The Syracuse Orange say good-bye to a former SU coach and a conference rival when they host Paul Pasqualoni and his Connecticut Huskies Friday night at the Carrier Dome (8 pm ET, ESPN). They do so against a team they have not beaten against the spread in five tries.
Can 'Cuse get a win to move above .500 in conference play? Or will the Huskies pick up their first conference victory and move to 6-0 ATS in the past six meetings with the Orange?
Syracuse, favored by 4.5 points at most sportsbooks as of Wednesday afternoon, began this season with a crazy 42-41 loss to Northwestern, played fairly well in losing to USC 42-29, then beat Stony Brook (FCS) 28-17. 'Cuse then suffered another tough loss, 17-10 at Minnesota, but then returned home and opened Big East play with a 14-13 victory over Pitt.
Last week, though, the Orange lost another tough one, 23-15 at No. 20 Rutgers. Syracuse outgained the Scarlet Knights by 180 yards, but on the key play of the game, early in the third quarter, had a blocked field goal returned for a score.
For the season the Orange are 2-4 but have outgained opponents, on average, by a 446-336 YPG margin, although that figure is skewed a bit because of the Stony Brook game. But Syracuse has also been outrushed by a 136-128 YPG margin.
UConn opened this season with a 37-0 victory over FCS Massachusetts, then lost a tough 10-7 decision to North Carolina State of the ACC. The Huskies then beat Maryland of the ACC 24-21, then lost 30-24 at Western Michigan, then beat Buffalo 24-17.
Connecticut then opened Big East play with a tough 19-3 loss at Rutgers, turning the ball over five times, and last week let a 14-0 lead slip away and fell at home to Temple 17-14 in overtime.
Connecticut may be 3-4 on the year, but it's outgained opponents by a 321-261 YPG margin, and outrushed foes 100-99.
Most betting outlets opened this game with Syracuse favored by four points; the Orange have since been bumped to -4.5, according to the matchup report.
The Huskies have won the last five games in this series. Last year Connecticut trailed by a touchdown going into the fourth quarter, but scored twice from there to win 28-21.
Free Pick: UConn Huskies -4.5 (courtesy of PickShark.com)