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September 20, 2013

Staff Predictions: Michigan at Connecticut

With the toughest of the four non-conference games - Akron - now out of the way, Michigan turns its attention to Connecticut, a once-budding East Coast power now yearning for the days of yore (otherwise known as I-AA, now FCS, status).

Despite Michigan's best efforts to get the game moved to a bigger venue such as the Meadowlands (or Madison Square Garden), UConn officials remained steadfast in their insistence to play the game at 40,000-seat Rentschler Field. It would be good for morale, they assumed, and a boost to the program to host the Wolverines after laying down in the 2010 meeting in Ann Arbor, a 31-10 Michigan win during which head coach Randy Edsall was packing his bags for Maryland (at least mentally) at halftime.

And they were right. They've sold more seasons tickets than they could have hoped. Unfortunately for them, Michigan fans purchased a good majority of them, and they've promised to make Rentschler Big House East - well, at least Ryan Field East - on Saturday night. There will be more maize and blue than UConn blue in the stands, we predict, and a fire sale on StubHub for remaining UConn games following the match-up.

Like many East Coast fan bases, UConn supporters are frisky, though, somewhat like the Penn State fans who chided tackle Jon Jansen when the Wolverines got off the bus in 1997. His response - "we're not Temple" - lives in infamy in State College. We're taking bets on which Wolverine responds to an overly excited Huskies fan with "this isn't women's basketball" (and in a few years, Kim Barnes Arico might have had her say about that, as well).

Congratulations to our crack staff for embarrassing themselves with last week's picks (though in our defense, we didn't get much help from the Wolverines. Work with us here, fellas). This week's winner gets his knuckles straightened following last week's punishment for the lousy prediction.

The picks:

Chris Balas: This isn't your father's UConn team.

Well yeah, actually, it is. More suited for FCS than FBS.

If you believe LSUFreek (and this one's classic: The Hot Seat), the road to the BCS would have been smoother in an Edsall. Pasqualonis have a tendency to break down somewhere in northern New York State.

Michigan 34, Connecticut 13


John Borton: "I've had it with this dump! We got no food. We got no jobs. Our pets head are falling off!" What Lloyd Christmas didn't know was, his bird's head didn't just fall off. Taylor Lewan bit it off, in his post-Akron rage. That's how much the near defeat to the Zips ruffled feathers in the Michigan locker room, and UConn pays the price.

Michigan 38, Connecticut 13


Michael Spath Well, we all made a mistake. We took Akron too lightly. Didn't expect the Zips to play the best football game in their program's (recent) history and certainly didn't expect Michigan to play one of its worst. But we've learned from our mistakes and we will all pick a much narrower victory this weekend. Well, maybe not this weekend - after all, UConn is still awful and the Wolverines are incensed.

Michigan 42, Connecticut 17


Andy Reid: For some reason, Michigan is playing a game at Connecticut. For some reason, Michigan nearly lost to Akron. Some things cannot be explained by reason or common sense.

What we do know is this: the Wolverines are much better than whatever it is they did last weekend. That game was a perfect storm of mistakes, miscues, sleepiness and lack of urgency - and Michigan still survived to keep their record spotless.

The Wolverines are also much better than the Huskies. It's easy to predict that the sky is falling after last weekend - but at the end of the year, we'll look back on that game as the anomaly, not the trend.

Michigan 28, Connecticut 10


Tim Sullivan: The Michigan Wolverines are not happy. It's not because they've been wronged in any way, but rather because they know they didn't live up to their potential against Akron last week. Too many turnovers, too many penalties... and too close a game. That they won is good, but that they're bound to "play pissed off" this week is the biggest benefit out of the game. UConn isn't much better than the Zips, and should bear the brunt of that anger.

Michigan 38, UConn 13


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