UConn 19, South Florida 16: Welcome To The New BCS Reality

The way our brains are wired, we're meant to see events as part of a meaningful pattern.

For UConn football fans, it means evaluating the rise of this former I-AA doormat in terms of a straight, ascendent line on a graph. We're supposed to be getting better every year, winning more and more games, growing slowly and slowly more powerful. Through the first seven games of the season, that was decidedly not happening, which is why some of us went apopleptic in October.

Funny how things can change in five weeks, and how they change in such marginal ways.

Five weeks later - five stunning, improbable, so-crazy-you-would-have-been-institutionalized-if-you-predicted-it weeks - Randy Edsall, with the help of Jordan Todman, Dave Teggart and a cast of no-names, has crossed the Rubicon.

And UConn is in the Bowl Championship Series in its 10th year as a Division I-A program.

They're icing Teggart now...

Back to that pattern conceit I opened with.

Hold your breath...

Here's the thing about preseason expectations: they never quite work out. We've been saying UConn could win the Big East for over a year. And all the losses, all the poor play, all the lousy quarterbacking - and there was a ton of it this year - none of it ever eliminated UConn from that goal.

Holy crap, that's right on line...

Blame a down year for the Big East, blame some of the "better" teams for not taking control when they had the chance. Blame whoever you want. But you let UConn hang around, and we took it from you.

HOLY CRAP, THAT LOOKS LONG ENOUGH

In the end, we said they could win the Big East, and that's just what they did, thanks to Teggart's miracle 52-yarder late Saturday into the cool Tampa sky, quieting an angry crowd of USF onlookers and launching UConn into an already-derisive national spotlight.

OH MY GOD IT'S GOOD OH MY GOD IT'S GOOD

UConn 19, South Florida 16.

The Huskies did the bare minimum of what they needed to do to crash the NCAA's big-money bowl party, but right now, it could not make one damn bit of difference how Edsall and UConn got it done. College football is the ultimate beauty contest, and in that contest, UConn of course doesn't fare well.

But we've found the one loophole in the whole corrupt system that rewards performance over style points.

We finished tied with two other teams for the best record in the Big East. And we beat both of those teams. Yes, we beat both of those teams at home under the lights. Yes, those two wins came by the combined score of 46-41. Yes, UConn benefitted from some incredibly well-timed turnovers in each game, as Edsall's teams somehow do more often than most. Yes, if they played Pitt and West Virginia 5 times each, UConn probably doesn't finish with a better record than either.

But "better" ain't got nothing to do with it. The judges can't take away those wins, and the girl with the mole is taking home the cash prize.

We've navigated and conquered the sporting world's stupidest postseason system, and UConn's reward is to be cast as heavy underdogs against whomever they play.

It's at that point, that historic point where Teggart's kick crossed the plane of the crossbar, is where all certainty ends and the weird haze begins.

The immediate future - make sure you read this tweet with ominous music on in the background - is riddled with uncertainty. Ride the endorphin buzz as long as you can. Enjoy the sweetness of this night. The ones who mock UConn (and lord knows reflexively mocking an 8-4 Big East team will become the refuge of lazy pundits with nothing of worth to add) can have their say. We'll keep the trophy, and the feeling we felt tonight.

And we'll talk about UConn's BCS opponent, probably Oklahoma in Glendale, soon enough.

Let's hope we leave their fans as mad as the fans of West Virginia, Pittsburgh, Syracuse, Cincinnati and South Florida. Let's hope we leave their fans saying "How did we lose to those scrubs?"

If not, well, that's fine. Because UConn somehow, someway validated our wildest hopes for this fledgling program, years before anyone outside Storrs thought they could.

I love you all.

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