COLUMN: A new beginning for UConn
Published: Thursday, August 22, 2013
Updated: Friday, August 23, 2013 16:08
Freshman year is a time for change, different challenges and a fresh start in a new place. The same can be said about athletics here at the University of Connecticut.
Last year was the final year of the Big East Conference as most of us at UConn have known it. This year’s freshman class will be the first class to compete for all four years in the American Athletic Conference, thus ushering in a new era in UConn sports.
In the beginning, it will feel strange seeing The American logo stitched on the Huskies’ jerseys and painted on the field or court, but strange feelings are just another part of freshmen year. At first you feel out of place and uncomfortable, but eventually you put all of that aside and get to work, which is exactly what the Huskies will do this year.
One of teams looking for that fresh start is the football program after back to back 5-7 seasons. This year, UConn will play one of the strongest home schedules in program history – squaring off against the likes of No. 17 Michigan and No. 9 Louisville. The Huskies will face new opponents Southern Methodist University and Central Florida on the road, as well as old opponents Buffalo, Cincinnati and Temple.
The Huskies have been picked to finish in seventh place in The American this year; however, any educated sports fan knows that preseason polls don’t carry a lot of weight. What matters is the record UConn will have after Dec. 7 when the Huskies take on Memphis at Rentschler Field. In order to call the inaugural season in The American a success, UConn will need to post at least six wins and return to a bowl game.
For the men’s and women’s basketball teams, it will be business as usual, as both teams have a chance to play for the national championship. During the regular season, the Huskies will be missing two of their biggest rivals. The men will no longer square off with Syracuse, and the women will not face Notre Dame during the regular season. It’s a shame that UConn won’t get the opportunity to entertain fans with close contests against the Irish and the Orange, but that doesn’t mean this basketball season will lack excitement.
The men will play against old Big East rival Boston College at the 2K Sports Classic at Madison Square Garden on Nov. 21. They will also host Florida and Dec. 2 and will welcome the defending national champion, Louisville, to Storrs on Jan. 18.
The women’s basketball team will square off with perennial national title contenders Stanford, California and Baylor during the regular season. They will also play two games against Louisville, who the Huskies beat in the National Championship Game in April.
While most of you will start to find your place here at Storrs, you won’t be doing it alone. The Huskies will also attempt to find a place for themselves in a new conference with some unfamiliar faces. After a couple of weeks, most freshmen on campus will settle into their new surroundings. Hopefully for the Huskies, their surroundings will be at the top of the American Athletic Conference’s standings.