Josh McCown and the Hartford offense rolled in week one (Photo by Matthew Savitt, UFL).
By John Archibald, Editor
As the United Football League heads into the second week of the 2010 season, there are still many questions that cannot truly be answered yet. At the same time, we can start to make some assumptions about a few things. First thing is that the UFL has done an excellent job of marketing, and fans in each region are really ramped up about their teams. The second thing is the league has a lot of parody, and some highly competitive as well as entertaining action will be taking place on the UFL gridiron this year. The season opened with over 14,000 spectators attending the first-ever game for the Hartford Colonials last Saturday afternoon, a 27-10 home win over Daunte Culpepper and the Sacramento Mountain Lions. Then the Florida Tuskers rallied from a 10-point first quarter deficit to defeat the defending league champion Las Vegas Locomotives in a rematch of last year’s title game. So what do we know? Not a ton, but we can garner a few ideas of what to expect this weekend with another two games on the slate.
Hartford Colonials at Omaha Nighthawks
Friday, 8:00 p.m. EST, TV: HDNet
I think Hartford somewhat surprised a few people this past weekend, myself included. I figured Culpepper and the high-powered Mountain Lion offense had enough to roll past the Colonials, but the host team fed off the energy of its hometown crowd to pull off a convincing victory. Hartford will now deal with the flip side of that since the Omaha Nighthawks sold the last of the tickets for tonight’s opener on Wednesday, and 24,000 hungry football fans will surely have Rosenblatt Stadium rocking. In my season preview, I chose Omaha as the league champions this year, so you don’t have to put a whole lot of thought into who I am predicting to win this game. I think Jeff Garcia, Ahman Green and the Nighthawk offense find the end zone on their opening offensive series to truly ignite the hometown fans and then grind out a hard-fought victory. Do expect a strong fight from the scrappy Colonials, but Nebraska fans will leave the stadium happy tonight.
Prediction: Home crowd and Omaha offense too much for Hartford. Nighthawks take the win, 27-17.
Florida Tuskers at Sacramento Mountain Lions
Saturday, 11:00 p.m. EST, TV: VERSUS
Take away the first quarter from last week’s season opener, and Jay Gruden has the Tuskers playing some dominant football. After falling behind by 10 points early, 2009 UFL MVP Brooks Bollinger rallied his troops and threw for 308 yards and two touchdowns to lead Florida to a come-from-behind 27-20 win. On Saturday night, Dennis Green will look to counter the offensive attack of the Tuskers and get Culpepper back on track after he was outplayed last weekend by Colonials quarterback Josh McCown. You have to think Sacramento is feeling a bit of urgency after being beaten handily in week one, and they will not want to disappoint the hometown Sacramento fans. Unfortunately for them, the Tuskers are a better team right now. The Mountain Lions have the weapons, but the offense is still not on the same page. The Florida offense, however, is clearly dialed in with one another.
Prediction: The Tuskers keep its perfect regular season record intact. Tight battle, but Florida travels cross country and scores a 20-17 victory.
RESOLUTION SPORTS’ UFL POWER RANKINGS
1. Hartford Colonials (1-0) – Have to give them the top spot. Great job throwing and running the ball last week and also played dominant defense against what should be a high-powered offense.
2. Florida Tuskers (1-0) – All they do is win. Only loss in franchise history was in the 2009 UFL Championship Game to Las Vegas, and they got a piece of redemption last Saturday when they knocked off the Locos. Defense also looked very good after calming down in second quarter.
3. Omaha Nighthawks (0-0) – Haven’t played yet, so this is the obvious position.
4. Las Vegas Locomotives (0-1) – After looking good early, the Las Vegas offense cooled off considerably in the last three quarters of its opener. However, the Locos were still in a position to win on its final drive before being stopped by the Florida defense on its own 38-yard line.
5. Sacramento Mountain Lions (0-1) – Sacramento has a three-time Pro Bowl quarterback and the reigning league rushing champion. The team will improve, but some work will need to be done to get the offense clicking.