Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Appetizers (and a bowl game) on the line at Cincinnati this weekend

So UConn will have a shot at a bowl game after all. Big test awaiting at Cincinnati, but it's clear the Huskies can compete with anyone in the conference. A few notes from today:
  • Pasqualoni said there's "no need to muddy the water at all" with regard to talking about what's at stake this week. Everyone already knows. The focus is where it should be, on the task at hand.
  • We've finally gotten to see exactly what Pasqualoni and George DeLeone had in mind with this two quarterback system. It forced opposing defenses to prepare for two completely different offenses, depending on who's under center. And it changes mid-series. They have to prepare for the McCummings run package, and they have to prepare for the McEntee pro sets. It was run efficiently against Rutgers. DeLeone said it's not necessarily that the players are understanding the system better, but the coaches realize what their players do best. "Every week McCummings is getting a bigger part of the game plan, and it's helped us run the ball tremendously and taken a lot of pressure off Johnny," DeLeone said. "I don't think the players have ever been a problem. It's us finally finding, it took us this long, finding what we do best and finding what we can win with at this level. We're starting to get into a groove of what we think we can do. If you listen to post-game reaction from these coaches, and listen to what they're saying during the week, defenses are struggling with it. They have a lot to prepare for, and it's gven us a little bit of an edge. They have a wide scope of plays they have to defend."
  • UConn hasn't won consecutive games all season, and its never won at Nippert Stadium. Cincinnati, even without Zach Collaros, showed it still has a dangerous offense led by Isaiah Pead, and a stout defense that's only once allowed more than 24 points to an opponent (a 37-34 win over USF).
  • A quick bowl prediction scenario: If UConn beats Cincinnati, it clinches Louisville's spot in the BCS bowl (likely Orange). Since the Champs Sports Bowl would be nuts not to take Notre Dame, West Virginia would likely wind up in Charlotte. Rutgers would then be snatched up for the Yankee Stadium bowl. The Liberty Bowl, by virtue of having no SEC-eligible team, would choose between Pittsburgh and UConn, and would go with Pitt. The Huskies would be left for the Beef O'Brady's Bowl in St. Pete, and it would enjoy a complementary order of potato skins from the title sponsor and a Conference USA opponent.
  • Of course, if Syracuse knocks off Pittsburgh, UConn may wind up at the Liberty Bowl over the Orange. And should USF upset West Virginia, I think the Mountaineers still wind up in Charlotte, with UConn at the Liberty Bowl and South Florida staying home in St. Pete. In those scenarios, I'm betting the Huskies are more attractive to the folks in Memphis than Syracuse and USF simply by virtue of a better Big East record.


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