Big time begins
Hawaii's on-site preparations for the Sugar Bowl are under way
The Hawaii football team was scheduled to land in New Orleans this morning for the program's first BCS bowl game and first away-from-the-islands postseason encounter since 1992.
A whole new world, this Sugar Bowl stuff.
Hawaii (12-0) vs. Georgia (10-2)
» Tuesday, 3:30 p.m.
» Louisiana Superdome, New Orleans
» TV: KHON Ch. 3
» Radio: KKEA 1420-AM
» Line: Georgia by 7 1/2
Still, when the wheels hit the ground, the Warriors could say that in some ways, they'd been here before.
A week on the road might not affect UH, as it spent 10 days in Louisiana, Texas and Nevada in September, squeaking past LaTech in overtime and pasting UNLV a week later. Coach June Jones considered the trip a galvanizing experience, a team-building exercise that helped the Warriors go 12-0.
This trip is a little different, though, a seven-day combination of celebration and preparation for the biggest game in program history (the third-straight UH game to earn that label).
On Jan. 1, next Tuesday, the Warriors play Georgia, and UH's reputation is at stake. A victory or even a close loss to the No. 4 team in the nation means the many who consider Hawaii's 12-0 record a faker's dozen will be forced to re-evaluate.
A blowout loss and the I-told-you-so's will be plentiful and disheartening for Warrior Nation.
Jones has coached in the Superdome before in NFL games, but not in a contest of this magnitude. He said the hype will be akin to that other bowl, the one the pros aspire to.
"I think it will be very similar," Jones said. "Especially with LSU being there, too, in the same hotel (for the national championship game Jan. 7). It's going to be a Super Bowl atmosphere."
The Star-Bulletin begins its on-site coverage with online reports tonight and in tomorrow's print editions.