UConn-North Carolina pregame ponderables

October, 4, 2008
10/04/08
5:51
PM ET
Posted by ESPN.com's Graham Watson

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. -- I don't know if I expressed exactly how big of a deal this game is to both Navy and Air Force. It's a pretty big deal.

The two battle -- along with fellow military academy Army -- for the Commander In Chief trophy, a piece of hardware that is given to the military academy that has dominated the other two in a round-robin affair.

For five years, Navy has horded the trophy, but for the first time in that span, Air Force got an extra week to prepare for the Midshipmen's run-heavy offense.

Posted by ESPN.com's Brian Bennett

CHAPEL HILL, N.C. -- Greetings from Kenan Memorial Stadium, one of the prettiest settings for college football anywhere (though not always home to the prettiest football over the years).

Two schools that could potentially make the Final Four in basketball this season are trying to reach new heights in football. Connecticut is ranked 24th and is hoping to improve to 6-0 for the first time since it moved up to FBS in 2002. North Carolina is hovering on the edge of the polls and would have a good shot at cracking the Top 25 if it can take down its second Big East team of the season.

The Tar Heels have a more explosive offense with Brandon Tate and Hakeem Nicks, the top two receivers in the ACC. They're averaging 31 points a game, which is second in the conference.

Connecticut is a more deliberate team that likes to pound it on the ground with the nation's leading rusher, Donald Brown. UNC is giving up about 140 rushing yards per game but the Tar Heels have a big defensive line, anchored by 330-pound Cam Thomas. They'll need to stuff Brown near the line of scrimmage, because once he's able to get into the secondary and make his cuts, he's very hard to bring down.

The wild cards here are at quarterback, with Cameron Sexton and Zach Frazer making their first starts of the season. For Frazer, it's his first start ever after he came in to lead UConn to victory at Louisville last week following Tyler Lorenzen's foot injury. It will be really interesting to see how Randy Edsall decides to attack with Frazer, whether he keeps it simple or tries to get aggressive to utilize Frazer's strong arm.

Lost in the news of Lorenzen's injury last week was tight end Steve Brouse's broken leg. The Huskies will go with senior Martin Bedard at the position and bring backup left tackle Dan Ryan in as an extra tight end in short-yardage situations.

Weather: Low 70s and blue skies, with the temperature expected to drop into the low 60s during the game. I'm not sure what it is, but every game I've been to so far this year has had incredible weather.

Officials: We have a Big East crew, led by referee Jeff Maconaghy.

It should be an interesting game. Much more to come throughout the evening ...

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