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Upon completion of the Rose Bowl, the eyes of the college football betting world will head to Glendale, where the Connecticut Huskies will play their first BCS bowl game in school history against the Oklahoma Sooners. There are three tremendous keys to this game that we must remember in order to beat the Fiesta Bowl odds on New Year’s night.
Key #1: Connecticut has to act like it has been here before
We know that the Huskies have never played in a game of any sort of magnitude like this, but they have to believe that they can beat the most difficult team on their schedule this year. Last year, the Cincinnati Bearcats won the Big East and got a huge reality check when they were absolutely crippled by the Florida Gators in the Sugar Bowl. We also remember when the Pittsburgh Panthers, the only team in the history of the BCS that wasn’t unranked in one of these tremendous games, getting blasted by the Utah Utes. Being in this game for the first time, Head Coach Randy Edsall has his work cut out for him against one of the proudest programs in the history of college football. The Sooners have to ratchet up the pressure in a hurry to be able to take the fight out of these Huskies as well… which leads us to…
UConn Huskies +16.5
Oklahoma Sooners -16.5
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Key #2: Connecticut absolutely cannot fall behind in this game
If you’re the Huskies, you want the ball first, and you want to set a tempo in this game. The only way UConn is hanging in there is if it gets something established in the ground game and keeps this contest as short as possible. The clock has to keep running, and the offense has to keep the Sooners off of the field. The main reason for this is to keep RB Jordan Todman rolling. Todman knows that he is going to have to be called upon at least 25 times in this game to have absolutely any chance of helping his team pull off the upset. He has already carried the ball 302 times this year and was one of the best backs in the country at 1,574 yards and 14 scores. More importantly though, Edsall knows that he doesn’t have a quarterback that is good enough to compete against a big time Big XII foe. QB Zach Frazer has only completed 52.7 percent of his passes for 1,202 yards and five TDs on the campaign. None of the quarterback options are solid. QB Cody Endres was dismissed from the team, while QB Michael Box started once this year and proved that he couldn’t get the job done. The ball just has to keep on the ground, but if the Huskies are two scores down, that really isn’t going to be an option.
Key #3: The Sooners need to exorcize the demons from Fiesta Bowls past
This is the biggest thing for Head Coach Bob Stoops to worry about in his locker room. The Sooners have to have nightmares about playing here in Glendale, as this is where the Boise State Broncos and West Virginia Mountaineers both pulled off tremendous upsets. The Broncos simply caught Oklahoma by surprise in a year in which Stoops’ men were disappointed that that they weren’t playing for the BCS Championship. West Virginia used the motivation of the “whole world is against us” in the first game in the post Rich Rodriguez era. Oklahoma knows that it is the superior team in this game and that it should be able to just use its willpower to take care of the Huskies. However, this was also the case a few times before. If the Sooners can get past this and treat this like an entirely different game against another inferior team, they should be fine.