UConn Bowl Hopes Dwindle

Aquarium of the Pacific

It's that time of week: updating the Huskies' bowl chances. After what Syracuse perpetrated against UConn last Friday, this is the first time all season that we have absolutely no faith in a bowl bid. Prior to the Rutgers loss, the Huskies were in great shape to have a solid second half of the season and parlay that into January football.

Then the Temple Homecoming Fiasco happened, and somehow things got worse after the Orange pummeled UConn 40-10. Now the Huskies are 3-5 with four games remaining and we're not sure they'll win again this season (and yes, that includes next week's USF game).

So what does ESPN.com's Big East blog think about UConn's chances? About what you'd expect.

"The Huskies are closer to bowl eligibility than the Bulls because they have one more win," blogger Andrea Adelson wrote Tuesday. "But does anybody out there think they are playing better than USF at this point? The Bulls nearly upset Louisville last week; UConn got blown out by Syracuse. They have to win three of their final four, and end the season back to back against Louisville and Cincinnati. That is why I think they have the worst chance at becoming bowl eligible."

Not even the most ardent UConn supporter can argue with Adelson's logic. No matter how you look at it -- or if you choose not to look at all -- the Huskies are a bad team right now. What reason is there to think that they'll magically be something other than that when they resume play in a week?

But desperate times call for desperate measures (and plenty of calls from fans to fire the coaches, blow the whole thing up and start over). There's also the less drastic suggestions to tweak the offense to actually fit the players (don't get us started on the wildcat). In his mailbag Q & A, a reader asked the Hartford Courant's Desmond Conner about putting quarterback Chandler Whitmer in the the shotgun more often.

The thinking: with the offensive line struggling it could allow Whitmer a split second longer to get rid of the ball. It might also open up the running game.

Conner's response: "Sure. I mean they have to look at both of those things and probably a few others including the short passing game, which I think really would help this team move the ball down the field. There’s no reason these guys can’t have the same success Western Michigan and Rutgers dragging guys across the middle and then picking your spots to unload on the defense.

"Maybe I’m wrong but I don’t see why that can’t work but more to your point Whitmer could have been hurt pretty bad against Syracuse and on one hit I thought he did get hurt pretty bad but something has to be done to take advantage of what he can do."

We don't disagree with any of this. And eight games into a 3-5 season, what exactly do the Huskies have to lose by trying something -- anything -- different? Because at some point soon, the questions are going to go beyond the field. Paul Pasqualoni might be a veteran coach with decades of experience but losing is losing. And if the Huskies want to be something other than a second-tier FBS afterthought, they're going to have to get a lot better. Not in three years or two years. But now.

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