UConn Football: Baylor Victory Demonstrates the Strength of Fans, Program

UConn’s 31-28 win over Baylor last night represented college football at its best – a game full of big plays, lead changes and emerging stars before a near-capacity crowd that spent much of the second half on their feet.  The crowd was so engaged that UConn security took the preventative measures of lowering one goal post, and nearly lowering the other, in anticipation that fans were going to rush the field.  Ultimately, the fans did not spill onto the field (maybe it was the strange cattle-prod devices that security used to lower the goal post) but the fans did prove a point.  Forget what you read – UConn has some solid football fans. 

Last week, for at least the second time in recent memory, UConn fans were criticized for arriving to games late, leaving early and being generally more concerned with the social aspect of the game than the action on the gridiron.  These allegations may have more than a shred of truth.  But the conclusion should not be that the fans are not good, solid fans.  UConn fans were proving a different point – If you want us to stick around for the entire game, improve the on-field product.  Give us a game worth sticking around for. 

UConn has made great strides with its program, starting 4-0 for the second consecutive season.  But excuse fans for leaving early when the Huskies are blowing out Hoffstra, the mighty Pride of Long Island.  And although Virginia was supposed to be decent, forgive fans for not sticking around to watch UConn’s backup QB hand the ball off for a good part of the second half when Virginia hadn’t even demonstrated a pulse. 

Last night, however,  UConn earned the right to expect their fans to stick it out to the final whistle – and the fans responded with vigor. 

Building a big-time football program doesn’t mean talking down to fans and telling them how “real” fans are supposed to act.  Fans won’t change their behavior because of some Op-Ed in the newspaper.  Rather, the loyalty of the fans must be earned.  Signing contracts to play Notre Dame and Tennessee sure help.  UConn took another step in that direction last night.  And their fans were right behind UConn, cheering them to victory.


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