Pick UConn +16.5 vs. BYU

Jeff Grant

Tuesday, August 26, 2014 4:13 PM GMT

The Connecticut Huskies are certainly outmanned against the BYU Cougars, but their new coaching staff has experience in facing their season-opening opponent, which makes them dangerous home underdogs.

Life On The Road
BYU will arrive on the East Coast from Provo on Wednesday, as it opens up the 2014 campaign with a two-game road trip, as it will take on the Texas Longhorns in Week 2 in Austin.

The Cougars have compiled a 3-9 straight-up record in their last 12 road openers, which can’t be ignored when looking over the NCAA football odds, with the last three of those affairs being decided by seven total points.

It’s important to point out that the program will be without the services of at least three suspended starters for this matchup, including star running back Jamaal Williams, who ran for 1,233 yards and seven touchdowns last year.

 

A New Era
Bob Diaco will be making his Connecticut and collegiate head coaching debut on Friday night at Rentschler Field, which is important to consider when making your Week 1 college football predictions, as he served on the Notre Dame Fighting Irish’ staff as the defensive coordinator for the past four years.

He takes over a team that went 3-9 in 2013, but it did manage to win its final three games—outscoring Temple, Rutgers and Memphis by a 101-48 combined margin.

College football handicappers know that the Fighting Irish faced off against the Cougars in each of the last two seasons—holding them to 27 total points.

 

Hill is Special
Taysom Hill is a legitimate Heisman Trophy contender, as he had 1,344 rushing yards and 2,938 passing yards last season—the first BYU player and 23rd in the NCAA to have 1,000 rushing yards and 2,000 passing yards in a single campaign.

BYU ranked 14th in the country in averaging 495.3 yards per game under his guidance in 2013, but it’s also important to give partial credit to Robert Anae’s up-tempo style as coordinator.

 

Opening Things Up
The Huskies need to be respected whenever they receive points, especially since they’ve captured nine of their last 11 season openers at this venue.

Redshirt sophomore Casey Cochran gained some valuable experience under center last season—completing 63.4 percent of his passes for 1,293 yards and 11 touchdowns with four interceptions.

 

Prediction
I’m going to recommend that readers back the Huskies as one of their Week 1 college football picks, as they’ve gone 19-4 ATS in their last 23 games as home underdogs.
College Football Pick:  Connecticut Huskies +16.5 at 5Dimes

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