Staying Power Needed for Non-P5 Teams

UConn’s football team has received a lot of television time lately for a team that frankly isn’t very good.

The Huskies are only a few years beyond a Fiesta Bowl appearance and sending quality players like DE Kendall Reyes to the NFL. The 2014 season has started with a 1-3 record, including a 25-point loss to BYU at home, a 17-point loss to Boise State at home, and 3-point setback to South Florida in rainy Tampa. The only victory is by a field goal over FCS Stony Brook.

In a word, the Huskies suck. Sorry, if you’re a UConn fan. No offense intended, but you know the state of the program all too well.

Just four years ago, the Huskies went 8-5, won the Big East and began the new year enjoying the warmth of the Arizona desert.

Since then, they have had records of 5-7, 5-7 and 3-9. This season looks more like last year than 2010.

But the Huskies aren’t alone among non-power conference schools that have made a big splash, only to falter. Perhaps the poster child is Hawaii, which put together an undefeated regular season in 2007 and played in the Sugar Bowl.

Since then? Records of 7-7, 6-7, 10-4, 6-7, 3-9 and 1-11.

Even Boise State, long the darling of college football — for good reason — is showing some signs of slipping lately.

This is by no means to show that all the non-power conference teams collapse after going to a major bowl. Far from it. But look at what happened to those schools that have shown staying power. Utah, which went undefeated in 2004 and 2008, had three winning seasons in-between, and a pair of 10-victory years after, and is now a Pac-12 member.

Texas Christian won at least 11 games in six out of seven seasons and was picked up by the Big 12. Louisville parlayed Orange and Sugar Bowl victories into an ACC invite. Cincinnati has won at least 10 games in five out of the last six years and would seem to be the first school up if a power league expands.

On the other hand, remember when ESPN tried to make South Florida all the rage just a few short years ago? The Bulls have had three straight losing seasons now, including 2-10 last year.

So staying power is a key. For programs with dreams of moving up and have been playing well over a period of several years now — Boise, Central Florida, Cincinnati, San Diego State being chief among them — there is nothing like consistent winning.

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