Based on comments I've seen on the boards, it seems that not too many people are familiar with the University of Connecticut football team. A great deal of people believe that this game is an absolute must-win in order for Rodriguez to have any sort of credibility. While I do believe it would be an important win, UConn is by no means a cupcake opponent.First, lets take a look at 2009.
Difference of 10 gets a 1 letter advantage
Difference of 50 gets a 2 letter advantage
Difference of 90 gets a 3 letter advantage
Final Sagarin Rankings:
UM: 81 (EEK!)Now on to 2010!
Departing Contributors Offense:
HB Andre Dixon: 2nd leading rusher on team. Start still in place.
WR Brad Canuch: 3rd leading receiver on team. Top 2 receivers still in place.
LT Dan Ryan: Followed by a RS Sophomore
RT Mike Hicks: Followed by a RS Junior
Top QB, 3 WR's, and HB all return
HB Brandon Minor: Leading rusher on team. Most likely replaced by a sophomore.
HB Carlos Brown: 2nd leading rusher on team. Most likely replaced by a sophomore.
WR Greg Matthews: 2nd leading receiver on team. Top receiver still in place.
OL Mark Ortmann: Replaced by ?
C David Mooseman (he played it most of the year): Replaced by original starterDeparting Contributors, Defense
DE Lindsey Whitten: Replaced by a redshirt senior.
CB Robert McClain: Replaced by a redshirt sophomore.
CB Jasper Howard (deceased): Replaced by a redshirt sophomore
FS Robert Vaught: Replaced by a true sophomore.
DE Brandom Graham: Replaced by redshirt junior (RVB)
LB Stevie Brown: Replaced by true freshman (?)
CB Donovan Warren: Replaced by reshirt or true freshmanHow was UConn last year?
Last year, UConn finished 8-5 after in a rather odd season. That record may not, however, be indicative of their talent level, as following the death of starting CB Jasper Howard, they went on a three game slide. During two of these games, the Huskies thoroughly outgained the opposing teams. The third, however, was a three point loss to top 5 Cincinnati after being statistically dominated. Like Michigan, the Huskies barely edged out Notre Dame, and munched on delicious cuppy cakes for many of their victories. Unlike Michigan, however, Uconn went bowling and beat the South Carolina Gamecocks in a strange and ugly game.How will UConn be this year?
UConn is a team very similar to Michigan this year when it comes to personnel. They will be returning nearly all of their offensive firepower from a team which had a solid rushing attack and an OK passing attack in Big East play. Look for them to take a step up offensively this year, as UConn seems to be a program on the rise based on previous years. The similarities between Michigan and UConn don't stop on the offensive side of the ball. Like Michigan, much of the Connecticut secondary will be untested and young. Where Michigan lost players to the draft and team ejection, Connecticut lost theirs due to graduation and unfortunately, murder.
Prediction Based on ridiculously early evidence?
Michigan wins in a shootout. Many people are writing off this game as an almost certain win, but it very well could be one of the scariest games on the schedule. UConn will be a good team if their defensive players develop and the offense lives up to its potential. Still, I just don't see the Big East offensive linemen creating any holes against Martin and the boys for their pro-style offense. With our Freshman quarterback no longer being a Freshman, and our two best receivers finally being on the field at the same time, I see UM's offense improving more than Uconn's. Plus, Richrod owns Randy Edsall.
2004: WVU 27-6
2005: WVU 45- 13
2006: WVU 37-11
2007: WVU 66-21