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Connecticut Huskies Betting - 2011 Connecticut Huskies College Football Preview

Posted by Blake Frazier on 8/19/2011 3:47:05 PM
connecticut huskies betting

MLB baseball betting gurus in New England are riveted on the Boston Red Sox, who are sure to make the playoffs this season. Last year, the sports betting analysts who live in the northeastern corner of the United States were treated to something quite rare: The Connecticut Huskies not only made college football’s postseason; they reached a BCS bowl game.

If someone had told you in 1995 that the Connecticut Huskies would enter the 2011 season the defending Big East champions coming off a Fiesta Bowl berth, you would have laughed at the very idea. Nevertheless, that’s precisely what occurred. Then-coach Randy Edsall took over the program as it headed from then I-AA football to I-A football and patiently built something special with under-the-radar recruits. Edsall created a workmanlike, physical program that culminated in an 8-4 2010 season that capitalized on a weak conference and resulted in a league championship. Edsall promptly left UConn to become the head coach at Maryland and was replaced by Big East veteran and former Syracuse head coach Paul Pasqualoni, leaving New Englanders to wonder if the magic can be sustained in East Hartford.

It would not be hard for college football fans to run down a list of some of UConn’s better tailbacks over the past few seasons, particularly Donald Brown and last season’s hero Jordan Todman. It would be a much bigger challenge to name any of UConn’s recent quarterbacks. In 2011, only sophomore Mike Box returns. He is the default leader for the job heading into the season after a spring in which none of the available quarterbacks played particularly well.

Whoever is under center will have capable skill-position help, however. Running backs D.J. Shoemate and true freshman Max DeLorenzo, a local prep phenom, will make a capable backfield tandem, while all of the team’s leading receivers return. Kashif Moore is more of a deep threat while Mike Smith is a sure-handed possession receiver. Having three of five linemen, including All-America candidate Moe Petrus, back should help ease the transition.

The biggest question mark will revolve around the offensive philosophy’s direction (or lack thereof) under Pasqualoni and new offensive coordinator George DeLeone. How will Edsall’s players adapt to the changes? Box is certainly a mobile quarterback, but it remains to be seen just how flexible he and the rest of the offense are to the changes that lie in store for them.

The biggest asset the Huskies have in 2011 is an experienced and talented defense that returns nine starters. Pasqualoni’s biggest hire was convincing defensive coordinator Don Brown to leave Maryland, where he was developing a reputation as one of the league’s better defensive minds, to come to UConn and lead the defense. Brown arrives with quite a bit of talent to work with in his first year. While the offense goes through growing pains, the Huskies should be able to rely on a stout defense in September.

The strength of the Huskies’ defense lies in its defensive line. Defensive tackle Kendall Reyes was All-Big East in 2010 despite consistently shifting between defensive end and defensive tackle. Now a solid 300 pounds, he’s settled in at tackle where he and fellow senior Twyon Martin give UConn a tough pair in the middle.

The schedule is a bit easier in 2011, which might allow the Huskies to get off to a better start than the 2-4 mark they opened with last season. A trip to Vanderbilt in week two is winnable, as is the following week’s game at home against Iowa State. The Huskies travel to West Virginia, Pitt, and Cincinnati but have a three-week homestand against Syracuse, Louisville, and Rutgers that will likely determine just how well Pasqualoni does in year one. A smart and sensible sports bet will definitely not pick Connecticut to repeat as the Big East champion.

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