NCF Nation: Connecticut

BYU, UCF agree to two-game series

September, 3, 2010
BYU has agreed to a two-game series with UCF starting in 2011, allowing the Cougars to nearly complete their first schedule as an independent.

UCF will travel to Provo in 2011, and BYU will come to Orlando in 2014. BYU now has nine confirmed games on its 2011 schedule -- Texas, Utah State, Oregon State, San Jose State, Louisiana Tech, Hawaii, Idaho and New Mexico State. It is almost certain to retain its rivalry game with Utah, too.

There is a looming series with Notre Dame, but there have been no announcements for when those games will start.

As for UCF, the 2011 game against BYU replaces a previously scheduled trip to Texas. That has been moved to 2017. UCF also signed home-and-home series with Connecticut and South Carolina. UCF will face the Gamecocks in Orlando in 2013, with the return trip to Columbia, S.C., coming in 2015. South Carolina will become the first SEC opponent to ever travel to UCF.

The Knights will play at UConn in 2014, with the Huskies coming to Orlando in 2015.

Best opening weekend games

August, 16, 2010
Today we gave you 20 games to watch this season. Three from opening weekend made the Top 20 list. But there are several others that just missed the cut:

USC at Hawaii, Sept. 2. We have got to know how Lane Kiffin does in his opener with the Trojans, right? So much melodrama has followed this program since Kiffin took over, you can bet he and his players will be thrilled to start playing games -- even though they are ineligible for postseason play. We will get to see what strides QB Matt Barkley has taken, and take a look at the retooled Monte Kiffin defense. USC freshman RB Dillon Baxter won’t be there -- he is suspended for violating team rules.

LSU vs. North Carolina, Sept. 4. Huge game for both teams ranked in the bottom portion of the Top 25. Both teams have great defenses but mediocre offenses. There are some high expectations for North Carolina this season. If the Tar Heels can open with a win against a top-quality SEC team, their confidence will no doubt grow.

Purdue at Notre Dame, Sept. 4. Two intriguing storylines here -- Brian Kelly makes his debut as Irish coach with high expectations and plenty of pressure. We’ll see how his new offense looks with Dayne Crist under center. Michael Floyd could have a tremendous season. For Purdue, Miami transfer Robert Marve makes his debut. If Marve has a good season, the Boilermakers could surprise.

Connecticut at Michigan, Sept. 4. When the Huskies were put on the schedule, a faction of Michigan fans scoffed. But the Huskies come into the Big House with a shot at winning the game. The Michigan defense has been atrocious and is lacking depth in the secondary. The specter of NCAA sanctions loom above the program as well. Could this be the last season opener Rich Rodriguez coaches with the Wolverines?

Washington at BYU, Sept. 4. Steve Sarkisian returns to his alma mater with a quarterback who would fit right in at BYU. Jake Locker is receiving early Heisman and NFL draft buzz. Meanwhile, the Cougars have quite the opposite situation at quarterback, where Jake Heaps and Riley Nelson are competing for the starting job. If coach Bronco Mendenhall doesn’t have his mind made up before the opener, watch for both to play.

Of course, the following weekend is shaping up to be even better, with Michigan-Notre Dame, Florida State-Oklahoma, Miami-Ohio State, Penn State-Alabama, Oregon-Tennessee and Stanford-UCLA all on the schedule.