Going into the 2021 College Football season, I had reasonable expectations for the UConn Huskies football team. I expected to see some improvement after taking a season to rebuild during the COVID pandemic last year and begin to see signs of life going into the following season or two. My pre-season guess was 2-3 wins and more competency on both sides of the ball as the younger players matured throughout the year. Somehow, even with 2-3 win expectations for the season and just 3 games into a 12-game campaign, I’m already disappointed. It’s going to be a loooonnnggg fall and winter for the Huskies.
Through 3 games, my best guess was that the Huskies would be 1-2. I absolutely expected losses at Fresno State and at home against Purdue, because the UConn program doesn’t have the talent to compete with programs like that at this point, sadly. Getting shutout in both and having no run game was certainly a bit surprising, but definitely not shocking. The abysmal performance against FCS Holy Cross, however, was a gut-punch to the program that frankly doesn’t have much gut to punch.
Being outscored by 104 points in any 3-game stretch is just embarrassing and pathetic, especially when one of the teams is in a lower division, FCS. No offense to Holy Cross, but even a shitty UConn team should be able to beat them by 2 scores at a minimum and their flat performance perfectly describes the Randy Edsall era. During his 2nd stint with the program, Edsall ‘led’ the Huskies to a 6-32 record, continuing the spiral into oblivion rather than stabilizing and beginning the long rebuild. Of those 6 wins, 3 were against FCS opponents (Holy Cross in 2017, URI in 2018, and Wagner in 2019) and all three of those games were decided by 1 score.
What has this UConn Huskies program accomplished since the BCS Fiesta Bowl appearance in 2010? Have they done anything to earn a spot in FBS? I am in no way advocating for a drop to FCS, but it’s getting harder and harder to hold that line with each passing year. Since the 2012 season, UConn has won more than 3 games 1 time and that was the 2015 6-7 team that lost to Marshall in the St. Petersburg Bowl under Bob Diaco. Since 2015, the program hasn’t even sniffed a bowl game or a winning record (and even with 6 wins in 2015 they didn’t have a winning record).
There is at least some renewed hope with the “stepping down” of Randy Edsall, but there is a a solid chance this team pulls a completely defeated season like the 2008 Detroit Lions (led by former UConn QB Dan Orlovsky). I thought the program had already hit rock-bottom, but now am wondering if the worst is yet to come. The mammoth issue going forward, even if you bring in a top coach and recruiter, is how long will it take to truly rebuild and transform this roster. It’s not like the Huskies are one or two pieces away from being a contender, they need help at almost every position on the roster.
For anyone who has even casually watched a game or followed the team over the last decade, nothing I’m writing is even mildly surprising or even new. This team is bad and they have been for a long time under a series of bad coaches and limited talent. For more reasons than I can count, UConn will never be a national power program. All I’m asking for, and all most fans are asking for, is a competitive team that has a chance to make a low-level bowl most years. Those are pretty low expectations that aren’t even close to being met.