Far From Seventh

By Adam Caparell - October 30, 2007

UConn was picked to finish seventh in the Big East back in July when the conference's football contingent gathered in Newport, R.I. to begin in earnest the 2007 season. With a month left in the season, it turned out to be a bad pick.

The Huskies, to practically everyone's surprise, are sitting at 7-1, atop the Big East and undefeated in league play, owners of the No. 16 ranking in the nation after upsetting USF last weekend in East Hartford.

Off of a 4-8 (1-6 Big East) 2006 season that saw injuries bite the Huskies in their hind legs all season long, there were few who believed they would be better than a .500 ballclub in 2007. One, predictably, thought otherwise.

"I knew going into the season we were going to be a better football team than what we were a year ago, but in terms of how many wins and losses I don't think you can ever predict that," UConn coach Randy Edsall said. "I could just feel it with the attitude and work ethic and leadership since January."

Sunday marked the first time UConn had ever been ranked in the AP Top 25 and just the second time the Huskies had appeared in the BCS standings, coming in at No. 13 - ahead of teams like Hawaii, Texas, Auburn, Alabama, USC and Florida. The program's never seen success like this, even in their lone bowl season of 2004.

"I'm not surprised," Edsall said.

But just about everyone else is.

The struggles of Louisville, Rutgers and even USF have undoubtedly helped, but the Huskies have done it a number of ways, according to their coach. For starters, they've been a whole lot healthier this season. They've had some fortuitous plays on offense and special teams and own one of the nation's better defenses statistically. They own the second best turnover margin in the country (+1.5) and have benefited - no matter what Edsall, his players or anyone associated with the Huskies will say - from a pair of bad calls from the refs (a blown TD call in the game's final moments against Temple and Larry Taylor's "non-fair catch" TD punt return vs. Louisville).

"There's no magic formula," Edsall said.

With a couple of breaks and an improved team, Edsall will take UConn to its second bowl game in school history and seemingly compete for the conference's BCS berth during the season's final five weeks. It's a little tough for some to grasp considering it wasn't long ago that UConn was playing its home games in a 16,000 seat stadium, transitioning itself from D-IAA to Independent to Big East member then becoming the second fastest team in history to reach the AP poll (five years and 10 weeks since becoming a full member of I-A in 2002).

One of the newest college football stadiums and some of the best facilities in the Big East have gone a long way toward the Huskies becoming the success they are this season as Edsall's seen former AD Lew Perkins' vision of big time football at the New England basketball school - an idea thought to be preposterous a little over a decade ago - become reality.

"If you have a vision, you have a plan and you have the resources to go along with that then you have the opportunity to do what we've been able to do," Edsall said.

Posted by Adam Caparell at 04:34 PM on October 30, 2007
Comments (1)


A fabulous Lew Perkins mention.

"This show is for Rosette!!!!"

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