2011 UConn Huskies Football Predictions and BCS Futures Odds
by Aaron Smith - 6/27/2011
Was Connecticut’s 2010 season a success or a failure? The answer isn’t particularly clear. The Huskies went to the Fiesta Bowl, but they were drubbed by Oklahoma in that game, and they finished with an 8-5 record in an extremely weak Big East Conference. The team actually lost money by appearing in the Fiesta Bowl because they couldn’t sell their share of tickets to Huskies faithful. The 2010 season was definitely a strange one for UConn.
Randy Edsall is the guy who put this football program on the map, but after 12 years with the team, he decided to leave for the Maryland coaching job. Edsall’s departure opened the door for Paul Pasqualoni, the longtime Syracuse football coach, to step in as the new leader of the program. The Big East is likely to be the weakest major conference again in 2011. Can UConn once again go to a BCS bowl? Nobody in the league returns more players than the Huskies, who return 17 starters from their 2010 squad. Despite that abundance of returning starters, there are plenty of question marks for the Huskies in 2011.
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Pasqualoni must find a way to build on the progress that Edsall made in his 12 years at Connecticut. Regardless of what you think of the Huskies in the last year or two, Edsall took this program from obscurity to the top of the Big East. Pasqualoni certainly has the experience necessary to be successful in the Big East. He led Syracuse to an impressive 107-59-1 record in his 14 years with the school.
Pasqualoni is a hands-on type of coach and he has always been well-liked by his players. He emphasizes the importance of establishing a running game first, before opening up the passing attack.
The Huskies offense lost its best player when Jordan Todman left early for the NFL Draft. Robbie Frey and Meme Wylie were the primary backups last year, but both of them decided not to play in 2011. With Pasqualoni’s strategy of establishing the run first, the Huskies will need a new runner to step up in a big way if they are going to be successful this year. D.J. Shoemate, a transfer from USC, is likely to get the majority of the carries.
The quarterback spot is wide open going into this season. Michael Box, Johnny McEntee, Scott McCummings, and Michael Nebrich are all fighting for the job. Box is the only one who saw any playing time last year. No matter who gets the starting nod, the Huskies are likely to continue to have inconsistent play from under center. On the positive side, the receivers are talented and they should take a little pressure off the inexperienced quarterback. Kashif Moore is the star of the receiving corps.
The Huskies defense finished around the middle of the pack last year, but they return eight starters in 2011. The secondary should be the strength of this defense, with the linebackers being the biggest question mark. Kendall Reyes can be a dominating force at the defensive tackle spot, and the Huskies will be counting on him clogging up the middle on a consistent basis.
This is a defense that should be solid as long as they get consistent play from their linebackers. The defensive line and secondary are both very good, and in the Big East they won’t go up against many dominating offenses.
2011 UConn Huskies Futures Odds
2011 Connecticut Huskies Football Schedule
The non-conference schedule is far from intimidating, but the trip to Vanderbilt could be difficult. Inside the conference, the Huskies toughest games will all be on the road. They travel to West Virginia, Pittsburgh, and Cincinnati. In order to contend in the Big East this year, Connecticut will need to hold avoid any upset losses at home.
2011 UConn Huskies Football Predictions
The Big East will be weak once again, but I’d be surprised if the Huskies are able to win it for a second straight year. This is a team that will likely take a step backward in 2011. It’s tough to see a team with no clear-cut quarterback or running back being too successful. At the same time, the low quality of their conference and their solid defense will win them some games. I expect a regular season record of 6-6 from the Huskies.
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