Big time college football has never been part of the culture in New England. Only three schools in the six state region–Maine, Vermont, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island and Connecticut–even have an FBS program.
Of that trio of Boston College, UConn and UMass, only BC is part of a Power 5 conference and the Eagles have not participated in a significant bowl game for 33 years.
UConn and UMass can still be considered fledgling FBS programs. UConn didn’t make the conversion until 1999, UMass didn’t make the move forward until 2013.
Ironically, both programs are run by coaches who had stints at the schools when they played at the 1-AA (FCS) level. UMass coach Mark Whipple won a 1-AA national championship at UMass in 1998. Randy Edsall was at UConn when the Huskies moved up to the FBS level and guided them to a BCS game in the 2010 Fiesta Bowl.
This season both schools have stumbled from the start. UMass dropped to 0-6 on Saturday following a 58-50 loss to Ohio U.
UConn is now 1-3 after a 49-28 loss at SMU.
Both Edsall, who returned to Storrs this season, and Whipple, who has not been able to revive the Minutemen since he came back to Amherst four years ago, are admittedly frustrated with the slow starts. But both are committed to long term success.
The question that must be asked, however, is if that is a mutual feeling from the schools and their support base.
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