EAST HARTFORD, CT - NOVEMBER 26: Lyle McCombs #43 of the Connecticut Huskies carries the ball in the first half against the Rutgers Scarlet Knights on November 26, 2011 at Rentschler Field in East Hartford, Connecticut. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
Massachusetts enters FBS play when it takes on Connecticut on college football's opening night.
The Connecticut Huskies will take on the Massachusetts Minutemen to start the 2012 college football season, marking UMass' first-ever FBS game. They'll play each other on Thursday the first day of the college football season.
UConn is coming off a disappointing 5-7 season and will try to right the ship in the Big East. The most important strides probably need to be made with its defense, which is returning its linebacking corps and secondary. However, the departure of some crucial defensive linemen could also set back its run defense a few steps.
The Huskies will have to improve their offensive line to get the run game going. Lyle McCombs will be the fulcrum of the offense as the main tailback. The passing game will likely have to catch up, as UConn will probably be starting junior college transfer Chandler Whitmer at quarterback.
UMass has work some to do in its first year in the FBS. Both units were decent last year in FCS play, but it's quite likely this will be an adjustment season for the Minutemen. Keeping this game close against the Huskies would be a huge success for the newcomers to big-time college football.
Game time, TV channel: 7:30 p.m. ET, SportsNet NewYork and ERTV (cable); the game will be streamed online on Watch ESPN.
Point spread: UConn favored by 24.5 to 25 points
Video: Here is the SB Nation Big East conference preview.
While we’re here, let’s watch some of the many other college football videos from SB Nation’s YouTube channel: