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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Sunday, October 29, 2006

Secure those '07 foes now

By Ferd Lewis
Advertiser Columnist

Just a thought, you understand, but University of Hawai'i athletic director Herman Frazier might want to move 2007 football scheduling straight to the top of his "to do" list today.

Forget the golf and grab a phone because games like last night's 68-10 blowout of Idaho, the Warriors' fifth victory in a row, can't be making the task any easier.

"I mean, with the way we've been playing lately, I don't think anybody is going to want to come out and play us next year," said UH quarterback Colt Brennan said after tossing five touchdowns for the fifth time in six weeks and the Warriors (6-2) claimed sole possession of second place in the Western Athletic Conference at 4-1. "Especially here, at home."

UH's eight-game WAC schedule for 2007 is a given. And Nevada-Las Vegas is signed on for one non-conference game, but with four more non-league games still to be announced for the 13-game schedule, you hope UH is sitting on a stack of signed, sealed and already-delivered contracts for next season and just hasn't gotten around to publicizing it.

The wish is that it is faxing those contracts out and closing those deals in a hurry. As fast, perhaps, as Ryan Keomaka got to the end zone on that 29-yard interception return for a touchdown or UH defenders are exploding on ballcarriers. That Frazier's contention that closing out the schedule will "be a piece of cake" holds true.

Because the way the Warriors keep rolling up victims and points anybody who isn't already under contract by now has to be having some serious second thoughts. Or, their coaches should be. And, as the case of Michigan State attempting to slither out of a deal shows, even the contracts already on file might not be all that safe.

Not once people get a glimpse of the recent scores and way the Warriors are slapping up big numbers with heretofore unseen regularity with five consecutive games of 41 points or more. UH scored on its first six possessions last night and punter Kurt Milne, the Maytag repairman of this team, didn't see action until inside the final 3 minutes of the game.

"Offensively, I don't know if I've seen a team that productive in all my years as a football coach," marveled Idaho's Dennis Erickson, who coached Miami to two national championships. "They're about as good as I've ever been around."

So, if you're UH, that isn't the kind of unsolicited testimonial you need to have get out just now. Not while impressionable athletic directors and nervous coaches might be mulling over contract terms.

I mean, how do you peddle as a prospective opponent a team that is scoring better than a point-a-minute on offense? What's the sales pitch when the defense is ringing more bells than Pavlov's dogs? And, as if there weren't enough arrows in the quiver, Ross Dickerson runs the opening kickoff back 100 yards for a score to make UH a three-tool threat.

Do you plead a misprint in the NCAA stats? Contend that this is only a soft spot in the WAC lineup?

Hardly.

"I think we're pretty formidable right now," said assistant coach Rich Miano. "People here want to see us play Pac-10 teams, Big Ten schools, Southeastern Conference opponents. To do that, you know what, we may have to go to their place."

Of course, after what happened at Fresno State earlier this month, that may no longer be the easy sell it once was, either. You don't hear Alabama clamoring for a UH return.

One thing is for sure: With UH on the way to play at 1-7 Utah State this week, this would not be a good time to procrastinate on filling the remainder of that schedule.

Reach Ferd Lewis at flewis@honoluluadvertiser.com or 525-8044.