The University of Connecticut has announced who the football team will play in its upcoming season – its first without conference affiliation since 2003.
UConn football is going its own way after many other sports at the school, including men’s and women’s basketball, have left the American Athletic Conference for the Big East.
“Life in the AAC had its benefits on the football front with TV money and bowl ties,” said Mike Anthony, a sports columnist for the Hartford Courant. “There’s challenges with being an independent program, but it can be fun and you can get creative on the scheduling front.”
The Huskies will meet up with some other independent schools like Liberty University and San Jose State University and they’ll also play a team from the most powerful conference in college football – the Southeastern Conference’s Ole Miss.
For Anthony, the reveal is a glimpse into UConn’s future as an independent.
“I think you can regionalize the schedule – you can make sure you try and get [Boston College], Syracuse, UMass, teams like that on the schedule every year, play games in your recruiting base which is going to be up and down the Eastern Seaboard, and sprinkle in some high-profile opponents like Ole Miss and they’re at Clemson the year after that,” Anthony said.
The shift from a conference affiliation to independence comes at a critical time for the UConn football program. In their last 24 games, the Huskies have only won two games.
“Life in that conference didn’t work in terms of wins and losses and it didn’t work in an effort to really intrigue and engage fans or keep them around,” said Anthony.
So far, UConn has announced games for the 2020 season with nine total opponents with three open dates to fill. The 2020 season opens for the Huskies in East Hartford on Sept. 3 against the University of Massachusetts.