UConn Huskies: 2017 college football preview

PROVO, UT - OCTOBER 2: View of a Connecticut Huskies helmet during the game between the Huskies and the Brigham Young Cougars at LaVell Edwards Stadium on October 2, 2015 in Provo Utah. (Photo by Gene Sweeney Jr/Getty Images)
PROVO, UT - OCTOBER 2: View of a Connecticut Huskies helmet during the game between the Huskies and the Brigham Young Cougars at LaVell Edwards Stadium on October 2, 2015 in Provo Utah. (Photo by Gene Sweeney Jr/Getty Images) /

Last season, UConn was among the worst teams in the American Athletic Conference. In 2017, I believe they have a chance to improve and be bowl eligible.

Bob Diaco is out as the UConn Huskies head coach. Insert Randy Edsall. The Huskies won just three games last season under Diaco, after a bowl eligible six win season in 2015. Now, Edsall will look to regain some forward momentum.

Edsall has brought in Billy Crocker from Villanova to run the defense and Rhett Lashlee, a former Auburn play-caller, will run the offense. NFL journeyman QB Dan Orlovsky was also coaching part time at his alma mater, before getting a new deal with the Los Angeles Rams.

UConn will have to have a much better offense in 2017, as they ranked near the bottom in nearly all statistical categories last season. Edsall and Lashlee will be looking to run a quicker and more modern offense, as teams across the country consistently put up 30+ points a game. UConn has the talent to improve, it will just be on them to out work their opponents.

2017 Schedule and Predictions

  • Thur. August 31st v. Holy Cross W
  • Sat. September 9th v. South Florida W
  • Sat. September 16th @ Virginia W
  • Sat. September 30th @ SMU L
  • Fri. October 6th v. Memphis L
  • Sat. October 14th @ Temple L
  • Sat. October 21st v. Tulsa L
  • Sat. October 28th v. Missouri L
  • Sat. November 4th v. East Carolina W
  • Sat. November 11th @ Central Florida W
  • Sat. November 18th v. Boston College at Fenway Park L
  • Sat. November 25th @ Cincinnati W

UConn has a chance to win 6 games this season to earn a spot in a bowl game. It will be tough though. While they should have no problem beating Holy Cross, that is their only clear win. We will have to see how Lashlee’s offense plays out, but I definitely give them a chance to be 3-0 with wins over USF and Virginia. Games will continue to increase in difficulty from there, and a losing streak may be unavoidable.

Early in November, the Huskies will have to buckle down if they hope to win 3 more games to become bowl eligible. They lost to East Carolina last season, but maybe they can bounce back for a 2017 win. Same story with UCF, though this season they’re on the road.

The Gridiron Series game against Boston College at Fenway Park will be a lot of fun, but I don’t think UConn can keep up. That would set up their final game, against Cincinnati on the road, a must win. I believe Edsall and UConn would be able to get it done.

More from Chowder and Champions

2017 Top Player: RB Arkeel Newsome

Newsome was the leading rusher for UConn last season and he’s back for 2017. Over the last two seasons, Newsome has over 1,400 yards and 11 touchdowns. In a quicker offense under Lashlee, Newsome may see the ball in his hands even more. He has the chance to go over 1,000 yards this year.

Newsome is extremely excited for the opportunity to learn under Lashlee and Edsall at UConn. The offense can’t get any worse than it was in 2016, so look for an experienced line to open up huge lanes for their top weapon.

2017 Bowl Projection: Cure Bowl v. Sun Belt in Orlando, FL

The AAC has a tie-in to a number of bowl games, with the least prestigious being the Cure Bowl in Orlando. Last season, Arkansas State defeated UCF in the game 31-13. This year, it could be UConn’s turn to represent the AAC in the game against a Sun Belt opponent. I could see Louisiana-Lafayette or South Alabama as the opponent for the Huskies here.

2017 Analysis

The Huskies hope Randy Edsall can return them to a respectable program in the FBS. He was the head coach there when the team went from I-AA to FBS, and he was able to win some games. Now, with more experience as a coach, Edsall has the chance to turn things around in Storrs.

Next: UMass Minutemen: 2017 Football Preview

The American is one of the stronger non-Power 5 conferences, and UConn will have their work cut out for them going forward. I expect them to take a step forward though, and I don’t think that a bowl berth is out of the question. How do you think the Huskies will finish in 2017? Let us know on Twitter @CandCFansided!