The UConn football team had low expectations coming into this season after getting just two wins last year. Well, despite the expectations, Bob Diaco in his second season at the helm for the Huskies has led the team to five wins in 2015 with two games to play.
One more win will allow the Huskies to be bowl eligible for the first time since the 2010-11 season, where they reached the first and only BCS bowl game in program history, the Fiesta Bowl.
Next on the schedule for UConn is Houston on Nov. 21 and then Temple the following week to round out the season.
The Daily Campus Sports staff debates if the Huskies will get one more win and become bowl eligible:
Despite the tough competition that remains on UConn’s schedule to round out the season, I genuinely believe that UConn can win one more game and put themselves in a position to be bowl eligible.
Coach Diaco has made the defense one of the relatively better units in the country and will definitely have them prepared for both games. No. 16 Houston will provide a really tough challenge, as they are one of the last undefeated teams remaining in country. However, UConn has played up to the competition before, such as the early season contest against Missouri and I would not be surprised if the Huskies kept it close to the end and maybe even snuck out a victory.
In all likelihood, however, the defense won't be enough on its own to defeat Houston so the other remaining game against No. 21 Temple is one the team cannot lose if they want to make it to a bowl game. Temple only has one loss on its résumé this season and could be just as tough a challenge for UConn as Houston is.
On the bright side, Temple just allowed 40 points to a one-win SMU team. And let's not forget that Diaco will have the team more than ready to play. He has brought a new energy and fire in the team that probably hasn't been around since Randy Edsall left.That gives me the hope that UConn can score enough points on the Owls while shutting them down to win the game and potentially put the Huskies in a bowl game.
I think what I wrote in a much earlier round table has held true, Bob Diaco has had his team competing and having a chance to win in nearly every game so far. The two games ahead are daunting and against high-caliber teams, but I think that the Huskies will go into these games confident and fearless.
Diaco has changed the culture around here and these guys know they can play. It will be difficult for UConn but they have the ability to hang around in these games, and when, not if, a big play or some breaks fall their way, they will be bowl bound in my opinion. I think Houston coming into Rentschler, early game, different time zone, cold weather, gives the Huskies a lot of help too.
It’s going to be tough. UConn faces two of the American’s best teams, neither of which they’re expected to beat. Undefeated Houston comes to Rentschler at No. 16 in the country while No. 21 Temple sits atop the American East Division with a 8-1 record, 5-0 in-conference.
Although Houston is the better team, they have yet to play a game this season in the frigid conditions of New England. If UConn brings it’s A-game, I can definitely see an upset on the cards to push UConn over the edge. However, in order to do so, the Huskies need to sort out the offense, which posted zero points in an ugly win against a hapless Tulane team.
But as senior captain Andrew Adams and head coach Bob Diaco stressed back in August, there’s nobody on the schedule that the Huskies think they can’t beat. As long as they keep that attitude over the coming weeks, I think they can steal a game and push their way into bowl game territory.
UConn doesn’t have a great chance to beat Houston and Temple, but all they need is one to become bowl eligible. If Diaco gets his squad to use desperation to their advantage, the Huskies might be able to give fans a reason to keep showing up to Rentschler on Saturdays. A win in one of the next two games would be huge for the program and the players and coaches know it.
UConn has home field advantage against Houston, so this is their best chance to pick up a win. Houston has struggled a bit defensively against some mediocre teams in the American, so the Huskies might be able to put some points on the board. If the defense can make a couple big plays to keep Houston’s offense off the field, UConn might be able to celebrate a successful season on their home turf.
Arkeel Newsome will need to have a big game and Bryant Shirreffs will have to limit turnovers, but both have shown an ability to do just that. There’s a chance Houston comes out and embarrasses the Huskies. If that happens, UConn will just have to play that much harder on the road against a Temple team that gave up 40 points to SMU last week.
UConn certainly won’t be favored in either matchup, but they won’t go down without a fight and I think they’ll steal one.