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Scouting The Opposition: Week 1

Youngstown State's Andre Stubbs scores a touchdown Saturday. Not pictured: defensive players probably rated three stars by Rivals. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-US PRESSWIRE
Youngstown State's Andre Stubbs scores a touchdown Saturday. Not pictured: defensive players probably rated three stars by Rivals. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-US PRESSWIRE

Welcome to Scouting The Opposition, our weekly look at how UConn’s 2012 opponents fared.

If you’re on UConn’s 2012 football schedule, you probably had a rough week. That is the takeaway from an odd opening weekend of college football, one that saw teams throughout the country struggle with the MAC and FCS teams. Just five of the 12 teams on the Huskies’ schedule opened their season with victories, and one suffered a comically embarrassing loss:

1. UMass (0-1)

Last week: L, 0-37 at UConn

Next week: vs. Indiana (Saturday, 3:30 p.m., ESPN3)

Of note: Welcome to the big time, fellas! I hope we continue to beat you by five touchdowns every time we play, and you’ll have no bigger fan when you eventually play that school up in Chestnut Hill

2. NC State (0-1)

Last week: L, 21-35 vs. Tennessee (at Georgia Dome)

Next week: at UConn (Saturday, noon, SNY)

Of note: The Wolfpack put up more than 400 yards on offense against Tennessee, but was an absolute sieve (333 yards passing, nearly 200 rushing) against the Vols’ offense. NC State also committed 4 turnovers, which kept this from being a much closer game.

3. Maryland (1-0)

Last week: W, 7-6 vs. William & Mary

Next week: at Temple (Saturday, noon, ESPNU)

Of note: This was a misleading outcome as, to steal/paraphrase a line from a brilliant Boneyard post, Randy Edsall was not aware that he had to prepare for both William AND Mary. Maryland scored the go-ahead touchdown with 9:52 left in the fourth quarter and hung on. The Terp defense looks pretty good, allowing a decent FCS team just 229 yards and a couple of field goals (both set up by turnovers). The offense was an utter catastrophe, managing 236 yards and 13 first downs, though. So basically, Sept. 15 is going to be the least aesthetically-pleasing game in sports history.

4. Western Michigan (0-1)

Last week: L, 7-24 at Illinois

Next week: vs. Eastern Illinois (Saturday, 7 p.m., ESPN3)

Of note: The Broncos hung around, and the stats were pretty much even, but WMU committed four turnovers and were never closer than 10 points over the game’s final 50 minutes. Dangerous QB Alex Carder, who helped WMU beat UConn last year, threw for 265 yards with three picks.

5. Buffalo (0-1)

Last week: L, 23-45 at #6 Georgia

Next week: vs. Morgan State (Saturday, 6 p.m., TWNY if you’re in upstate NY)

Of note: The Bulls actually played Georgia tough for a half, going into the break down 24-16. With Buffalo's schedule including games with Morgan State and UConn, they are 75 percent of the way to reforming the Fab Four that was the Storrs Regional of the 2007 Coaches vs. Cancer 2K Sports Classic. (That was the one where Gardner-Webb beat Kentucky and UConn gave eventual national runner-up Memphis a decent game at MSG.) The fourth team, of course, was the legendary Ohio Valley College, a D-II school located somewhere in the Ohio Valley.

6. Rutgers (1-0)

Last week: W, 24-12 at Tulane

Next week: vs. Howard (Saturday, 3:30 p.m., SNY)

Of note: The Scarlet Knights didn’t look terribly great, playing Tulane to a scoreless tie until late in the first half before a crowd of dozens at the Superdome. The Green Wave had possession trailing 10-6 in the fourth, but a Brandon Jones interception return and a 43-yard Gary Nova touchdown pass gave Rutgers enough of a cushion.

7. Temple (1-0)

Last week: W, 41-10 vs. Villanova

Next week: vs. Maryland (Saturday, noon, ESPNU)

Of note: Hey, so at least Temple’s not losing to Villanova any more. After the first week of the season in the Big East, you could make a legitimate case that Temple had the second-most impressive win of any league team. Yikes.

8. Syracuse (0-1)

Last week: L, 41-42 vs. Northwestern

Next week: vs. USC (at MetLife Stadium; Saturday, 3:30 p.m., ABC/ESPN2)

Of note: I thought that Northwestern easing to a blowout win before a depressed stream of Carrier dome fans would be great, but I overlooked a crucial fact: that the Orange blowing a six-point lead with 2:00 left, thanks to an iffy late hit out of bounds call would be so much better. QB Ryan Nassib is legit, but I otherwise look forward to seeing Lane Kiffin use the Orange defense as his own personal plaything.

9. South Florida (1-0)

Last week: W, 34-13 vs. Chattanooga

This week: at Nevada (Saturday, 3:35 p.m., CBS Sports Network)

Of note: B.J. Daniels had 265 yards and three touchdowns. "This is B.J. Daniels’ year to break out!" said all of us sarcastically in December after USF is 8-4 and in fourth place.

10. Pittsburgh (0-1)

Last week: L, 17-31 vs. Youngstown State

Next week: at Cincinnati (Thursday, 8 p.m., ESPN)

Of note: Tough week for the Panthers, who were manhandled at home by a I-AA team. As proud members of the Atlantic Coast Conference, I’m sure Pitt will bounce back from this terribly embarrassing defeat in no time.

11. Louisville (1-0)

Last week: W, 32-14 vs. Kentucky

This week: vs. Missouri State (Saturday, 3:30 p.m., ESPN3)

Of note:The Cardinals' offense is damn good, and Teddy Bridgewater is head and shoulders above any other quarterback in the Big East. I think I'd be OK with Louisville going 11-1 and rolling over someone in the BCS, although they might be a year away from being that good. Kentucky moved the ball effectively against the UL defense, but it's hard to see the Cards as anything but the favorite to win the league.

12. Cincinnati (0-0)

Last week: Bye

This week: vs. Pittsburgh (Thursday, 8 p.m., ESPN) Of note: I read quite a bit about Big East football and even I have no goddamn clue how good Cincinnati is, so thanks for giving me nothing to go on, guys.