Storrs - UConn football deserves a far happier narrative, especially given the classical concepts of time and space. Translation: Relatively no time has passed, at least on the cosmic scale, since the program's foray into the deep end.
Ten years is a blip, if that, which really should add to the rhetorical usefulness of the program's accomplishments: There's a new stadium. They've moved the needle nationally on occasion. Won at Notre Dame. Beat South Carolina. And the BCS berth.
Instead, though, the program has stagnated, maybe the result of impatient and unrealistic expectations - this ain't Tuscaloosa - and the discomforting thought that football's uber-significance to the future of UConn athletics remains disproportionate to its relevance among the general fandom.
And this, really, is what greets coach Paul Pasqualoni in Year Three. Maybe the diehards can concoct other storylines for UConn football, 2013. Alas, there is one: Is Coach P going to keep his job?
The best answer right now: Who knows? But while we offer our opinions on what final record would determine whether he stays or goes, I offer this:
Can Paul Pasqualoni make UConn football more relevant in its own state?
Once again: Part of me bristles at this. Because 11 years ago, when they played at Memorial Stadium, who would have ever thought we'd criticize "only" 24,000 season tickets? Maybe they gave us too much too soon. Because now we quibble at what we once would have regarded as fantasy.
Still, the program has a perception problem. Many in the media - and I've said this - offer the absorbing "nobody cares" during UConn football discussions. That's got to change. But is Pasqualoni the right guy to lead the revolution?
The program needs a salesman. Pasqualoni is a tactician. And while I doubt most coaches in college football could outscheme him, he might be too clinical and dry for what the program needs.
I take no joy in that. He is an unflaggingly nice man. He deserves more patience from us than he'll get. But it's certainly fair to wonder whether he's the guy to give the program the perceptual jolt.
Here's what I mean: South Florida's new coach, Willie Taggart, was part of an amusing new "get on the bus" video about the program, which fights for headlines in Tampa with the Bucs, Rays and Lightning. So there's Taggart, wearing a South Florida conductor-type hat, encouraging Tampa to "get on the bus," carrying singing heads of Tampa sports personalities Joe Maddon, Jon Gruden and Martin St. Louis as passengers.
No, it won't help the Bulls win a blessed thing. There is surely no cause-and-effect. But it's fun. And it resonates. People remember things like that. Even more if Taggart starts winning games.
Maybe Coach P took Step One last week. For a guy who is rarely glib, he unloaded a pretty good line about the consecutive 5-7 records he's authored.
"I didn't come here to go 5-7," he said. "I could have stayed in Dallas and done that."
And really, any time you can take a shot at the Cowboys (his former employer), it's time well spent.
Pasqualoni wasn't particularly enlightening for the first 20 minutes at the season's first media gathering last Sunday that preceded tonight's game with Towson. That was until he got a twinkle when talking about the season's possibilities. It was almost an "I know something you don't know" moment.
Essentially, he said, turnovers have hijacked an alarming number of the 14 losses the last two years. Oh, if this team "respects the ball."
"Two years ago, we lined up and beat the heck out of Rutgers and other teams, like Syracuse; last year we (won) at Louisville," he said. "To be honest with you, that's a good football team down there. (Louisville) turned around and beat the heck out of (Florida in the Sugar Bowl).
"We've had flashes now of playing pretty good," he said. "On both sides of the ball. What I'm pushing for is consistency and not turning the ball over and not giving up a (big) play. I keep saying that. That's cost us now more than half dozen games in two years. I hope the personality of this team is one that respects the ball. It's got to be part of your personality."
Admittedly, this entire discourse about perception might swirl the bowl if the Huskies figure out a way to beat Maryland and Michigan in a few weeks at Rentschler Field. Meantime, though, we sit, wait and wonder about the future.
This is the opinion of Day sports columnist Mike DiMauro.