Hawaii football poised to rebound
By Ferd Lewis
We know, we know ... the celebrations haven't stopped in Tuscaloosa, Ala. yet nor has the pain subsided for Colt McCoy, but it is already time to look ahead to the 2010 University of Hawai'i football schedule and do some rough draft handicapping.
After all, it is, what, a mere 235 days until the season opener with Southern California?
And, unlike some past years, the lineup (though not some of the Western Athletic Conference dates) is both set and far from overwhelming.
There are at least two opponents that should be ranked to open the season, USC and Boise State — and whoever imagined the Broncos will likely start a season higher ranked than the Trojans?
But even with Boise State coming off a 14-0 campaign, the overall list of UH's upcoming major college opponents went just 73-78 in 2009.
Charleston Southern, a Football Championship Subdivision (formerly known as Division I-AA) team and lingering reminder of the days when schedules weren't established until three months before kickoff and UH was at people's mercy to get them done, was 6-5.
With a little luck — and improved health — the path back to the postseason is laid out for the Warriors. Bottom line is win just a couple of their six road games and take even five of the seven home games and the Warriors are back in the Sheraton Hawai'i Bowl.
A realistic enough and necessary goal, it would seem. Of course, the 2009 schedule was no Murderer's Row, either and UH finished 6-7. The NCAA ranked that UH schedule 97th among 120 major college teams based upon opponents' records.
But except for USC — with or without Pete Carroll and running back Joe McKnight — the home slate is definitely manageable in 2010. In addition to Charleston Southern, San Jose State (2-10), Louisiana Tech (4-8), Nevada-Las Vegas (5-7), Nevada (8-5) and Idaho (8-5) come to Aloha Stadium.
If June Jones and Southern Methodist could so dismantle the Wolf Pack here in the Hawai'i Bowl, you've got to like UH's chances even if Nevada running back Vai Taua returns from academic purgatory. Plus, just having Nevada walk back into the site of their worst nightmare has to be worth a few points for the home team.
On the road, between New Mexico State (3-10), Utah State (4-8), Army (5-7) and Colorado (3-9), you'd like to think there are two victories to be found even with trips to Fresno State (8-5) and Boise's blue turf.
The 2010 season is a little less than 10 months away, but after '09, it can't come soon enough for UH.