There are more doubters than not right now that head coach Norm Chow still doesn’t have the pieces in place to make a run at a winning season and/or bowl game. So where is the University of Hawaii Warriors heading in 2013 and what kind of record will they have?
Rather than give a hard number right away, let’s look at the schedule with a running tally and consider where the men of Manoa can pick up wins … and losses.
This is somewhat of a disclaimer (how’s that for a disclaimer). Analyzing how good a team will be when it’s still spring and since we have really no idea how teams will develop or devolve as the season goes along, makes this exorcise little more than a guessing game. Still, there are certain aspects we do know – like the schedule, which came out recently (see related articles).
First of all, although the schedule starts off onerous, it has some holes in it that may offer a glimmer of hope should the offense improve with a new blue-chip quarterback (source: Examiner) and the defense continues where they left off last season. To be honest though, the first two games against Top 25 teams from the Pac-12 (USC and at Oregon State) aren’t likely good measures for how the team might do as the year progresses. Also, those two games may be the only ones where the Warriors will be heavy underdogs. After two games, they’re 0-2.
The third contest of the year, after a bye week, will be on the road for a Mountain West Conference opener versus the Nevada Wolf Pack. The Wolf Pack have a new coach as Hall of Famer Chris Ault has retired again – and sadly for Wolf Pack fans, this time it’s for real. Incoming Brian Polian is a head coach for the first time in his career. That didn’t work too well for Hawaii’s coach Norm Chow last season so this may be a hit and miss year for Nevada. However, they play well at home and the Warriors don’t play well on the road, so it’s possible Hawaii could come home 0-3. And it doesn’t get any easier as rival Fresno State Bulldogs visits Aloha Stadium. The Bulldogs look like a bowl team again this year so this game might put a lot of pressure on the Warriors to try to avoid an 0-4 start. They could be either 2-2 or 0-4 at this point, but we’re splitting the difference at 1-3.
Hawaii stays home for another league battle against a new entry into the Mountain West, the San Jose State Spartans. The Spartans used to be a laughingstock and they do have a new coach but that’s because the program has improved and their coach, Mike MacIntyre, is now in charge at a Pac-12 school working for the Colorado Buffaloes. This game looks like one the Warriors can and must win. Hawaii then heads off to play the UNLV Rebels in Las Vegas. The Rebels don’t look very good and this is a must win on the road for Hawaii if they want to entertain any ideas of playing in the postseason. Six games into the season, they’re 3-3.
After another bye week, the Warriors play at Aloha Stadium against the Colorado State Rams, who like Hawaii, weren’t very good in 2012 and don’t appear to be any better this season. If they win the games they should win, the Warriors will head out on the road for two weeks with momentum and a winning record of 4-3.
Their first stop will be against the Aggies of Utah State. The Aggies program has improved over the years, so much so that head coach Gary Anderson was hired by Wisconsin of the Big Ten to be the Badgers new coach. However, offensive coordinator Matt Wells is the new head coach for Utah State; so don’t expect much drop-off. Win or lose, the show must go on and Hawaii stays on the road and heads to the east coast where they will play the Navy Midshipmen in Annapolis, Maryland. The Warriors played well against an Air Force team last year with a similar offense to Navy’s, so anything is possible. They split these two road affairs and sit 5-4.
After a half-a-days journey home from the Naval Academy, Hawaii plays a tough home contest versus the San Diego State Aztecs, who have become a bowl regular. The Warriors though aren’t done with big-time travel as they turn right around and head to Laramie, Wyoming, to play the Cowboys. Yes, a long trip to play in sub-freezing conditions at the highest stadium (elevation-wise) in Division 1 will take everything the men of Manoa can muster up. Wyoming is down right now so who’s to say Hawaii can’t win this gridiron contest. They head back home for their season finale against the Army Black Knights – a winnable game. In short, the Warriors will be hard pressed to beat the Aztecs and Cowboys, meaning Hawaii simply must beat Army at season’s end … and they will.
Final record for 2013 is 6-6 and a trip to, well, actually it won’t be a trip at all as the Warriors will be home in the Hawaii Bowl at Aloha Stadium. This scenario is plausible but contingent on a good defense and an improved offense due in part to new quarterback Taylor Graham. The Hawaii Warriors improve enough to go bowling on Christmas Eve in 2013 … barely.
Additional source: University of Hawaii
Hawaii 2013 Football Schedule Finally Announced
USC at Hawaii: Three reasons why opener might be an upset special
Hawaii Warriors Lose Left Tackle
Through thick and thin, Daryle has been a huge fan of Hawaii, visiting there as a second home for over 40 years. Go ‘Bows!