UConn is Leaning Hard Into Not Caring About Football

Do not let this sort of misinformation fool you.

“We absolutely are committed to being a competitive program and I remain optimistic about our ability to achieve that goal,” Benedict said. “A lot of that has to do with a lot of conversations that I’ve been having over the past couple weeks with people intimately involved in the process. So I’m excited to move on and really dig into football now that the exit has been finalized.”

That is absolute horseshit.

Your athletics department reported a $40 million shortfall in its most recent fiduciary report, but you’re now going to pay the Big East a $3.5 million entry fee, pay the AAC a $10 million exit fee, and then pay the AAC another $7 million in order to leave the conference now instead of two years from now.

No matter how you would like to spin this, it is a massive, $20.5 million black eye for the Huskies.

There is no victory in paying $17 million rather than the $30 million the AAC originally asked for, and UConn’s football and men’s basketball programs don’t get their heads held high for building the AAC brand in any way.

Football is 11-37 in conference, and basketball is 55-53 even if you include their national title season in the AAC’s inaugural voyage.

As I have already written about, this accelerated timeline may let UConn start solving some problems upfront but creates others, namely when it comes to scheduling football games.

For the 2020 season, if you eliminate all of the teams who haven’t scheduled their FCS game yet and who don’t have an additional opening, you’re left with only six teams: TCU, Arkansas, ULM, Louisiana, Army, and FIU.

Added to the four games they have now, that only gets them to a total of 10. Additionally, Army is the only team in that list that has room for a road game and that would actually consider traveling to Storrs.

So UConn has a best-case scenario of home games against Army, UMass, Maine, and Indiana plus road games against Illinois, TCU, Arkansas, ULM, Louisiana, and FIU.

That is unless they’re willing to get paid like an FCS team in order to get another program to schedule the Huskies in an “FCS slot,” or they find a regional FCS opponent in need of a game.

P.S. None of those games except traveling to TCU or Arkansas will bring the program revenue.

The next season proves unlikely to be much better. The list of teams loses Army, Louisiana, and Arkansas while gaining New Mexico State, Maryland, Northwestern, Texas Tech, UNLV, Fresno State, Tennessee, Florida, Texas A&M, and Texas State.

Do you really think any of those P5 schools are traveling to Storrs in 2021? Of course not. So that leaves ULM, FIU, New Mexico State, UNLV, Fresno State,  and Texas State for potential home opponents.

Except ULM and Fresno State don’t need a road game, and New Mexico State is in a worse financial mess than the Huskies when it comes to spending money on football.

So for 2021, your best case scenario is home games against Holy Cross, Purdue, FIU and UNLV with road games against UMass, Clemson and some six out of Maryland, Northwestern, Texas Tech, Fresno State, Tennessee, Florida, and Texas A&M.

That’s a ton of travel in both seasons, and unless you’re rolling in buyout body-bag games, further money being lost by the program.

And let’s not forget the possibility of future P5 opponents (like Duke or Purdue) deciding they’d rather buy out of that contract for a more desirable game, leaving UConn even further in the lurch.

“UConn’s future football schedules are expected to include several home-and-home series with Power 5 teams […]. Opponents will range from teams in conferences such as the ACC, SEC and Big Ten to lower-level FCS schools.”

Like who?

There’s about a snowball’s chance in hell that UConn is getting a home-and-home from any Power 5 school. They’re much more likely to get a road game for money or – if they’re really lucky – a two-for-one.

As you get further out, things normalize, as you have a ton of regional opponents, between FBS independents, P5 opponents and the like.

But you want me to believe that you care about football when you’ve pushed your athletic department $20 million further into the red so that you can fast track a transition that leaves your football program – one that was already struggling for anything resembling success or an identity – in a mad scramble to finish their upcoming schedules in a way that doesn’t involve a ton of travel or a ton of losing?

Now you’re really pushing it.

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