The thing about this Hawaii game is that it’s a little tough to be mad about. For a rival, I just can’t find hate in my heart for those guys. Hawaii is, objectively, much better than they were in the Norm Chow era. Coach Rolovich has breathed new life in to the Warrior’s program, leading them to a 4-6 record, and likely the first bowl berth for Hawaii since 2010. Granted, the entirety of my watching of this team has occurred after midnight on a periscope feed from an end zone most of the time, but they have much more fight and much better use of the talent they do have.
Offensively, the Warriors are okay. They are a fairly balanced attack against a bad defense, but if there is any resistance on the ground, Hawaii can’t get the run game going. Michigan, Air Force, and SDSU all held this team under 100 yards rushing at different points in the season. Their passing game is better, but is turnover prone. They turned over the ball 4 times in a 55-0 rout at SDSU last weekend, and I can’t imagine their confidence will be high coming in to play against another stout defense. While the Broncos aren’t quite in the statistical top 4 teams in the country, they also aren’t exactly like playing Nevada.
Defensively, Hawaii has also improved over recent years. LBs Jahlani Tavai and Trayvon Henderson are responsible for a combined 138 tackles, 4 sacks, and 5 turnovers on the season, and Hawaii has caused 13 turnovers on the season. It’s possible that winning the turnover and field position battles could make this an interesting game for Hawaii, but it’s just not that likely.
Boise State is legitimately better on the road than at home. They get more yards through the air, they average more touchdowns the ground, and they turn the ball over less. Problem is, the Hawaii trip is always rough. Sure, one might think it’s going to be a fun trip to a warm place to play an easy football game, but then someone pisses off a balcony and the offense gets mired down and all of a sudden Bronco Twitter moves in to complete freakout mode.
As it is and ever shall be, maybe this will be the week that Boise State finally puts together a complete game and RUTS a team that should be RUTS’d. Or maybe, the Broncos will struggle with the time changes this week and manage to just put together another win. Thing is, either way doesn’t equate to the Rainbow Warriors coming out of this thing with a surprise win at home over Boise State. Rolo is cool, and the differences in coaching are going to be interesting to watch. Both teams are capable to adjusting to their opponents level of play, for better or worse. Well, most of their opponents. Not expecting McNichols or Mattison to have a bad weekend on the islands – those two are just on another level. (Is Boise State the new #RBU now or nah?)
Focusing on football this week is going to be impossible for the first part of the week. Let’s hope Boise’s players can do their civic duty on Tuesday like the rest of us, and everything plays out in a way that keeping their eyes on school and practice and Hawaii makes sense. Sports are going to help us get over some of the animosity in the aftermath of the election, and the Broncos going to Oahu to play a game this weekend against a team full of heart and positivity is something to look forward to.
Go Broncos. Go Warriors. Go America.