BCS bucks will make Hawaii better
Now that a hefty BCS payout is confirmed for the University of Hawaii, coach June Jones already has a wish list of improvements for the roughly $4.5 million the school will receive.
"Hopefully, it means we'll get some new carpet and new stuff in my office," Jones deadpanned.
Jones and his counterpart for the Georgia Bulldogs, Mark Richt, had the opportunity to voice their thoughts on matching up in the 74th Allstate Sugar Bowl via conference call yesterday.
In all seriousness, Jones said the increased funding takes the team's recruiting plateau, previously limited to $50,000, up a notch.
"The identity, what's happened to us and how we do it, it's a little different," Jones said. "We haven't even made trips to the mainland to recruit because of the money situation. ESPN, Fox and all the TV exposure, which I knew would come as we got to winning with our offense, people would want our games on TV. We're getting calls from Atlanta, South Carolina, Florida. It brings us into a new arena."
Following two sold-out games at Aloha Stadium, a national TV audience got to see a bit more of the island fervor surrounding the Warriors yesterday, as a crowd of about 7,000 turned out in the Stan Sheriff Center in the afternoon to see the BCS pairings announced with the team as Fox cameras rolled for their selection show.
Jones and quarterback Colt Brennan were interviewed live, and the Warriors did their ha'a for the fans and cameras. When the arena's large flatscreen displays beamed the Bulldog "G" next to the Warriors' "H" as the Sugar Bowl opponents on the selection show, the fans erupted for about the 10th time.
"We're very appreciative of all of you coming and cheering," Jones told the crowd, calling them their "12th man" during their 35-28 comeback win over Washington. "This season for me started before the 2006 season. They took it upon themselves to do some unbelievable things; I'm so proud of their effort. (This is) once in a lifetime and it's been a real special season."
On the teleconference, Jones voiced confidence that Hawaii would fulfill its allotment of 17,500 tickets in the Louisiana Superdome for the Jan. 1 game.
"It'll be a challenge in the Superdome, with all those Bulldog fans, and I know how many come down there," Jones said. "It's going to be like a home crowd. We're hopefully going to have the whole state of Hawaii there proving they can equal (it)."
It appears the entire state of Georgia could be: According to scout.com, the Bulldogs had already sold out their allotment, plus an additional 5,000 tickets. The indoor arena, home of the New Orleans Saints, seats 72,003.
While Richt was understandably disappointed that his No. 4-ranked Bulldogs were leapfrogged by Southeastern Conference champion LSU to play in the BCS championship game, he's seen enough of the 12-0 Warriors as a coaches poll voter to take them very seriously.
"I've got a lot of respect for what you've done there, Coach, and look forward to seeing you here in New Orleans sometime," Richt told Jones. "Our players are jacked. I just got done talking with them, and it's going to be a war, I know it. I was at the Hula Bowl (last season), coaching there, I got a little flavor of what the Hawaiian young men are all about. I tell you, they're tremendous physical specimens and tremendous competitors."