Published July 31. 2013 4:00AM
Newport, R.I. — Under the category of "not exactly a stunning upset," media members picked UConn football to finish seventh among 10 schools Tuesday during the American Athletic Conference's inaugural Media Day.
Also under the same category: UConn coach Paul Pasqualoni, never one to spend time pondering external forces, greeted the news with a shrug.
"I don't put one ounce, not 10 seconds of thought into (the preseason poll) coming into this," Pasqualoni said. "It doesn't really matter to me where it starts, it only matters where it ends. We'll use it as a source of motivation, but I don't pay much attention to it. It's a nonfactor to me."
The Huskies have posted consecutive 5-7 seasons under Pasqualoni. It doesn't figure to get easier this season, given the departures of several quality players on defense as well as defensive coordinator Don Brown.
UConn also faces one of its most difficult schedules, especially early. The home opener, against Towson State of the Football Championship Subdivision (formerly (1-AA), features the return of former UConn offensive coordinator Rob Ambrose.
Towson finished 7-4 last season and won its last four games. One of its losses came was a competitive 38-22 game at LSU.
After a week off, the Huskies get Maryland and the return of Randy Edsall to Rentschler Field and Michigan a week later, perhaps the biggest game in the history of the stadium.
"Towson is an outstanding program. They're used to opening up … I was watching the LSU film and I promise you they're giving LSU all they can handle down there a year ago," Pasqualoni said. "They're not going to sneak up on us. If they do, shame on us.
"When people say to me 'opening day,' my thought process is we better be ready to play," he said. "You don't have time to straighten stuff out when you're playing the teams we're playing."