picks. Very tight race. It's the final week, and we've got all 16 Saturday games on the slate to pick.

Game 1: Pittsburgh (+2) over CINCINNATI
Game 2: WEST VIRGINIA (-20.5) over Rutgers
Game 3: Connecticut (+1.5) over SOUTH FLORIDA
Game 4: BOISE STATE (-38) over Utah State
Game 5: Nevada (-9.5) over LOUISIANA TECH
Game 6: UCLA (+6.5) over Southern California
Game 7: Washington (-6.5) over WASHINGTON STATE
Game 8: Oregon (-16.5) over OREGON STATE
Game 9: San Jose State (+13.5) over IDAHO
Game 10: HAWAII (-34.5) over Nevada-Las Vegas
Game 11: Troy (-5) over FLORIDA ATLANTIC
Game 12: FLORIDA INTERNATIONAL (-5) over Middle Tennessee State
Game 13: CENTRAL FLORIDA (-9) over Southern Methodist
Game 14: SOUTH CAROLINA (+6) over Auburn
Game 15: Florida State (+4) over VIRGINIA TECH
Game 16: Nebraska (+6.5) over OKLAHOMA

Last week's results
1. UConnJoe93 10-3
2. Walt 9-4
3. Chip 8-5
Gabe 8-5
5. Ian 7-6
Caleb 7-6
BStew 7-6
8. Cranberry Bart 6-7
sammy 6-7
Vinny 6-7
Pete 6-7

1. Gabe 86-71-7
2. Pete 85-72-7
3. Ian 84-73-7
Chip 84-73-7
5. Vinny from East Haven 77-80-7
B-Stew 77-80-7
7. Caleb Mandrake 76-81-7
8. Gary 73-71-7
9. Sammy 67-90-7
10. governorphalen 59-85-7
11. Walt 24-23-1
12. opposite guy 16-7-1
13. Uconnbob 12-9-1
14. Harv 10-2-1
15. UConnJoe93 10-3
16. SeanO 8-15-1
17. The Cat 6-5
18. harper 6-6
19. Weird Sal 6-6
20. Cranberry Sauce ala Bart 6-7
21. Spock Jenkins 6-8-2
22. Rollo V. 5-6-1
23. Huskyraymond 5-8
24. Notcher 4-8-1
25. BostonDan 3-7-1

Wednesday, December 01, 2010

Finalists for Walter Camp Award named

This just in...

The finalists for the 2010 Walter Camp Player of the Year award:

LaMICHAEL JAMES – OREGON – Sophomore – Running Back – James has led thesecond-ranked Ducks to a 12-0 record entering its regular-season finaleagainst Oregon State… Leads the nation with a 154.8 rushing average… Hasrushed for 1,548 yards and 19 touchdowns… Eight 100-yard rushing efforts,including three for 200+ yards… Rushed for a season-high 257 yards andthree touchdowns in a win over Stanford on October 2 and earned Walter CampNational Offensive Player of the Week honors… Has also caught 13 passes for169 yards and scored one touchdown.

ANDREW LUCK – STANFORD – Redshirt Sophomore – Quarterback – Luck has ledthe Cardinal to an 11-1 record and #4 ranking in the latest BCS standings…Has passed for 3,051 yards (245-of-349) and 28 touchdowns… Has also rushedfor 438 yards and three touchdowns… Has thrown for three or more touchdownsin a game five times, including a season-high four three times – mostrecently in a win over Oregon State on November 27

CAM NEWTON – AUBURN – Junior – Quarterback – Newton has led the top-rankedTigers (12-0) to a berth in Saturday’s Southeastern Conference championshipgame… Ranks second in the nation in passing efficiency (185.6)… Has passedfor 2,254 yards (148-of-218) and 24 touchdowns… Has rushed for 1,336 yardsand 18 touchdowns and ranks 11th in the nation in rushing yards per game(111.3)… Newton is the first player in SEC history to pass for 2,000 yardsand rush for 1,000 yards in the same season.