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SP+ metric projects a tough road ahead for UConn football in 2021

ESPN personality Bill Connelly’s college football efficiency measure has the Huskies near the bottom of FBS once again.

Ian Bethune/The UConn Blog

After canceling its 2020 season due to COVID-19 concerns, there’s a black hole of data surrounding UConn football heading into 2021, affecting everything from opponent scouting to Vegas betting odds to the team’s depth chart (or lack thereof).

It also gives predictive statistics, like SP+ from ESPN’s Bill Connelly, a rather large headache. The system relies on returning production and without anything to draw from in 2020, it reverts back to 2019.

So with that in mind, it’s no wonder that this predictive statistic has such dire news for the Huskies in 2021. UConn went 2-10 in 2019, ending No. 126 in the metric and return the majority of that team two years ago.

Per SP+, the Huskies are projected to finish No. 127 and are favored in just one game, Sept. 4 at home against Holy Cross. They will be underdogs in their October 16 matchup against FCS Yale, though Connelly’s system is less exact when it comes to FCS teams, mainly separating them into four buckets of increasing quality even though the Bulldogs are a strong team at the lower level.

UConn’s meeting with UMass is projected to be a toss-up while the Huskies are heavy underdogs against at Vanderbilt (24%), Wyoming (15%), Houston (11%), at Fresno State (9%), at Army (8%), Purdue (5%), at UCF (2%), at Clemson (0%).

In order to claim improvement from last year, UConn will need to beat Holy Cross, Yale and UMass, and put up strong performances against a few other opponents.

UConn reached their highest highs in SP+ during the first Edsall era, peaking at 45th in 2007 when they went 9-4. The Huskies’ rating has been on a steady decline over the years, however, spending the past three seasons in the lower tenth percentile of FBS teams.

The 2021 season kicks off on Aug. 28 at Fresno State.