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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Sunday, May 13, 2007

BCS hype includes Warriors

By Ferd Lewis
Advertiser Columnist

You might not hear University of Hawai'i football coach June Jones talking up his Warriors and the Bowl Championship Series a whole lot.

But, then, he doesn't need to. This summer there will be a growing chorus of people saying it for him.

UH and BCS two sets of initials that have been mutually exclusive up to now will be spending a lot of time together in print and talk this preseason.

"The Warriors are on the short list of BCS contenders from the five non-BCS leagues," writes The Sporting News in its annual preseason college football magazine, due out next month.

Nor is TSN the Lone Ranger on this. "The Warriors could be the next team to follow the (Boise State) Broncos' lead into the BCS," says Athlon, which adds, "The (Washington) Huskies (on Dec. 1) could be the last obstacle between Hawai'i and a BCS bowl berth."

"I had Boise State going to a BCS bowl (in 2006), and this year I see Hawai'i running the table and getting to a BCS Bowl," said Phil Steele, author of Phil Steele's College Football Preview.

Even those who don't see UH in the BCS picture have other platitudes. As Street & Smith, the oldest of the magazines, puts it, "A WAC team won't crash the BCS bowl party again, but the conference will produce its second Heisman Trophy winner ... Hawai'i quarterback Colt Brennan."

Heady, rarified air to be sure. Of course, in the summer newsstands sag under the weight of predictions that often get vaporized before the season hits late September. Didn't somebody pick Iowa to win a national championship last year?

What is noteworthy, however, is that it isn't just rabid UH fans tossing around phrases like "running the table" and "BCS bowl." Heisman talk isn't just locally-based Web site musing or a UH public relations exercise.

This is coming from people dispassionate on UH, folks who actually do some research and handicap these things. Not always successfully, maybe, but sometimes surprisingly close to the mark.

After years of being off much of the national radar, the Warriors are getting the kind of visibility they have craved. People are talking and writing about the Warriors and their intriguing possibilities. People who might not have been sure whether they are Warriors or Rainbows or what league they played in before will at least know this is a team to keep an eye on.

That's the thing about this season for the Warriors. After going 11-3 and finishing in the Top 25 for the first time since 1992, 2007 comes piled with expectations. More than any UH team has been asked to shoulder. With each publication that hits the newsstand that load gets a little heavier.

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