Huskies Now in Must-Win Territory

It seems like we say it every week but as long as the Huskies have a chance to get to six wins we'll keep repeating it: they need a victory in their next game. This time, it's against Syracuse in the Carrier Dome in an ESPN game that kicks off Friday night at 8 p.m.

UConn should be 4-3 (1-0) but a demoralizing overtime loss to Temple last week now has them at 3-4 (0-1) and still searching for back-to-back wins in the Paul Pasqualoni era. So what can we expect against the Orange? Your guess is as good as ours.

The script for the 2012 season has gone something like this: on offense, the running game has sputtered and the passing game has been inconsistent with sophomore quarterback Chandler Whitmer turning the ball over at an alarming clip. The defense, meanwhile, has been stout -- save the occasional breakdowns that have led to big plays. And against Western Michigan and Temple it contributed to losses.

On Thursday, Big East bloggers Andrea Adelson and Matt Fortuna offered up their predictions. Both have been high on the Huskies through the first seven weeks of the season but even they've lost faith following last week's homecoming loss to the Owls.

Pasqualoni returns to Syracuse for the first time since he was fired in 2004, but he has no time to reflect on the past. His chief concern is finding a way to get his offense going on a more consistent basis.

The Huskies expect starting running back Lyle McCombs back after he missed last week with a wrist injury. But Syracuse has played really well on defense the past two weeks, limiting Pitt and Rutgers to a combined 112 yards on the ground. I think the Orange will finally get out of their own way and break a five-game losing streak to the Huskies.

Andrea's pick: Syracuse 20, UConn 17.
Matt's pick: Syracuse 17, UConn 7.

And it's not like the Orange are some FBS juggernaut. They're 2-4 overall and 1-1 in the conference. The thing is, UConn needs three wins in its final five games to get in the bowl conversation. If they lose to Syracuse, that leaves USF, Pitt, Louisville and Cincinnati. From where we sit, there might be one win in there. Put another way: Pasqualoni has a lot of work to do to avoid missing the postseason for the second consecutive season.

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