What if the pixie dust falls just right?
Theory: If the folks who assign betting lines to football games - and their perpetually blinding accuracy - were delegated more weighty endeavors, this country would be debt free. No, really. It could be an honorary commandment: Thou Shalt Not Doubteth The Oddsmakers.
Such logic would cause even the most ardent loyalist of the UConn Huskies some heartburn at "Brigham Young, minus 16.5" tonight at Rentschler Field, when football makes its triumphant return to us.
But if there's ever a time when - maybe, kinda sorta - the oddsmakers are as clueless as the rest of us, it's now. Week One.
Who knows anything, really?
And it is for this reason the UConn Huskies should dream a little.
This isn't just some "any given Sunday" bromide. Think about it:
Brigham Young suspended some noteworthy players. Long flight East. Big game next week at Texas. No tape on UConn whatsoever. How could the Cougars know what new coach Bob Diaco and staff will run and with whom?
Hit 'em in the mouth early. A bounce here, a surprise there ...
It really is the most wonderful time of the year. There's no negative. All positive. Potential wouldas, shouldas and couldas are all happy what-ifs.
True enough, BYU has a quarterback, Taysom Hill, who is at least earning some Heisman whispers. There's the confounding option, which is harder to stop than flood waters. Potentially superior athletes, if not more seasoned.
But this much we know: BYU has Mormons. But UConn has more men. Than last year for sure. Accent the word "men." Stronger men. In better shape. Nobody has seen an inkling of practice time that matters. But what we've seen is a team-wide surge of better bodies. Diaco's gospel of better nutrition and sleep habits has generated new looks, physiques and attitudes among his players.
Maybe it's not realistic to think UConn can win tonight. Even Diaco said last week he'd be more comfortable if his team could play "a few preseason games." But could you imagine the tentacles a game like tonight's would have if the pixie dust fell right?
UConn and BYU are among the country's notable programs standing to the side, watching the parade of the Power Five and Notre Dame march past. They could stand at the 50 tonight side by side and break into Stealers Wheel. Clowns to the left of us, jokers to the right, here we are, stuck in the middle with ... each other.
For now. At some point, you figure, the Big Boys will come calling. UConn's resume has to be as attractive as possible. And while one win wouldn't suddenly make Connecticut the better program, it would certainly suggest that this new era with a new coach is to be taken seriously. And if BYU gets a seat at the table, so does UConn.
We all know it's not fair. Some schools fell into the Power Five. Utah, Texas Christian. The term "Wake Forest football" doesn't send shivers. But it's irrelevant. They've got a seat at the table. BYU wants in. So does UConn. And what a headline this would make tonight.
The stadium should be rocking. This is important. Don't complain about UConn's conference affiliation if you don't support football. It's "not in the culture?" Change the culture. Now. Said it before, say it again: UConn fans can beat their chests about being the home office for college basketball. That and five dollars will get you four cents change at Starbucks. Football here must succeed. And it must get into our hearts.
So dream a little. Underdogs tonight? Sure. The wiseguys say so. But based on a lack of evidence and an appreciable number of other factors, the UConn Huskies can win tonight and become a storyline on college football's first weekend.
Maybe Casey Cochran's mullet goes national.
Maybe this is the start.
This is the opinion of Day sports columnist Mike DiMauro.
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