Gametime/TV: 8pm on ESPN
Location: Raymond James Stadium, Tampa, FL
Broadcast Team: Dave Fleming, Danny Kanell and Allison Williams
Radio: WTIC-AM - Joe D'Ambrosio, Wayne Norman, Kevin Nathan
Vegas Line: UConn +3
Forecast: 70's with a 50% chance of rain. Raining right now.
History: These teams are meeting for the twelfth time, with USF holding a 6-5 lead in the series
I was going to make a crappy joke here, but it looks like the UConn Athletic Department beat me to it. Anyway...
The UConn football team is in Tampa, Florida today for their first road game of the season against the USF Bulls. The game will also be the opener in conference play for both teams. Bob Diaco has been looking at the season in quarters, stating that the team was in a preparation phase for the first three games. After rotating a lot of different players, and using a basic form of the playbook, hopefully Diaco and his staff have figured out what they have and are ready to try and win some games.
This South Florida team is definitely a beatable one. They have an even worse quarterback situation than we do, similar offensive line problems and somehow found a way to lose against Maryland despite a +5 turnover advantage, hopefully they are feeling similarly gracious tonight. Ultimately, for either team, it will come down to avoiding mistakes. Both teams are young and both head coaches are working on a rebuild, so turnovers, missed assignments and drive-killing penalties will be the undoing of one of these teams tonight, especially under sub-optimal weather conditions.
This might not be a great showing for the American Conference or the game of football on prime time tonight. The weather will be cruddy, the teams are not that great and attendance will be...modest... after the Bulls were only able to attract 17,000 to their game against NC State last week. Maybe their true fans have a deep, spirited hatred for UConn given our history but I think we'll see considerably less than that on a night that will compete with High School football and the general revelry of a Friday night.
Chandler Whitmer will be getting his third start today after a very promising outing as the number one guy last week. He needs to build on that solid performance and lead this offense to success in a winnable game. If the defense can hold, it will be on the O-line and Whitmer to get UConn the win.
Tonight I'm expecting a Husky team that looks different from the one we've seen thorough three games so far this season. The Huskies have faced tougher competition thus far so I'm optimistic we are slightly more prepared for tonight's challenge. Never rule anything out, though, when these two teams meet.
Can UConn avoid mistakes? Can the O-line keep Whitmer somewhat clean in the pocket? Will the Offensive Coordinator Mike Cummings do more to scheme around our weaknesses up front? We'll see.