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TheRoundUp 12/31: BCS, Stanford and USF super-sized edition

A massive amount of good stuff out there today. I'll lead with football, men's and women's basketball will be after the jump.

Blog debate: Can UConn hang with OU? - College Football Nation Blog - ESPN
Well, I think we can all agree that if Oklahoma comes out and plays its best, it's going to win the game. It's simply more talented in nearly every area. But this is college football, and talent doesn't always carry the day. UConn's recipe for success here isn't revolutionary. It needs to win the turnover battle, probably decisively. It needs to win third down on both sides of the ball. It needs to establish its running game and play keep-away from a potent Sooners offense.

UConn Turned It Around After Brutal Loss To Louisville -
"I think [we were] playing every game just as its own entity, not worrying about the next game, not worrying about, 'OK, if we win this, we have a better chance now,'" quarterback Zach Frazer said. "Closer to the end, against South Florida, we realized, 'We're in this position. We control our own destiny. If we win this, we go to the Fiesta Bowl.'"

UConn Will Have Hands Full With Oklahoma's Uptempo Offense -
Coach Bob Stoops installed the spread offense at Oklahoma when he was named head coach in 1999, but the pace and rhythm are relatively new. The Sooners (11-2) ran 1,131 plays this season — the most in the nation and 353 more than the 778 plays Fiesta Bowl opponent UConn ran out of its no-huddle approach.

OU, UConn very different teams -
"We want power. We will move on it all game if we need to," Connecticut offensive tackle Zach Hurd said. "That’s what everyone knows us for. We got after it."

UConn's surprise arrival is the talk of the BCS
On the flip side, how did UConn manage this feat in just its seventh year in the Big East – and just a decade removed from playing the likes of Rhode Island and UMass in the Division I-AA’s Yankee Conference?

Huskies keep memory of slain teammate in their hearts |
"When we lost Jaz, the whole team came together and we realized how much we mean to each other," said cornerback Blidi Wreh-Wilson, who replaced Howard in the starting lineup. "There’s now almost a love for one another that I’ve never seen on any team I’ve ever been a part of. You never see anyone making fun of someone, or anything like that in a rude manner.

UConn plucked linebacker Lawrence Wilson from football country |
Wilson was headed to junior college before UConn took a flyer on him. Now he’s an all-Big East linebacker who will lead the Huskies in the Fiesta Bowl against OU.

UConn's Punter Is Calm, Cole And Collected - Hartford Courant
"It really is a huge role and I love that part about the position," Wagner said. "I love the pressure, but really, the fact this is a BCS game really doesn't bother me. I've had pressure situations already this year whether it's punting out of the end zone at Rutgers with the student section behind me or in the Big House [Michigan], my first ever punt. Stuff like that, you just have to block out to where it just becomes a kick."

In Defeat, UConn Sees Chance to Forge a New Identity -
"You saw how easily it happened tonight," he said of his team’s exposed frailty — the 5-for-15 shooting and 14 mostly peripheral points by Moore, the frigid 20-for-61 shooting as a team, the inability to keep Stanford from pounding the ball inside and lofting it from outside, the failure of the Huskies to rise to the moment. "It’s unimaginable you could go that long without it happening — more than once."

Reid column: Pohlen's Wiggins-esque performance puts kibosh on UConn streak - San Jose Mercury News
It was Pohlen who hit six straight free throws in the final 42 seconds to ice the game, ending the night 10-for-10 from the line. It was Pohlen who lobbed a pass ahead to Chiney Ogwumike for a fastbreak hoop and a 63-55 lead with 2:39 to play. It was Pohlen who came out smoking from the perimeter, staking the Cardinal to a 3-0 lead with a 3-pointer, then a 6-2 lead with another trey. She was 5-for-9 from beyond the arc, helping to open the interior for the Cardinal offense.

The Day - Huskies deal with first growing pain | News from southeastern Connecticut
"We are who we are, which I like," Calhoun said. "We're still in the growing process. We're going to have bumps in the road. I said that a long time ago. We won't be a full team in a sense till probably next year, to be honest with you, until some of these kids get experience. But we are good enough to continue to make progress. And I think, and more importantly I believe, that we'll progress better than some of the other (Big East) teams."

UConn men have no time to worry about loss with Bulls coming to town - The Middletown Press : Serving Middletown, CT
The Bulls, a traditional Big East doormat, are one of just two of the conference’s teams with a losing record (6-8) right now. They’ve lost to James Madison and Florida Atlantic, among others, and dropped their Big East opener on Tuesday at Seton Hall, 64-55.

Coming Off First Loss, UConn Plays South Florida - Hartford Courant
The No. 4 Huskies are not in dire straits after a 78-63 loss to the No. 6 Panthers, a game Calhoun called perhaps the most difficult imaginable test for an inexperienced team in the conference opener. But they are looking to fine-tune some things, get some players more established and regain some of the swagger lost Monday at the Petersen Events Center.

Boys basketball | East Aurora final: UConn-bound Ryan Boatright's 43 not enough as East Aurora fall short against Peoria Central - Chicago Tribune
But after a resounding comeback, the Connecticut-bound Boatright and the Tomcats fell 75-72 to Peoria Central. Trailing 58-44 with under three minutes left in the third quarter, East Aurora went on a 12-0 run to pull within two in the first minute of the fourth. Boatright, who had a game-high 43 points, scored 10 during the spurt, which ended with his steal and slam.