It's been a couple days. How's everyone doing? It still stings a bit, doesn't it?
Man, that was a truly special UConn game Saturday. We were dead, then we weren't. We had Navy sunk, then we let them off the hook. That was the most painful 17 seconds I'd experienced since...
That hockey game is still worse, though. We need to chill about that football game.
I'm jumping the gun a bit here. I had so much fun exploring the bad takes last week that I decided to do it all again.
Take: Syracuse will have many great wins, including UConn
UNC, Duke, Wisconsin, GTown, the state of SC, UConn....@Cuse_MBB is gonna have a lot of great wins this season :) https://t.co/wxHDDyWKgA— Alan Cavanna (@CopaCavanna) September 12, 2016
I'll take this as a compliment toward UConn, but I'll also laugh at the idea of Syracuse beating UConn on the road. This is the Huskies' lone home game at Madison Square Garden this year, and while the Orange faithful will come in cocky on the back of the luckiest Final Four run ever, I hope they leave as disappointed as the kid who tried to throw a snowball at me after that last game in Hartford.
Do you want more doormat teams in the ACC? #SayNoToUConn— Angry Clemson Fan (@AngryClemsonFan) September 10, 2016
In fairness, I get why Clemson would want nothing to do with UConn. After all, they were victims of Tate George's first major theft.
There's also the business of Ryan Fuller's walk-off hit at Clemson that sent UConn's baseball team to the 2011 NCAA Super Regionals.
A couple real gripes with this anti-UConn stuff from Clemson fans, of all people. First off, UConn to the ACC is an unfounded concept right now. It is perceived as a possibility by some random people if Notre Dame decides to drop its football independence, but when would that happen? And what would Clemson have to complain about if adding UConn is a direct result of Notre Dame becoming a full member? Considering UConn is arguably (with a chance to prove definitely) better at the moment than Virginia, Syracuse and Boston College in football, adding both would have no negative repercussions for a conference that would boast at least three of the elite programs in the nation at the moment.
I know, I know, football drives realignment, and Clemson is an SEC-style fanbase trapped in the ACC's clutches, but considering Clemson's baseball and men's soccer success, along with their decent men's basketball (improved from 80th to 48th in KenPom last season), the non-football sports would surely appreciate the addition of a school with strong programs across the board.
Take: Fire Bob Diaco! Bob Diaco sucks!
Bob Diaco needs to be fired. Enough is enough— Chill Smith (@ChixDigThaBeard) September 10, 2016
Bob Diaco just sucks https://t.co/PU0TL3409q— Greg Jones (@WOOKIE318) September 10, 2016
After UConn lost Saturday, my initial reaction was nearsighted. I had lost respect for Bob Diaco. In my shock and disbelief, I felt ready to react like the people who sent the above tweets. I was angry. I had just witnessed one of the best drives in UConn football history, a capper to the end of one of the best UConn offensive displays ever. That last drive, it reminded me of Tom Brady leading the Patriots down the field to set up Adam Vinatieri at the end of Super Bowl XXXVI.
Then, the debacle with the timeout. I was speechless. Where seconds before there was excitement and optimism, there was now despair and fury. I hated Bob Diaco.
I quickly realized what an idiot I was for that brief window of time.
This was the man who took the UConn Paul Pasqualoni left behind and turned it into a bowl team in two years. He brought us to our first bowl game in five years. He brought us to victory over Houston. He brought us a quarterback. We hadn't had one of those since Dan Orlovsky. (We made a BCS game with Zach Frazier under center. Imagine what we could do with a guy who could actually play.)
And he's the guy who brought us to our emotional peak Saturday afternoon. Think about what that game made you feel. They were down 21-0 early to a team ranked 36th out of 120-whatever in the country. It was over. No one comes back from that against Navy, especially UConn. First, the Maine game, now this. It can't be this bad, right?
We didn't just come back. We stormed back. In the blink of an eye, it was 24-21. The offense was rolling. The defense was wrecking. Everything seemed to be coming together.
We're all angry about what happened. It was horrible. It was shocking. It was devastating. Because we had it. We had one of the gutsiest wins of the 2016 college football season in our clutches.
But the way I know you felt, you probably haven't felt that way watching this team in five years. That was the UConn we fell in love with, the one that would look a seemingly-superior opponent in the eyes and show no fear. The UConn that may not be flowing with talent offensively, but it could punch above its weight and put the defense in position do what it does best. That's UConn football, what it was, at least.
Under Pasqualoni, we lose that game by 50. The floodgates open early, and Will Worth puts in a performance that would make Lamar Jackson blush. In 2014, that's a blowout. Last year, it's a loss we learn from. We all accept it for what it is and move on.
That we feel the way we do in the aftermath of what happened means Bob Diaco has this team moving in the right direction. It's not always going to be pretty. But damn, if that team plays the way they did for 29:43 in the second half—and if someone can give Diaco a crash course in clock management—I see three winnable games against ACC opponents and an East Division in the American entirely up for grabs.
After the Virginia game Saturday, Diaco will have coached as many games as Pasqualoni (28). Pasqualoni was 10-18, with two 5-7 seasons ahead of an 0-4 start that led to his demise. Mind you, he had the benefit of taking over a team on the back of a trip to the Fiesta Bowl. He then blew the team up with some horrendous recruiting. The raw numbers for Diaco don't look great, as a win over Virginia would give him the exact same record.
If you think Diaco's 10-18 is the same as Pasqualoni's 10-18, you're one of the inspirations for these bad-takes columns. Pasqualoni destroyed the UConn football program – a program that went from FBS independent newbie in 2002 to a Big East contender with a BCS game and wins over Notre Dame, South Carolina and Baylor (twice) under its belt in eight years. Diaco came in and started clearing away the rubble from the first day, systematically building a newer, better program from scratch. That takes more than 28 games. And we've already seen enough to make us believe that the best is yet to come.
Bonus: It's crazy religious person day!
the real question is why does uconn let assholes come every year & yell in our faces that being gay is bad & we're all going to hell ????— sam ☄ (@samgustafson_) September 12, 2016
It's one of the most special days at UConn, right up there with One-Ton Sundae, First Night and Oozeball. Super-Crazy Religious Screaming People Day! If you've never experienced this, it's a freaking sight to behold. A bunch of old guys come to campus with their signs and literature, ready to scream to everyone that we're all sinners and Hell awaits us all.
Honestly, it's great. I've seen some people epically put these morons in their place. There was one guy who got up on the wall with one of the crazy guys and got into a debate, swatting away every dumb statement made like it was a lay-up in Amida Brimah's vicinity. Nothing topped the two women who jumped in front of one of the guys and started kissing, causing a cheer to erupt from the hundred or so people gathered around.
Now, as to why I chose this particular tweet: UConn can't really stop these people from coming. They don't invite them. They're exercising their right to free speech. And, honestly, I'm glad they don't stop them. The absolute smackdown they endure from the UConn community at large is a sight to behold.
Bonus: The great French toast debate
Let's talk about Monday morning. We had some fun on UConn Twitter. Let's start with the backstory.
It's been two days since a Tinder match asked me my thoughts on French toast. I'm starting to think she didn't like my response.— Tim Fontenault (@Tim_Fontenault) September 12, 2016
Now, there's a possibility—however unlikely—that the woman I was talking to has not been back on Tinder since. But it is likelier my opinion on French toast was the end of that conversation.
Listen, French toast sucks. I'm sorry. There's nothing enjoyable about French toast. All the maple syrup in the world doesn't mask that what I'm eating is the inferior alternative to pancakes and waffles. French toast is the Rutgers of breakfast foods. Its origins are in making use of stale bread, which is exactly what I assumed before confirming on Wikipedia. I hate French toast. Y'all didn't seem to agree on that.
I see @Tim_Fontenault's trying to get more people to block him today. https://t.co/vC7WbFnS72— Puneet Nanda (@UConnPuneet) September 12, 2016
My fellow members of #UConnTwitter, I need you all to block @Tim_Fontenault for his inhumane and unexplainable hatred of French Toast.— William Richardson (@WilliamRichJr) September 12, 2016
.@Tim_Fontenault who the hell is desperate enough to match you on Tinder?— Ben Allain (@BenAllain) September 12, 2016
The hell is wrong with you? You probably like mac & cheese out of a box, too. https://t.co/VY5q57u7fV— Ed Daigneault (@EdDaigneault) September 12, 2016
@Tim_Fontenault also you're garbage for that garbage opinion— Russell Steinberg (@Russ_Steinberg) September 12, 2016
@Tim_Fontenault pic.twitter.com/0krtkyxz3E— Michael Peng (@MichaelXPeng) September 12, 2016
Ben was the only person to really strike the important talking point here, so kudos to him.
Some of you have good opinions. Thank you for coming to my aide.
@WilliamRichJr @Tim_Fontenault I'm with ya there Tim. #PancakeGangOrDie— Kathleen McWilliams (@kgmcwilliams) September 12, 2016
@kgmcwilliams @WilliamRichJr @Tim_Fontenault Never understood the appeal of French toast...— Christopher Kelly (@Chris_Pat_Kelly) September 12, 2016
@UConnPuneet @Tim_Fontenault French toast isn’t good. It’s just mushy and gross. Not crazy about waffles either.— Boneyardigans (@UConnFanDotCom) September 12, 2016
I have to say, I much prefer when the debates on UConn Twitter are about stupid things like this as opposed to conference realignment or whether good coaches are bad. Can we keep it that way?
Instead of arguing about UConn things, let's just sit back and watch awesome stuff like this, made by my UConn Blog colleague and known French-toast-bad-opinion-haver Dan Connolly, or anything our friend @tcf_15 has made.