Reading the headline you probably thought that this was a story about how Kemba Walker just broke every record in UConn men’s basketball history. Or, you thought it was about how Geno Auriemma just coached the UConn women’s basketball team to the most consecutive wins in college basketball history. No, this is about the UConn men’s football team. Yes that same team that just ten years ago was playing in I-AA football.
If you ask Ohio State AD Gordon Gee, he would probably say that this is just another story about the “little sisters of the poor” of college football. But the fact is that after a win against South Florida last night, the UConn Huskies are BCS bowl bound. Yes, I said BCS bowl, not another bowl such as the International or PapaJohns.com bowl that was stuck with a mediocre Big East team. Despite finishing the regular season 8-4, the Huskies clinched a BCS bowl game by winning the Big East conference. Sure there are at least 25 teams in the country that have better records than UConn but will not be playing in a BCS bowl game. But, fans are going to have to deal with the fact that UConn will likely be playing in the Fiesta Bowl while teams such as LSU, Boise State and Michigan State will be watching the game at home.
This journey has been in the making since the joining of the UConn football team in Division I college football in 2000. The mastermind behind this whole journey is UConn’s coach Randy Edsall. Coach Edsall has been the coach of the Huskies since the beggining of this journey. To think that the Huskies were just getting their feet wet in Division I football nine seasons ago is remarkable. The key to this success from Edsall is doing the most with the least. By no means do the Huskies have any stars on their roster. Besides running back Jordan Todman, there is no clear cut star on the team. In fact, who can even name five players on this team? Almost every college football fan could name several players on Auburn, Oregon, Ohio State and Boise State, but UConn is just a squad full of quality players that lack the primetime television exposure. However, the Huskies finally got their primetime exposure.
Last night, the UConn Huskies played the South Florida Bulls during the primetime slot of 8 p.m. eastern time on ESPN2. Despite the fact that the Huskies entered the game with four losses, this game had huge BCS bowl implications. Had the Big East not received an automatic BCS bid, then this game would have just been broadcasted on the local networks and the Huskies would go back to being a bunch of no names again. In a back and forth game, the UConn Huskies’ BCS dreams came down to the leg of kicker Dave Teggart. With 17 seconds to play, Teggart sent a 52 yarder right down the middle of the uprights and Randy Edsall’s journey was complete.
Whether or not the Huskies are able to pull off the upset in the Fiesta Bowl against the Oklahoma Sooners, UConn football is on the college football map. To go from an irrelevant program to a conference champion in just nine seasons is unthinkable. With this kind of season, Randy Edsall certainly deserves consideration for coach of the year. Despite the fact that the Huskies lost four games, Edsall has proved that he is one of the most underrated coaches in college football.
Win or lose in a BCS bowl game, the UConn Huskies are one of the feel good stories of this exciting college football season. With this success, Randy Edsall may receive job opportunities from some of the bigger schools in college football. But, Edsall started this journey and he will be there until the end.