Mississippi State passes on chance to play UH
By Ferd Lewis
Advertiser Staff Writer
By Ferd Lewis
The University of Hawai'i's opportunities for landing a 13th football game this season continued to dwindle as Mississippi State said it will close out its schedule this week without UH.
The Bulldogs, one of the few remaining Division I-A teams with an opening, had been talking with UH about a Nov. 3 game in Starkville, Miss., but MSU associate athletic director Mike Nemeth said, "we're hoping to announce a schedule today or tomorrow ... and it will be without Hawai'i."
Athletic director Herman Frazier, who has maintained that UH will play a 13-game schedule, said through a department spokeswoman yesterday, "I am having conversations with prospective football opponents, but there is no information to report at this time."
Nemeth said MSU will schedule an as-yet-unnamed opponent for its other opening, Sept. 22. UH filled its Sept. 22 slot last month with Division I-AA Charleston Southern.
MSU suddenly found itself with an opening when a mix-up in Ohio Valley Conference scheduling left Jacksonville State with two games on Sept. 22. Jacksonville State was to have been paid $300,000 for the appearance.
UH and MSU discussed a Nov. 3 meeting, but Nemeth said the Bulldogs preferred to keep an open date before their Nov. 10 game with Alabama. MSU upset Alabama last year in Tuscaloosa, Bulldogs' coach Sylvester Croom's alma mater.
UH — and teams that travel to Hawai'i — are allowed the option of playing a 13th game under a 52-year old NCAA exemption. All other schools have a maximum of 12.
UH has yet to announce an opponent for its Sept. 1 opener, but Division I-AA Northern Colorado has said it will play UH on that date at Aloha Stadium.
Reach Ferd Lewis at email@example.com.