Nevada game could bring the fans back
IF you're worried about attendance -- and if only 22,480 showed up at the stadium last time out maybe most people aren't all that worried -- I have some good news and some bad news.
Good news: Nevada. This next UH football home game looks like it could be a lot of fun.
"This is the biggest game right now we got going on," June Jones said yesterday. "It's a WAC game, it's a conference game, it's a home game, it's big. And we need to win."
Listen to that. Are you pumped yet?
Yes, this looks like a good one.
Nevada. Defending champs. A good offense, decent athletes, well coached. And, after winning the Hawaii Bowl in OT, last Christmas, you have to think the Wolf Pack will be one of the few Aloha Stadium visitors not intimidated by the trip.
There could be fireworks. This is a big one.
I'm genuinely excited. Can you feel it?
Nevada. Good news: This could be the most important, exciting, entertaining marquee home game of the season.
This could be the last marquee home game of the season.
Seriously, this could be it. The high point.
If you're worried about attendance, look down the schedule. I hope I'm wrong, but I wonder if the rest of the slate has much of a pulse.
No Drew (Brees).
Any sellouts there? Any games that might crack 40,000? Thirty, even?
Any of that make you say, "I can't wait to see that"?
San Jose State might save us. That one has a shot to be a good game. First, it's Dick Tomey coming home. Second, Tomey has the Spartans making strides. If anyone can come up with some defense, it's Tomey. If anyone knows how to go for the upset at Aloha Stadium, it's Tomey.
That one has a shot. That one could be fun.
But do you think San Jose State is better than Nevada?
No, I don't either.
This next game could be the highlight of the home season, right here. With two months to go.
A lot of this is nobody's fault. When the contract was signed we could still envision Purdue in the upper tier of the Big Ten. When we first saw Oregon State on the slate it was exciting, even.
Last month Herman Frazier told Dave Reardon why he struck a deal with the Beavers instead of opting to start a series with BYU: "If we were undefeated we have Purdue and Oregon State at the end of our schedule. What helps us more in the BCS, Oregon State or BYU? Strength of schedule."
Yeah. Exactly. Strength of schedule. That's exactly what this home schedule needs. Too bad it's often tough to look into the future to see what strength of schedule is going to be.
UNLV took a dive. Eastern Illinois?
"Colt told me his job was to get Inoke in there as soon as possible," UH quarterbacks coach Dan Morrison said of his starter being determined to get snaps for the backup guy. (OK, with some games, we know ahead of time.)
The road games have all the pizzazz this season. Alabama. Boise State. Fresno State will be interesting just because it's Fresno State. New Mexico State is a new, exotic road trip, an "equalizer" offense, a crazy (he's been sued by the ACLU) opposing coach. It could be a shoot-out.
And Utah State. Utah State ...
Well, you know.
Hey, I hope I'm wrong. I hope there's a sudden explosion. I hope the last five home games get a whole lot more exciting.
You never know. The big-time BCS-conference teams, Purdue and Oregon State, look a little rough right now, but they could play themselves into form. Louisiana Tech could have a miracle second half of the year.
Heck, Idaho went to Michigan State earlier this year and almost made John L. Smith slap himself in the face.
Maybe they'll all blossom, and there will be a last-minute rush at the ticket door.
If you're worried about attendance, you can only hope.
Conventional wisdom is you watch the home team not the other, that you show up no matter what. But with attendance in the 20s for most UH home games these past couple of seasons, that theory has gone out the window.
At the end of last season UH pulled out every stop, tried every promotion it could try to sell those last few games. Any ideas left?
The good news: This looks like a great game. Nevada. The best home game of the year. Look down the line. If 30,000 don't come through the turnstile for this one -- will they ever?