I did not make this headline up
Edit: Mea Culpa
I can't figure out if badly written copy or if it will be our 1st game that year. Seems like we should have a tune up first. Hopefully that can still be done.
As a recent graduate that is less than 4 months removed from living on East U, I thought I would share my recent impressions of Rentschler Field. I went for work (there was a product fair in the club area), and couldn't help but compare it to the Big House the entire time I was there.
My (kind of random) thoughts:
1. It's in East Hartford, which is almost 30 minutes from Storrs. Understandable that UConn students aren't as into football.
2. It's in a weird area; across the street on one side there's a huge Cabelas and a large pharmaceutical? company headquarters. Another side is a neighborhood, and the two other sides are undeveloped. It wasn't a gameday, but it doesn't seem like the area is a catalyst for a rowdy football environment.
3. There are some grass fields around it that provide (relatively) ample room for tailgating.
4. Driving up to it, it's incredible unintimidating. It reminds me a lot of IU's stadium if that does anything for you. One of the endzones is open except for the scoreboard, there's space in between the grandstands on the sidelines and endzones. This makes me wonder how loud it can even get.
5. The first 20 or so rows are sunken like the Big House, but it doesn't have the size to compensate. This makes it look even smaller from the outside. The pressbox/club building is easily the biggest (and best) part, I give it a B for exterior aesthetics.
6. I didn't get a chance to take a tour, but the field looked mowed and didn't have any lines on it. I would then assume that it's real grass.
7. Aside from the IU comparison, it kind of reminded me of the high school stadium in the Friday Night Lights movie. Tony Drake and the other Texas players should feel right at home.
Overall, it's a nice looking stadium, but it really looks like an oversized Texas HS stadium or small soccer stadium overseas. I wonder if the players will have a hard time getting up for the game considering what they're used to.
For the record, I'm ok, with the game being scheduled out here as it's not too far from NYC, and there are a ton of alumni out here.
I didn't see this posted anywhere else, but if it is, my apologies.
mvictors.com posted a WTKA interview with Larry Lage where he said that he's not sold on the fact that Michigan has actually scheduled UConn.
Anyone else in the same boat?
Editor's note: with the recent influx of quality diary entries I'm reviving a short-lived plan from last football season and bumping my favorite to the front page once a week.This might be tricky during football season but we'll play it by ear.
UConn taking popular choice Virginia to the woodshed 45-10 last year (sorry MaizeandBlueWahoo)
Donald Brown the 27th overall choice of the 2009 NFL Draft
Okay, it's UConn, the general reaction from the MGoCommunity has been, "UConn, why would we play them for the opener? Bill Martin is an idiot!" UConn's blog has caught wind of the opener and is pretty excited but has however noted our comments on the situation.
Man UCONN would be a HORRIBLE game. We all had illusions of grandeur for a huge opponent and per usual they get blown to bits.
It’s a lose/lose for UM! We win and no one really cares outside the fan base. We lose and we just lost to a middling to low BCS team from a weak, weak conference. I’d rather schedule a true pansy and just annihilate them.
UConn is worse than WMU. I hope it’s not them because a 7-5 team in the Big East does not deserve a home and home.
Ouch. Not our highest praise for the Huskies, they even said MGoBlog was "a simply fantastic website devoted to Michigan football". We do have a basketball program too, even if it is nothing like yours. To be fair, Connecticut, a program that has been in a BCS conference for less than a decade, is not our illusion of the Wolverines taking on the Bulldogs (no, not Fresno State) nor the Broncos. It's not the big splash that we anticipated to be sure, but this late in the process it's not totally a terrible "MAC-level opponent." They play in a BCS conference (the BCS is not every conference in the FCS Division, there are six BCS Conferences. The Big East is one).
Another reason that we are angry with this choice is the fact that it is indeed a home-and-home with the 2013 return game being played here. Rentschler stadium is not the Big House, it's only approximately 36% of the capacity. Michigan fans are frustrated with the fact that a precious OOC road game that isn't in South Bend is being played at a relatively tiny staium, and that Connecticut is getting a home-and-home instead of a 2-for-1 at least. Proposed locations for the return game include Gillette Stadium, Yankee Stadium, and the Meadowlands but are not legitimate choices because of this. Notre Dame screwed over UConn with the "5 games in South Bend, and the rest not in Connecticut" schedule which UConn did to get some exposure and go from "basketball school who has a new football team" to "big-time major college football program."
Not the Big House
Thus Michigan is resigned to play a game in the state of Connecticut , which is nice for the East Coast fans and alumni who haven't seen a game out there since Michigan defeated Boston College in 1994, but not great for many others. Brodie proposed going to the Yale Bowl, which has more capacity than Rentschler. Michigan will be the biggest name ever to play there, and UConn is lucky to have a big-time team there while only sacrificing one away game.
The MGoCommunity is also not too happy with the fact that UConn is not a team with the "prestige" of another potential BCS opponent, such as Virginia (see above). The point is, Michigan doesn't need a phenomenal (read conference championship contender in a BCS conference) opponent next year. Reasons are here, in Michigan Arrogance's excellent diary.
Some quick facts on Connecticut, not a lot is known around here about the Huskies. Most historical information (that being said, not much) found here:
- The Huskies have been playing football since 1896, and in 1-A since 2001. (Interestingly, they and Villanova were both given the choice to become a football member in the Big East. Obviously Villanova passed).
- They have been to three bowl games, going 2-1.
- UConn tied West Virginia for their only Big East title, but WVU got the BCS berth because of this loss at the hands of Rich Rodriguez. More on Rich Rod versus Connecticut here.
- Coach Randy Edsall is 58-60 at UConn, 49-36 in the FCS, and was rumored to be a candidate for the Syracuse job vacated by Michigan Defensive Coordinator Greg Robinson.
- This is how the Huskies have fared since entering the Big East in 2004, not phenomenal but pretty successful at 34-29:
- In 2009, the Huskies look to replace 4(!) first day draft choices including Brown (above). They have a new offensive coordinator who looks to ignite an anemic passing game, which reminds me of Michigan's last year. They have a four-star former Notre Dame quarterback Zach Frazer who looks to lock down the starting job and a stable of backs to replace Brown. CFN, NY Times on Connecticut's 2009 season. We will be rooting for the Huskies this year because we want Michigan to beat a good team* in the opener. They are a young team and figure to be more experienced and successful next year.
Dan Orlovsky, former HuskyThus, 'tis Connecticut. A bunch of anonymous MGoBloggers will not change Bill Martin's mind (or a contract for that matter). This move does make sense as it is a BCS opponent, Michigan has a good chance of winning since by then Rodriguez should have the ball moving, and it is far harder to schedule and defeat a big-name opponent in real life than it is in a video game (I note your examples of Alabama-Penn State, and Ohio State-USC and counter with the seven mediocre opponents that PSU and OSU combine for OOC this year). Martin is reaching out to a very large alumni base out east and giving them a game in their vicinity for the first time in a long time, even if it is in a small stadium and a home-and-home (the largest athletic department in the country scheduled a home-and-home in Laramie, Texas plays at Wyoming this year). It's hard to call UConn a great, up-and-coming program, but the Huskies are improving and playing good football. Maybe it wasn't the Gameday game we were looking for, but it should still be a good game (which we will have a far greater chance of winning than if it was against Boise State or Georgia), the comparisons to the 2006 game against Vanderbilt are not fair. Kudos to Martin for scheduling the Huskies.
Rich Rodriguez is 4-0 against UConn (and coach Randy Edsall). The year they (UConn and WVU) shared the title, UConn lost by 45 points.
|Year||Location||WVU||UConn||WVU record||UConn record|
|Turnovers (Total )||7||10|
I'm not saying that this had any reason for why UConn was scheduled for the opener, merely that despite UConn's success (they were a combined 26-22, with two bowl games and WVU was 41-9 with 4 bowl games two of which were BCS) RR had their number. Maybe this is all moot considering that Connecticut is better than those past teams, RR only played a UConn team with a winning record twice, RR had very good teams, and 4 games is a pretty small sample size, but this is interesting nevertheless.