Okay, so try to keep up on this one. It's odd that these teams are meeting this season, because in some ways their fates are inextricably linked. Back around the end of last season, Vanderbilt hired then-Maryland offensive coordinator Friedgen was fired by Maryland. (No, I really don't understand firing someone after you've already lost his replacement, but there you have it.). Franklin was also head-coach-in-waiting for the Terps under Ralph Friedgen. After Franklin was hired by Vanderbilt,
So Maryland went looking for a coach and settled on Randy Edsall -- the coach at Connecticut. Edsall was so excited to work at Maryland -- really -- that he decided not to even board the plane back home from his team's demolition in the Fiesta Bowl. Things finally quieted down when Connecticut tapped former Syracuse coach Paul Pasqualoni -- who hadn't coached at the college level in almost seven years -- to take over.
Beyond that, we don't know a lot about these teams. They annihilated their respective FCS cupcakes by a combined 80-17 score last weekend, hardly something that can give us a sense of what these teams are capable of. Connecticut is a team that seems to live perpetually on razor's edge; they missed a perfect season in 2009 by a total of 15 points, going 8-5 instead, while last year's team with the same mark came within eight points of missing a bowl game entirely.
And we all know Vanderbilt's tortured history with statistics. Despite the gaudy score last week (45-14) against Elon, the Commodores still only gained 309 yards while giving up 323. This doesn't inspire a great deal of confidence, but Vandy's numbers rarely do. And it's a long hill that Franklin and his team are trying to climb.
So we have two teams with a bit of confidence built up but nothing to less us know if its because of quality or false bravado. So we'll go with the earlier prediction just because there's no way to know whether it should change, but we'll knock down the confidence level.
Connecticut 35, Vanderbilt 34