In Year Two of the Civil Conflict rivalry, it’s important for UConn Football to ride this mid-summer buzz and keep the momentum going for the next #(check the clock) of days.
While it’s fun(ny) that UConn’s rivalry is a topic of peak offseason football, the conflict begins now with a preview of their 12-game schedule tiered from most winnable to automatic loss in four levels.
Level/Tier 1 “Pack The Rent”
Sept. 3 vs. Villanova – UConn’s first game of the season is the first on this list but this FCS opponent is not who you want to open the season against. ‘Nova made a quarterfinals appearance in the 2014 FCS Tournament and is hungry to prove themselves against UConn. If UConn struggles the same way they handled FCS Stony Brook, this could be a long first game at the Rent.
Sept. 12 vs. Army – Football games in Yankee Stadium are cool and all, but UConn will host their second game of the year against Army and seek revenge on last season’s 35-21 loss that was much closer than the final score indicated. This is winnable territory for UConn in their second straight home game.
Oct. 17 vs. USF – The only conference game in the first tier of opponents, USF comes to UConn in October and this middle of the season game could be a toss-up for either team and the loser of this matchup could occupy the bottom of the AAC standings by the end of this one.
Level/Tier 2 “Redemption”
Sept. 26 vs. Navy – The newcomer in the conference has the pieces of a good football team and could play the wild-card role of the conference with an impressive year from Keenan Reynolds. The Husky defense will have a different look at the triple-option and it will be the first time the teams have met since 2006 when Navy beat UConn 41-17.
Oct. 30 vs. ECU – UConn came into last year’s matchup with ECU as 28-point underdogs and had the game tied going into the fourth quarter. It was somewhat of a turning point in the Pirate’s season as they went on to lose four of their next six games, but ECU still found a way to survive. Now without Shane Carden, the Pirates won’t take the Huskies lightly when they come to East Hartford in the fall.
Nov. 7 at Tulane – In what is probably UConn’s final opportunity at a regular season win in the AAC, a trip to New Orleans is scheduled for the third to last game of the year against Tulane who had similar issues in 2014 with quarterbacks. Sure, the Huskies should have pulled out a win against them last year, but now they will have to go to the Big Easy with no intentions of going to Bourbon Street. That’s tough enough.
Level/Tier 3 “We’re double-digit underdogs, this is what we have new uniforms for”
Oct. 10 at UCF – Win/Win situation here as far as the rivalry goes. UConn wins and gets the last laugh or UCF wins big and they did it because of the rivalry. This is what we’ve been waiting for.
Nov. 21 vs. Houston – Tom Herman takes over the head coaching job at Houston and suddenly the Cougars are a contender in the AAC with a young talented quarterback in Greg Ward Jr. This will be the first meeting all-time between UConn and Houston and likely won’t go in the home team’s favor.
Nov. 28 at Temple – The finale of the season comes against Temple led by their strong experienced defense. It’s hard to predict scores in this tier of games, but UConn would be stealing a win from any of these three teams, especially in their final two games of the year.
Level/Tier 4 “Do you believe in miracles?”
Sept. 19 at Missouri – Scheduling the reigning SEC East Champ Missouri is a big part of the reason UConn has one of the toughest schedules in the country and in the American. All three games in this tier require a bit of travel for the Huskies and their first road test of the year will be their toughest game of the year.
Oct. 2 at BYU – The second road test will be the farthest the Huskies travel all year. Provo, UT will be where BYU and Taysom Hill runs and throws against (aka all over) UConn. The dual-threat quarterback and his running back, Jamaal Willams, are both recovering from season-ending injuries but will be back to full force for this date.
Oct. 24 at Cincinnati – The Bearcats return 13 starters and will not risk losing to UConn just to have a surprise rivalry pop up between the schools next year. Gunner Kiel will have to put up big numbers this year to launch Cinci into the AAC title discussion. I like him to pad his season stats against the Huskies.