Honestly, at this point what else is there to say about this team?
I could go into detail about everything that went wrong for the Huskies today, about how they fell behind 45-10 by halftime, turned the ball over four times and just looked lost on defense, but really, what's the point? This was just the latest in a series of disastrous performances by the Huskies this year, and it's getting to the point where I'm starting to worry that Andrew might lose his mind if he keeps having to watch this team on film.
At the end of the day, these are the facts. UConn was just annihilated 62-17 on the road by UCF, which is probably the best team UConn will face all season and in all likelihood will represent The American in the BCS at the end of the year. The team is now 0-7, eliminated from bowl contention and will most likely fall to 0-8 after the last bye week when the Huskies bite the Teddy Bridgewater bullet at home against Louisville on Nov. 8.
After that, the team will have a couple of potentially winnable games against Southern Methodist (2-4), Temple (1-6) and Memphis (1-5), but at this point who even gives a damn. UConn winning one or two games against other bad teams isn't going to make people remember this season any more fondly. It's not going to change the narrative that UConn's football program has fallen off a cliff, and it's not going to make people suddenly respect the school or this conference.
Hell, if we're being honest, getting blown out by UCF probably helps with that more than anything, because at least UCF succeeding will give The American some kind of boost. Whether we like it or not, this conference is going to be our home for at least the next few years, and unless we can turn things around and get back to where we were a few years ago, it's going to be our home for a lot longer, because why would the ACC or the Big Ten want a winless program in a poor recruiting area that can't even regularly sell out a stadium that's a third the size of some of their current members'?
That's our reality, and the only thing that's going to make things any better is time, hard work and good decision making. Paul Pasqualoni and George DeLeone are already gone, and so is Jeff Hathaway, who is at least as responsible for this mess as anybody else. The recruiting over the past few years has not been good, and the results on the field reflect that, but there's nothing we can do in the meantime to make any of that better, unless T.J. Weist can somehow kidnap all of Alabama's starters and convince the NCAA that he found them all in the gym and invited them to be walk-ons.
So what do we do? Take our lumps now, and then when the final whistle blows at the end of the year, we build the program up the same way every other great program is built.
Whoever Warde Manuel hires as permanent head coach after this year has to be the right guy. We can't afford another Pasqualoni, who couldn't coach or recruit and was as inspiring as a wet noodle. We need someone who can sell this program. We need someone who can get the fans and the boosters to buy in again. Most important of all, we need someone who can make UConn football relevant.
That last part will be a challenge, but despite all of the disadvantages that UConn faces compared to the Alabamas and Ohio States of the world, we've seen time and time again that any program can matter if it has the right guy at the top.
Just look at Boise State, would you have guessed 20 years ago that an upstart program in Idaho could ever become a nationally ranked power? How about Syracuse, who during an earlier period of conference realignment actually replaced Coach P with Greg Robinson – probably the most hapless college coach of the 21st century – and somehow still recovered to semi-respectability, at least enough to meet the ACC's standards.
Actually, maybe the best example is UCF themselves. When George O'Leary took over that program in 2004, they were coming off a 3-9 season in the MAC. Then in his first year as coach, they went 0-11. But the year after that? They went 8-5 and reached the Conference USA championship game in their first year in that league. Overall, O'Leary has had five winning seasons at UCF, including three 10-win seasons and two conference championships. I think its safe to say most UConn fans would kill to have a run like that.
The bottom line is, there are a lot of things that UConn is going to have to do to get out of this hole, and none of them can be accomplished on the field this season. This won't be the last game that UConn loses this year, and in all likelihood it won't be the last time they get blown out either, so really the only thing left to do for us as fans is tough it out, and hopefully our patience will be rewarded in the years to come.