On Thursday we were finally supposed to get resolution to the question that has come up on a weekly basis since the spring: who would be the Huskies' starting quarterback. Of course, Hurricane Irene, in no hurry to know the answer, intervened, pushing the game back to Saturday at noon.
The Hartford Courant's Jeff Jacob wonders if there was even really a need to postpone the game in the first place. Here's how his column published Thursday begins:
If this was Florida, no way tonight's football opener would have been postponed. If this was Texas, heck, Gov. Malloy would have been impeached.
Yet before we get all high and mighty and start toasting ourselves for having such refined sensibilities and wonderful Yankee perspective, permit me to argue that an opportunity was missed.
On a day when Jim Calhoun told UConn President Susan Herbst that, yes, of course he was coming back for his 26th season as basketball coach, it struck me that Calhoun's most enduring trait is his enduring trait. Yes, he screams. Yes, he charms. Yes, he won the national title three times. Yes, he beat cancer three times. Yes, he gave American sports the direction to Storrs.
But above all that, including all that, is his insistence on going all 15 rounds, even if bloodies himself and others, sometimes it seems because it bloodies himself and others. It is that kind of fight that sports fans relish. It is that kind of fight that uplifts sports fans. Sure, everyone thought Calhoun, with a stacked team and a shot at a national championship repeat, was coming back. Yet when he made it official, admit it, you thought, wow, this guy is a resilient, durable, hardscrabble New Englander. And on a week like we're enduring because of Tropical Storm Irene, it makes you smile.
In all honesty, it made us think: "Calhoun has great timing, even if his 'announcement' has been a foregone conclusion for weeks." But we take Jacobs' point.
"I thought the UConn-Fordham game, Paul Pasqualoni's debut as coach, afforded us that kind of opportunity," Jacobs continued. "The kind of opportunity that said, pshaw, no hurricane is going to push us around, douse our spirit, rob our fun."
Maybe. More likely -- at least for us -- it gave the Huskies offense something it could certainly use: more time to prepare. This isn't LSU-Oregon, and even though UConn is defending Big East champs fresh off a BCS Bowl appearance, this team has a lot of new faces, and that includes the coaching staff.
Would the Huskies have been ready to play if the game went off as scheduled Thursday? Most likely. Pasqualoni is a veteran coach familiar with what it takes to prepare a team. But whoever ends up under center will be making their first college start. You can never have enough preparation in those circumstances.
At the end of the day, the 2011 season won't hinge on what did or didn't take place Thursday night. As always, it'll come down to wins and losses. It would've been nice to start the season on September 1, but come December what happened this week will be a distant memory.