Yesterday UConn announced the 2014 schedule for the football team:
|Friday, August 29th||BYU||8:00pm (ESPN)||Rentschler Field, East Hartford, CT|
|Saturday, September 6th||Stony Brook||TBA||Rentschler Field|
|Saturday, September 13th||Boise State||TBA||Rentschler Field|
|Friday, September 19th||@USF||TBA (ESPN/ESPN2)||Raymond James Stadium, Tampa, FL|
|Saturday, September 27th||Temple||TBA||Rentschler Field|
|Saturday, October 11th||@Tulane||TBA||Yulman Stadium, New Orleans, LA|
|Thursday, October 23rd||@East Carolina||TBA (ESPNU)||Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium, Greenville, NC|
|Saturday, November 1st||UCF||TBA||Rentschler Field|
|Saturday, November 8th||Army||TBA (CBS Sports)||Yankee Stadium, NY, NY|
|Saturday, November 22nd||Cincinnati||TBA||Rentschler Field|
|Saturday, November 29th||@Memphis||TBA||Liberty Bowl Memorial Stadium, Memphis, TN|
|Saturday, December 6th||SMU||TBA||Rentschler Field|
There are six teams who played in a bowl game last season. Four of those will be at home including a November tilt with Fiesta Bowl champion UCF. The Knights beat the No. 6 ranked Baylor Bears in the greatest upset in BCS history. They're losing star QB Blake Bortles, who will be a Top 5 pick in May, but are still a marquee match up and likely the highest quality opponent of the season.
UConn will be hosting the top two teams in The American next year with Cincinnati also travelling to Connecticut for it's match-up with the Huskies. Coming off a 9-4 season which ended with a loss to UNC in the Belk Bowl, the Bearcats only lost two conference games last year. This year, without Louisville in the picture and a Bortles-less UCF, they could win The American.
The non-conference schedule is actually pretty decent. The Huskies will have very winnable games against FCS Stony Brook and at Yankee Stadium against Army. Then there are two games against solid teams who also reside outside of the current 'power conferences' in BYU and Boise State. Boise State, a school who once planned on joining the Big East, is in the Mountain West and BYU is one of four Independent FCS schools.
The away slate is not all that tough, and there are only four games. The Huskies will visit two newcomers to the conference in New Orleans and Greenville, North Carolina. Both are of interest. I'm sure I don't need to do much convincing on the merits of making a weekend trip to New Orleans, but the game at East Carolina has appeal as well. Hear me out.
I have read multiple accounts lauding the experience at Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium in Greenville, NC. The students are passionate, they know how to have fun; the stadium is right on campus and football fever dominates the town on Saturdays. Carolina BBQ is one of the most amazing things in the world and as it starts to get cold up North, it could be a fun late-October getaway. If you're not a student, maybe take some time off work and spend a couple of days in Myrtle Beach or Washington DC. You root for UConn, the world is your oyster.
In his rookie campaign, Bob Diaco will enjoy a very favorable 7-to-4 split of home games and the opportunity to play Memphis and Temple. I count those two and the two easier non-conference games as four games that absolutely should be won. Then there's about four or five where UConn has a legitimate shot: BYU, USF, Tulane, ECU and SMU. There are three games where the Huskies are clear underdogs: Boise State, UCF and Cincinnati.
Six wins would get UConn to bowl eligibility. Do you think Bob Diaco can end the three-year drought in his first try?