Good morning boys and girls, and welcome to our new weekly series—the Monday Mash-up!
As the UConn football season progresses and the losses pile up, we're going to lighten the mood here at The Blog not only with basketball coverage, but a quick discussion of the national scene. We'll run this column, disclosing thoughts on UConn football and the bigger stories across the country, each Monday until the end of the college football year. So, be sure to check back next week. And then the week after. And the week after that. And the week after that. And the week after that. And the...
1.) For those of you who missed last night's announcement revealing the first BCS standings of this season, here they are. The top five go (in order): Alabama, Florida State, Oregon, Ohio State and Missouri. From this view, it's hard to argue this list after the first half of season we've seen. If you like to pick fruitless arguments however, I'll tell you that there's lots of football left, and three of those teams haven't finished or even started marching through the heart of their schedules. My prediction for who will eventually finish no. 1 and no. 2 is below.
2.) If you follow me on Twitter (@UConnFB_Andrew), I apologize in advance for this next point. I've already tweeted this next sentiment a headache-inducing number of times. But apparently, the myth that zone-blocking is any sort of culprit for UConn's struggles apparently needs its own half-hour slot on the Discovery channel to get finished off.
Zone-blocking is run by nearly every, single pro and college team at all levels coast-to-coast. When executed properly, it's highly effective—just like any other scheme in the game of football. This season, zone-blocking has been falsely reported and labeled in the media as a sort of faulty strategy, which leads to inaccurate, poorly informed discussion by fans. So, quit it. Everybody.
Go ask Max Delorenzo how he liked running behind it on his longest gain of the game last Saturday. Or ask fans of the Eagles, Redskins, Patriots, Texans and Chiefs how they feel about the scheme. Their zone-blocking teams are all in the top-10 for NFL rushing offenses. Not to mention Broncos fans of the late '90s, who owe a couple of rings to the concept. If you still disagree, go watch the tape.
3.) Now, I'm all one for charging downhill into battle against cliches, particularly those who make a living in sports. But the old adage that "football is won in the trenches" holds a lot of truth for this team. The offensive line's struggles are well-documented, but the defensive line has been just as underwhelming. Three starting seniors up front have produced only three sacks through six games. Keep in mind that this is a defense that primarily rushes four players at any given snap. So the opportunities have most certainly been there, and they aren't being stolen by blitzing teammates.
4.) AAC commissioner Mike Aresco told the media exactly one week ago that "generally, our league is in good shape". Has he seen the standings? Or a single football game this season? College football accounts for better than 80 percent of the revenue in college sports. Louisville, the AAC's football white knight, was taken down by the then unranked, real knights of Central Florida at HOME (by the way, who in the hell consummated that mascot-school marriage? Knights? In Florida?!).
I quipped about this quote to a friend of mine, and I'll repeat the joke now because I was more proud of it than most I've made in recent memory.
"The first person to leave a season of 'The Biggest Loser' generally is in good shape" -Aresco, presumably.
5.) Two players with "breakout" potential for the Huskies in 2014: Freshmen wide receiver Dhameer Bradley and safety Obi Melifonwu. Each already possess the necessary tools to make big plays, they just have to be refined.
6.) Even in my younger days when college football was a sort of afterthought (shame on me, I know), ESPN's College Gameday was always a must-watch. Now though, I think its my most cherished three hours of television every week. Gameday does such a fabulous job, of course with the lively environment, but also providing need-to-know information, quality analysis, incredible stories, multiple views on the pertinent issues, and wonderful entertainment all at once. It's a rare, rare feat, but the cast and crew absolutely pulls it off. Hats off to Chris Fowler and company.
7.) Baylor is going to set the state of Texas ablaze one of these days. That team is truly unbelievable. I really hope they draw a worth adversary in their inevitable bowl game this post-season and that that opponent packs plenty of flame retardant equipment. After six final guns, the Bears are averaging over 64 points and 714 yards of offense per GAME.
8.) Speaking of total yards, Tim Boyle threw for 310 yards in the Huskies' 41-16 drubbing at Cincinnati. Reason no. 1,402 why total statistics in college football need to be kept in context. Most of those yards came in garbage time and are thus useless if you intend to make an accurate assessment on the game.
9.) UCF is currently listed as a 23-point favorite over UConn for this Saturday's game, and there's many good reasons for that. Even excluding the Huskies' struggles, this Knights team is legit and after their defeat of Louisville last week, is now the favorite to represent the AAC in the BCS. UCF faces only two road games the rest of the year over a slate that consists of UConn, Temple, SMU, Rutgers, Houston and USF. Find me a better cake walk in this sport, and I will hand deliver you a fine marble cake myself.
10.) For years, college football has deserved an Alabama-Oregon matchup in the title game. For at least one more season, we're going to have to wait. Allow me to walk out on most brittle limb here, and tell you that this year's championship will feature Alabama and Florida State. Don't ask me for a winner yet, but I can't say I wouldn't be rooting for the Seminoles and deathly afraid of Nick Saban.
For all things UConn Football, follow Andrew on Twitter: @UConnFB_Andrew.