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Know Your Opponent: Week 2, UConn Huskies

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Because UConn does football!

NCAA Football: Temple at Connecticut David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports

UConn Athletics have been in the news this summer, probably as much as any other athletic program in the country.

Of course, unless you missed it, the Huskies are moving back to the Big East — except there’s a bunch of different teams, a basketball tournament nobody cares about, and no football.

Other than that, UConn is (on the track to be) back, baby!

So, the move is good news for UConn Basketball, especially on the men’s side. (Nobody is too concerned about Geno and his ladies losing, no matter the conference). Danny Hurley is going to be able to have a competitive team and bring it back to relevance, like with Jim Calhoun (and kind of Kevin Ollie).

What the move seemingly doesn’t take into account is what happens to UConn Football.

It seems like the UConn AD, David Benedict, was in discussions to keep UConn as a football-only member (why, though?), but also that it isn’t likely to happen, according to the AAC commissioner.

“It is not a possibility,” Aresco told The Courant hours after Benedict laid out his plan. “We have no interest in keeping UConn in football if they’re not going to play in our league in their main sport, basketball.”

Oof.

Ok, so there’s no solid plan going forward for UConn Football, and being an independent doesn’t seem likely.

Hopefully UConn keeps its program up-and-running and doesn’t UAB-it up before the 2020 matchup in Champaign.

Focusing on this year’s game in East Hartford, though, it seems like the Illini may have an advantage. And that’s a good thing.

UConn hasn’t been a historically great football school, proved by an all-time losing record (502-542-38) and 25 conference championships (but none since an 8-5 season and a Big East title in 2010).

And since that title? No winning seasons. No bowls since the St. Petersburg Bowl after the 2015 season. And just seven wins over the past three years — for comparison, Illinois even has more (nine) in that same span.

Illinois found a school that you’ve heard of that is even worse than Illinois. Although, UConn might be the only one in that category.

What happened last year???????

You really want to know? I don’t think you do.

Ok, I’ll tell you.

Gulp.

The Huskies went 1-11. The one win was a 56-49 victory over FCS rival Rhode Island.

You don’t want to know anything else about that game. If you do, enjoy.

Let’s learn more about last year’s team, per former SBN genius Bill Connelly. From his S&P preview on UConn, he says that they can’t get worse. They’ve hit bottom. That doesn’t mean it’ll get better, though.

Head coach Randy Edsall was in his second season (in his second tenure) with UConn, and had to hire new coordinators for this season because it was so bad.

On defense, the Huskies allowed 605 points, or 50.4 per game. That actually makes Illinois’ 2018 defense seem good, which allowed just under 40 an outing. Connelly says the offense was the best of the decade for the Huskies, but when you’re allowing that many points, it doesn’t matter.

So will it get better?

Probably not.

According to 247, the Huskies have the 126th-best freshman class in the country in 2019. Their best croot is three-star CB Myles Bell, who went to St. Thomas Aquinas (Mike Epstein’s school).

So don’t look for much of a freshman impact here.

Especially at quarterback, where David Pindell was the best Husky under center in years, running for a single-season UConn record 1,100 yards. But Pindell graduated, and now new offensive coordinator Frank Giufre is left with two true freshmen, one redshirt-freshman, one redshirt-sophomore, and grad transfer Mike Beaudry.

Beaudry played his undergrad at the University of West (??????) Florida in Pensacola, where he was the FIRST-EVER signing for the program that started playing in 2016. He didn’t play too much though. He redshirted in 2015, sat out 2016 with a leg injury, led the Argos to the national championship game in 2017 and then only played in one game last year. He’s West Florida’s late-blooming Mike Dudek.

So, to recap, the defense won’t be better. The QB is oft-injured and backed up by a bunch of younglings. The offense was alright, but the defense was historically bad.

And nobody cares about if UConn stays in the AAC.

Illinois kicks off with the Huskies at 3:30 p.m. on Sept. 7 in East Hartford on CBS Sports Network.

I don’t care what you say, this is a must-win.