Originally created 11/23/05

Traditional rivalries still a work in progress



Connecticut quarterback Matt Bonislawski considered the question for a few moments.

Who is UConn's chief rival?

"I don't know if we really have one," the junior QB said. "A couple people say Rutgers, a couple people say Syracuse."

A week after college football's traditional rivalries took center stage - Ohio State-Michigan, Auburn-Alabama and even Harvard-Yale - the Huskies pondered the possibilities of a yearly rivalry game.

All that's missing is an opponent.

"I think it would be good for our conference. I think it would make our conference a little better," coach Randy Edsall said. "The problem with the whole thing is television. Will television go for it when you say this is what we're doing.'"

Edsall said from a geographical standpoint, Syracuse or Rutgers could develop into a formidable rivalry for the Huskies. UConn and Syracuse and met just twice and each have won a game. The Scarlet Knights hold a 17-8 advantage over UConn, but have lost three of the last four games.

Building those traditional brawls isn't usually the coach's call, however.

"That's all up to the league," Rutgers coach Greg Schiano said. "I try to stick to the coaching part."

The Huskies (4-5, 1-4) play Big East newcomer South Florida on Saturday, just the third meeting in the series and Bulls (6-3, 4-1) hold a 2-0 edge.

The showcase rivalry in the Big East is still the Backyard Brawl between Pittsburgh and West Virginia, who meet for the 98th time on Thursday. For Connecticut, in its fourth full year of Division I-A ball, finding that special foe, the one that bring emotions to a boil the week before, will take time.

"I wish we had one. It makes the game that much more exciting and emotional," UConn tight end Dan Murray said. "That takes time. We're still new to the D-IA stuff."

Maybe the most natural rival for UConn was the one that got away.

Boston College joined the Atlantic Coast Conference this season. The Eagles and Huskies are the only I-A programs in New England. For Murray, who grew up in Massachusetts, that made the most sense.

"I definitely would like to go up there and smack them," he said.

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A TOUCHY SITUATION: Louisville quarterback Brian Brohm will find himself in an unfamiliar position on Thanksgiving: on the sidelines during his family's annual "Turkey Bowl" touch football game.

"I guess they're afraid of injury," said Brohm of the game that dates back to the late-1970s.

The idea of wearing a yellow jersey that would make him "off limits" doesn't appeal to him.

"That would take the fun out of it," said Brohm, the Big East's leading passer, averaging 296 yards per game. "It's supposed to be two-hand touch but people have gotten hurt playing two-hand touch."

There used to be a time when the game was tackle, but Brohm said as his father, Oscar, and his brothers Jeff and Greg - all former Louisville players - aged, the rules were amended to prevent Thanksgiving dinner from being held in the emergency room.

"They were getting a little older and couldn't handle the beatings anymore," Brohm said.

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WEEKLY HONORS: The South Florida Bulls took home all the conference hardware this past week.

Andre Hall, the Big East leader in rushing (120.9 ypg) and all-purpose yards (149.4 ypg), earned another offensive player of the week award. He had 122 all-purpose yards and a TD in the Bulls' 31-16 win over Cincinnati. It was the third straight week that Hall earned at least a share of the offensive award.

Bulls' defensive end Tim Jones picked up his first defensive player of the week honors. Against the Bearcats, Jones had six tackles, a sack and a fumble recovery as the Bulls held Cincinnati to just 89 rushing yards.

On special teams, sophomore Jackie Chambers grabbed the spotlight. He returned five punts for 78 yards and finished the game with 94 total return yards. He also caught three passes for 56 yards in the victory.