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The players, of course, bristle when they read that Connecticut doesn’t belong in a major bowl game, or hear descriptions of the team as a bunch of upstarts from a Northeast basketball school.

“Oklahoma and these other schools have decades of history; we have 10 years,” Fincher said. “So, what we’re doing is way better than what they’re doing. Give us a 100 years of history, and we might have seven national titles.”

Tailback Jordan Todman _ who has taken the torch from Brown admirably, having just been named the Big East Offensive Player of the Year _ said the Huskies know that when they go to Arizona, they won’t just be playing for themselves. They’ll be playing for Orlovsky, Fincher, Brown and everyone else who believed way back when.

“They’re just as much a part of this team as they were before,” Todman said. “We’re definitely standing on their shoulders and following in their footsteps.”