Hawaii’s midnight Warriors are college football's sleepers
BLAIR, Neb. » It is cold on the mainland. Cold and dark. The kind of cold and dark -- oh, and also gray.
Cold and dark and gray. The kind of cold and dark and gray that could be depressing. The kind of depressing that could drive a person to drink. And not good-fun beer drinking or worldly no-wine-before-its-time drinking. No, stuff you could light on fire.
You know. Um. Hypothetically.
But these good people of the Midwest (they like to call it "the Heartland," as in, "Heartland Values," which is a lot like the "Aloha Spirit," only more Republican) know how to find their rays of light. But this time called for desperate measures. They turned to the ultimate secret of happiness. You know what I'm talking about. You know the ultimate secret of happiness.
They fired their athletic director and then their head coach.
(It was really low class to see those "Fire Herman Frazier" signs at Aloha Stadium. Although the people of Nebraska seemed to really, really, really enjoy the experience.)
On the day that it was announced that famed Nebraska football coach Tom Osborne was coming back as the new AD, we were driving down a cold and lonesome highway (west of Omaha), and then you could see it out of the darkness: a spotlight! In front of a farmhouse, several miles outside of town, there, a giant, oversized, inflatable, 7-foot "Lil' Red" Nebraska mascot, signaling "We're No. 1" with his giant, oversized, inflatable finger. The homemade sign alongside it dazzled red and white in the night: "Hope Restored!"
(They have "Tom Osborne is back" T-shirts available for your Christmas-shopping needs. Several varieties and colors available. Let me know, I can hook you up.)
Still, UH fans, take note: Although firing one's athletic director can be extremely gratifying, it often doesn't actually do much. Even with the great and powerful Oz giving pep talks to the boys, the Huskers kept losing. They gave up 76 points to Kansas.
Here's how bad it is: The radio play-by-play man quit.
In the middle of the season. He quit, couldn't do it any more. Didn't show up to the Kansas game, then had an announcement a few days later. Oh, he talked about being a workaholic, and health reasons, and not seeing his family ...
But the theory is that the guy loves the Huskers so much (he makes Bobby Curran seem like a cynic), he just could not process the losing and had some sort of mental/emotional meltdown. That's my guess. Meanwhile, Hawaii keeps winning. I know this because each game's scores reach me sometime in the middle of the next week.
You may wonder what the perception is on the mainland regarding the Warriors' undefeated season. Here it is: There isn't one. Nobody knows. Nobody cares. Buzz for the big UH-Boise State match-up? None. It's not that anyone has anything against UH. It's that, national television? You can call it national television, but those games start at 10 p.m. I was able to stay up to the start of the second quarter of the Fresno State game before I slipped into a coma.
I'm still recovering from having stayed up to watch the Nevada game in its entirety. What a mistake. I'm never doing that again. Was it an exciting, exhilarating, incredible college football game? Of course it was. But let's face it, I'm at the point in my life where I'm not staying up until 2 in the morning for anything. It's just not worth it. No matter what it is, no matter how good it is, if I'm up until 2 in the morning for it, I'm not going to enjoy it.
No, not even that.
Not even for football.
Kalani Simpson is a guest columnist for the Star-Bulletin.