One of the best programs in the Big East and one of the proudest programs in the history of college football collide in a college football betting clash next Saturday when the Michigan Wolverines play host to the Connecticut Huskies. Can HC Randy Edsall go on the road and take care of Big Blue, or will HC Rich Rodriguez score a major victory in what could be a do-or-die year for him? Check out these three keys to the game.
- UConn-Michigan Week 1 Point Spread: Michigan -3 points (opened at -2.5)
- UConn-Michigan Week 1 Over-Under: 53.5 points (opened at 54)
- Recent Betting Trends: Over is 7-1 in CONN last 8 games overall, CONN are 12-2 ATS in their last 14 games overall
UConn vs. Michigan Key #1: Will a Michigan quarterback shine on the big time stage?
- Regardless of whether this is a traditional matchup or not, Michigan needs to realize that this is the biggest game of the Rich Rod era. Whether the former West Virginia Mountaineers coach elects to go with Tate Forcier or Denard Robinson as the teams starting quarterback, both will probably see reps in the game. Forcier, who threw for 2,050 yards and 13 TDs last year as a freshman showed some real promise. However, Robinson is a bigger rushing threat, something Rodriguez loved to use at WVU. Regardless, both are turnover prone, and that simply can't be the case in this game for Michigan to come out victorious.
UConn vs. Michigan Key #2: Will Jordan Todman emerge as an early Heisman candidate?
- Todman ran for an average of 5.1 yards per carry last season, but the fact that he split carries with Andre Dixon kept his yardage and touchdown numbers in check. Still, Todman was good for 1,188 yards last year and might be able to break the 1,500 yard plateau now that Dixon is gone. Michigan's rush defense had some rough patches last season, and the end result might be a fantastic game for Todman. If he can go for 100+ yards and a couple scores, the Huskies are going to be tough to topple in this spot.
UConn vs. Michigan Key #3: Does losing Lindsey Witten hurt the Connecticut defense too much to stop the potentially explosive Wolverines 'O'?
- Witten was the Big East leader in sacks a season ago, and he is clearly going to be virtually impossible to replace. However, Edsall, typically defensive minded coach, does have eight returning starters to work with in 2010-11. A big time playmaker is going to have to step up, especially in the rushing department, where UConn allowed 132.8 yards per game last year, 45th in the NCAA. Still, not having the presence of Witten is going to be a huge loss for a defense that has been improving with each passing season.
Michigan might be ready to take a big step in the right direction in the Big Ten, but taking down a Big East power, even at home, will prove to be too difficult. The Ann Arbor faithful have seen some horrendous losses in recent seasons, and this could be yet another one that falls the wrong direction. Look for Connecticut to leave the Big House with a big, big win for both the program and the Big East.
UConn vs. Michigan Week 1 Score Prediction: Connecticut 33 - Michigan 24