UConn Huskies vs. Fresno State Bulldogs
Saturday, August 28, 2021 – 02:00 PM EDT at Bulldog Stadium
Can you believe that college football is back this week!? There are five games on the Week 0 slate and the second to kick off is independent UConn at Fresno State of the Mountain West. CBS Sports Network has the 2 :00 PM EDT matchup – an unusual 11:00 AM EDT local start time.
Considering the schools are on separate coasts, not a huge surprise that this is their first-ever meeting. Fresno State is the biggest betting favorite at BMR’s top-rated sportsbooks in Week 0. Fresno is 5-5 against the spread in its past 10 games as at least a 27.5-point favorite. It was most recently at home on Nov. 24, 2018, at -32 and beat San Jose State 31-13.
At least this century (far back as records go), FSU has not lost a game straight up when it was at least -27.5. UConn has not won a game straight up this century when it was last at least +27.5. It most recently was on Nov. 9, 2019, at +34 at Cincinnati and lost 48-3. The Huskies have covered 11 of their past 20 on the college football odds when getting at least 27.5 points.
Huskies’ Edsall On Hot Seat
UConn was the first FBS school to opt out of the 2020 season completely last August UConn. Of course, several conferences would actually follow suit but they all backtracked and played. The Huskies, independent New Mexico State and Old Dominion of Conference USA all remained sidelined – the only FBS schools not to play.
Last year was also to be UConn’s first as an independent football program as it left the American Athletic Conference for the Big East in other sports like basketball, but there is no Big East football league. There’s no question that Coach Randy Edsall is on one of the hottest seats in college football this year as UConn is just 6-30 in his return to the school. Frankly, the pandemic is probably the only reason he’s still employed as the school doesn’t want to buy him out.
Jack Zergiotis is expected to be the team’s starting quarterback. As a freshman in 2019, he completed 57.7 percent of his passes for 1,782 yards, nine TDs and 11 picks. He is one of 14 expected starters back from the 2019 club that was 2-10. Leading receiver Cameron Ross returns after making a team-high 60 catches two years ago. Running back Kevin Mensah (1,013 yards, 9 TDs) also returns.
The defense is led by lineman Travis Jones, who played in all 12 games two years ago and recorded 40 tackles, 3.5 sacks and secured one fumble recovery. UConn is 1-9 straight up and 4-6 against the spread on the NCAAF odds in its past 10 road games. BetOnline (visit our BetOnline Review) gives UConn a win total of just 2.5 this season, although the over is favored.
Bulldogs Could Be Sleeper In Mountain West
Fresno State finished 3-3 last season under first-year coach Kalen DeBoer. The Bulldogs were on a three-game winning streak when they had back-to-back games canceled due to COVID and then finished the season with double-digit losses to Nevada and New Mexico. On the BetOnline the NCAAF odds, Fresno is given a win total of 6 this year with the over a -130 favorite. The Bulldogs are +1200 fifth-favorites to win the Mountain West title – Boise State is the +100 favorite.
Twenty starters are due back for Fresno, led by running back Ronnie Rivers, who was first-team All-Mountain West last year when he led the conference in all-purpose yards per game (163.8), was second in scoring with nine touchdowns (9.0 points per game) and was third in rushing yards per game (84.5). Rivers’ 44 career TDs scored are tied for the most in school history. He is just one of seven Bulldogs to ever reach 4,000 all-purpose yards in their career. Rivers took advantage of the NCAA giving all players the option of an additional year of eligibility.
QB Jake Haener also is back. Now a senior, he was All-Mountain West honorable mention a year ago when he led the Mountain West and was No. 4 in the NCAA in passing average per game with a 336.8-yard clip. He finished with 2,021 yards, 14 TDs and five picks. Haener has three very good wideouts in Jalen Cropper, Keric Wheatfall and Josh Kelly. I believe oddsmakers got this spread almost perfectly dead on, but I’m going to take the points as Fresno might be looking past UConn a bit and toward a Week 1 game at No. 11 Oregon.
*The line and/or odds on picks in this article might have moved since the content was commissioned. For updated line movements, visit BMR’s free betting odds product.