UConn Blog Staff Predictions

Jared Wickerham

Bookmark this so you can make fun once the season is over and we were all wrong

We've made it, college football season is upon us. In anticipation of the coming season your friends at the UConn Blog offer predictions for your viewing pleasure.

Feel free to share your own in the comments!

Aman

AAC Final Standings:

1. Louisville

2. Cincinnati

3. Rutgers

4. UCF

5. USF

6. UConn

7. Houston

8. SMU

9. Temple

10. Memphis

Not to dismiss all of the work I did to guess the final standings, but the only sure thing here is who lands number one and two. After that... it's kind of wide open. We could even snag third!

UConn Record: 6-6

UConn MVP: I want to go with Yawin Smallwood here, dudes an absolute monster. But seriously guys, how many times does a linebacker win MVP? I'm going with Lyle McCombs.

UConn LVP: I hate to single out people, but I'll just say that I'm worried about the defensive secondary. With fewer threats in the pass rush, we will be susceptible to aerial attacks

Bold prediction: I have two.

1. Cincinnati beats Louisville on Dec. 5 to ruin their perfect season.

2. UConn shows remarkable offensive improvement.

Is HCPP Coach in 2014?

No, I think he gets fired. I also don't hate Porter's theory below.

Andrew Porter

AAC Final Standings:
I'll be honest and say I haven't done enough studying up on our new playmates to make anything close to a real prediction. I will say this though, I would not be the least bit surprised to see Cincinnati finish ahead of Louisville. Never forget, Louisville lost a home game to UConn last year.

UConn record: 4-8

UConn MVP: Chandler Whitmer
I liked him more than most last year and I still think he's easily the best UConn QB since Orlovsky. His line has had a year to gel together, and as long as he stays healthy, I think he'll be much more productive than UConn realizes.

UConn LVP: The secondary. All of it. Last year might be a painful blur of losses, but the death blow in most of the games were backbreaking deep passes. As you may have heard, most of the guys involved in that unit are now playing on Sundays. The d-line got weaker too, so get ready to see a lot of 3rd-and-long conversions and deep touchdowns.

Is HCPP Coaching in 2014 and bold prediction double feature:
No. No he does not. He has been set up to fail and most certainly will. Warde Manuel made it clear after last season that another sub-.500 year wouldn't cut it, and as luck would have it UConn is about to face a schedule exponentially tougher than the past few years. Manuel's also a football guy who will be looking to make his mark after Ollie was forced on him. PP has already been fitted for his noose.

So here's your bold prediction: UConn's next football coach will be Turner Gill. He bombed out at Kansas, yes, but that was a losing situation to begin with. You know where he did win? Buffalo, which is A) A northeast school and B) Even harder to win at than UConn.

Oh, and who hired Gill at Buffalo and had a front-row seat for his success? A guy you may have heard of named Warde Manuel.

John Rook

AAC Final Standings

1.) Louisville

2.) Cincinnati

3.) UCF

4.) SMU

5.) USF

6.) Houston

7.) UConn

8.) Rutgers

9.) Temple

10.) Memphis

Not a shocker...I think this lines up with what a lot of people have said already, perhaps with the exception being Rutgers that low. I just think USF will be a little better than anticipated and Rutgers not so much. I also think Louisville won't just easily walk through this conference like everyone is predicting. Cincinnati and UCF could beat them, I believe, and there will be another scare in there. In fact, I believe Louisville loses a game this year, but edges out Cincinnati to win the conference.

UConn Record: 6-6

This is equally the most optimistic and completely uninspiring record I could come up with. I think UConn, in a weaker conference than last year, but with a more difficult out-of-conference schedule, pulls off the dreaded "ehhh" record of 6-6 and gets into some low-level bowl game. You can make a case for 7-5, you can certainly, easily, without question make a case for 5-7 again, but 6-6 seems about right to me. It just seems to feel right. It kind of lines up with what I think about Coach PP as a whole-just good enough to be bad, but not terrible. God, the season hasn't started yet and I'm looking for my Tums.

UConn MVP: Yawin Smallwood

I thought about going with Chandler Whitmer here because I do expect the offense to be better under TJ Weist and with a lot of returning upperclassmen, but... come on. I mean the kid is a beast, almost everyone is picking him to the best defensive player in the conference, he's on every defensive-minded "watch list" around the country.

He's a star in the making.

A couple of posts back I wrote that Smallwood might end up being the best defensive player to come out of UConn. He might end up being the best...period. So, how could I NOT pick him to be the team's MVP.

UConn LVP: The offensive line

I know the narrative this offseason has been about how "experienced" the line is coming back, with so many starters from last year returning. But, umm... that's kinda not great, considering how God-awful the line was last year. I mean, I'm not 100 percent sure why another year of this group being together will turn them from "please get off the field before you kill your quarterback, running back, and whatever cheerleaders might be standing too close to the sidelines" into this immoveable force of brute strength bending defenses to their will.

I might be wrong but I just don't have confidence in this line, at all.

Bold prediction: UConn will scare the living SH*T out of Michigan

Is this a bold prediction? Maybe not. I mean, I'd love to predict a win here. I'd love to say the Huskies beat the Wolverines in what would be one of the biggest upsets of the young season, but.....I....I just can't. I asks for us to make "bold" predictions, not "dumbass" predictions.

But I do think UConn puts the fear of God into the Wolverines.

Look, the Big 10 has been living on reputation for a while now, bringing more brand name than talent into each contest. The separation between a Big 10 team and an American team is, in my mind, much smaller than the Ann Arbor faithful would have you believe. On top of that, I think this is a decent "trap" game for Michigan. Are they really gonna be hyped for a game in Hartford a week before they begin their Big 10 schedule, after having already played Notre Dame? I could see the Wolverines sort of sleep walking through the first half, letting a better-than-anticipated UConn team to get a turnover or two, get the crowd pumped up, and put some points on the board.

Michigan, being the better, more talented team, pulls out a win I think, but my prediction is that the college football world is following that score all day to see if the Huskies can pull off the upset.

Is HCPP coach in 2014? No

I'll say this...at 6-6 (my record prediction) I'd be worried that Pasqualoni, earning a trip to some no-name bowl, would have done the absolute minimum to retain his job. However, I don't think it will be good enough for Warde Manuel. I think 7 or 8 wins is the only thing that gets Coach PP back on the UConn sidelines next year. It would mean some surprising wins from UConn. It would mean a good to very good season.

Hopefully, I'm wrong about this because I want UConn to start play in The American by slapping a few people around a bit and, in the infamous words of Nuke LaLoosh, announce their presence with authority. However, I think, with a young defense, unknown offense, and solid out-of-conference schedule, it's going to be tough.

I think Coach PP gets canned fairly quickly after the regular season ends...and then the always fun "who's going to be the next head coach?" conversation can begin.

Andrew Callahan

AAC Final Standings:

  1. Louisville
  2. Cincinnati
  3. UCF
  4. Houston
  5. UConn
  6. Rutgers
  7. USF
  8. SMU
  9. Temple
  10. Memphis

UConn Record: 6-6

UConn MVP: MLB Yawin Smallwood

UConn LVP: DE Tim Willman (the depth behind him becomes too much to hold off)

Bold prediction: Redshirt freshman Ellis Marder is a full-time starter in the secondary at season's end.

Is HCPP back in 2014?: No.

The Huskies go 2-2 after the first month, and win at home against Memphis in their season finale to reach a bowl game for the first time in the Paul Pasqualoni era. The reason PP doesn't return is because his UConn squads' tendency to turn the ball over is likely to bite them in a bowl game, which they'd then likely lose and hence, lead to his firing. I'd like slot this team at 7-5, but their lack of depth in the secondary right now is too worrisome. Furthermore, Whitmer's performance in camp doesn't appear to be enough of an improvement to predict a much better record, and while the offense will be better, too many playmakers were lost defensively to make a big leap from 5-7. But hey, 6-6, a more exciting offense and a bowl game ain't half-bad.

Mac Cerullo

AAC Final Standings

  1. Louisville
  2. Cincinnati
  3. UCF
  4. Rutgers
  5. UConn
  6. Houston
  7. USF
  8. SMU
  9. Temple
  10. Memphis

I don't think I'm going out on a limb by projecting Louisville and Cincinnati at the top of the conference, but I have a feeling that UConn will be able to win enough games to creep into the top half at the very least.

UConn Record: 8-4 (5-3)

Specifically, I think UConn should do well in the non-conference schedule (wins over Towson, Maryland and Buffalo) and there should be enough low hanging fruit within The American to expect three or four wins at the minimum. I think Memphis and Temple are no-brainers, USF and SMU are plenty doable, and if the team steps up then an upset of one of the conference's stronger teams could even be in the cards too.

UConn MVP: Yawin Smallwood

Say what you will about Chandler Whitmer, the wide receivers and the offensive line needing to step up, but Yawin Smallwood is UConn's best player, and the team's fate will be determined largely by how well he performs this year.

UConn LVP: Scott McCummings

McCummings played the most tame wildcat position football has ever seen last season, and to follow up on that performance, he showed up at camp this year tremendously overweight and then promptly got injured and will miss the whole season. You hate to pile on the guy, but come on.

Bold prediction: UConn will upset either UCF or Rutgers

It seems like since Pasqualoni took over the reins as head coach, the Huskies have always managed to steal one game they have no business winning to even out the handful of horrible losses that can't be explained. First it was Rutgers in 2011, and last year it was Louisville. This year I think it could be UCF or Rutgers again, neither would be as colossal an upset, but they could make a big difference in the final standings when all is said and done.

(How awesome would it be if we beat Michigan though?)

Is HCPP coach in 2014?

If the season plays out the way I've predicted then he just might, but I still hope that when all is said and done, Warde Manuel will still look at the big picture and recognize that Pasqualoni isn't UConn's long-term solution.

---

So to summarize: We all think UConn will fall somewhere in the middle of the pack (even Mac, despite a lofty 8-4 prediction) We all think Memphis will suck the most and we all love Yawin Smallwood.

Enjoy the games tonight and smile everybody, football's back.

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