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Posts Tagged ‘Connecticut’

Pick 10, F.B.S. Notebook: Week 3 (Sept. 15)

Do you remember the last time Notre Dame took a trip to East Lansing? You might not remember the game’s first 60 minutes and change, but that’s fine: things didn’t get wild until overtime, when Michigan State answered a Notre Dame field goal with the most audacious coaching decision of the 2010 season. Now you remember, right? Dan Conroy is lined up for the potentially game-tying 46-yard field goal; Aaron Bates, the punter and team captain, was the holder; tight end Charlie Gantt was lined up one spot inside from the edge to Conroy’s right. The call: “Little Giants.” The snap went to Bates, as expected – and then came the unexpected. You’ll see the rest of the play later tonight, when the Irish and Spartans meet in one of the day’s marquee games. Let’s run down the entire weekend’s action.

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    It’s Open Season on Penn State’s Roster

    It’s open season on Penn State’s roster. We’ve seen this before, in the early days of the sanctions assessed on U.S.C. three years ago and, if you can think back far enough, in the weeks following the penalties levied onto S.M.U. in 1987. There’s something different about this raid, however. One reason may be the fact that everything will be done in the open: Jim Delany, the Big Ten and the N.C.A.A. have essentially turned Penn State’s players into recruits, turning back the clock to those days when, as high school recruits, these same players were available to any school that would have their services.

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      No. 72: Connecticut

      Welcome to Storrs, Conn., home of diminishing quarterback results since the last time Dan Orlovsky buttoned his chin strap for the hometown Huskies. That would be in 2004, eight seasons ago – an eternity in college football, as you know, and a period that encompasses the program’s entire history as a member of the Big East. Last fall, trick-shot-artist-turned-starter Johnny McEntee completed a hair more than 50 percent of his attempts while throwing 12 touchdowns; that doesn’t sound like much, but McEntee’s touchdown total was a program-high since 2007, when Tyler Lorenzen tossed 13 scores. As a team, the Huskies have thrown for 11,346 yards over the last five years. If that doesn’t sound that bad, think of that number a different way: UConn’s averaging 177.3 passing yards per game since 2007. Good, average? Nope. That’s just not good enough, period, and it’s a situation that Paul Pasqualoni and his staff must rectify immediately – or if not today, at some point before September.

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        As a Whole, The Big East Scheduled Up

        As if getting only three Big East games at home wasn’t bad enough for Syracuse. At least the Orange aren’t alone in this regard: Rutgers, Pittsburgh and Connecticut also play four road games during Big East play.

        Where Syracuse stands alone against the rest of the Big East is in its 2012 non-conference schedule, which ranks among the most difficult for a B.C.S. conference program. The Orange face four fellow B.C.S. conference teams during non-conference play; worse yet, only one, Northwestern, comes to the Carrier Dome.

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          UMass Wants to be New England’s Best

          New England occupies the majority of the upper right portion of your U.S. map, though the region’s F.B.S. footprint is significantly smaller. New England is composed of six states: Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island and Vermont. The six combine to house three F.B.S. programs, with UMass now joining Boston College and Connecticut — with the Huskies, which joined the F.B.S. in 2000, a relatively recent addition in their own right. Over the years, thanks in large part to being the only show in town, B.C. has been considered New England’s de facto football power; since 2000, however, UConn has been able to steal some of the Eagles’ thunder.

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            Temple Officially Slides in for West Virginia

            Just as the Big 12 waited to unveil its conference schedule until West Virginia’s transition was official, the Big East needed to get its own ducks — or Owls, I guess — in a row before releasing its full 2012 slate. Unsurprisingly, the Big East avoided any difficulties by simply inserting Temple into the Mountaineers’ slot; the Owls will take on what would have been West Virginia’s conference schedule. For Temple, that means three home games and four road games in the Big East’s seven-game conference schedule. Credit the league for keeping things simple, as while it might have been fun to get imaginative it made too much sense to just have the Owls replace the Mountaineers in name, slot and schedule.

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              The F.B.S. and the N.C.A.A. Tournament

              Just a few notes on college football and the N.C.A.A. tournament, with the latter now down to 32 teams and counting:

              1. There were two rematches in the round of 64. Each went along familiar lines: Iowa State beat Connecticut, just as the Cyclones did on the road in September. Kentucky beat Western Kentucky, just as it did during non-conference play. If you recall, those were two of the ugliest games of the season: Steele Jantz threw three interceptions — two on back-to-back throws — in Iowa State’s 24-20 win, while Kentucky’s play in its 14-3 win had the Hilltoppers’ Andrew Jackson asking, “They supposed to be SEC?”

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                The Big East’s Lose-Lose B.C.S. Scenario

                West Virginia waits by the phone – or in front of the TV, actually. Louisville holds its breath. Both have done all they could do: it took overtime, but the Mountaineers sneaked past South Florida to move to 5-2 in conference play, while Louisville has been in the clubhouse since last Friday. Both teams have the same goal, reaching the Orange Bowl, but both have opposite rooting interests this afternoon. West Virginia is rooting for Cincinnati; Louisville is rooting for Connecticut. Something has to give. Someone is going home disappointed. The Big East as a whole might lose either way.

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                  The Countdown

                  A bottom-to-top assessment of the F.B.S. landscape heading into the 2012 season.