Sports Watch

By Bill Kwon

Thursday, December 5, 1996



How can we be
for BYU in any sport?

THE first thing Dave Shoji did when addressing the Quarterback Club on Monday was to apologize for the Wahine's loss to Brigham Young in the Western Athletic Conference volleyball tournament in the conference's home away from home - Las Vegas.

Shoji knows what losing to BYU in anything means to the University of Hawaii fans here. Losing even at tiddlywinks would be galling.

Sorry, Dave. But apologies not accepted by this old BYU hater.

Losing in football is bad enough. And basketball. And baseball. But Wahine volleyball? The one sport in which UH is uber alles, especially in interest and support?

How unthinkable. How frustrating. How galling. How killing.

And so the Wahine's loss to the Cougars just absolutely killed my day last Saturday. More so than the football Rainbows' wipeout by Wisconsin later that night. After all, that was expected, although maybe not so ridiculously easy as the Badgers made it.

But the Wahine losing? And to BYU, of all teams.

There is talk about the possibility of a rematch with BYU if everything falls into place in the NCAA Mountain Regional. A chance to get even for the Rainbow Wahine.

I hope it never happens. I hope BYU bows out as soon as possible. Besides, I don't want to take a chance of playing BYU again. Imagine the pain should the Cougars win again. The heck with any rematch just for a chance to get even.

Don't get even, get mad, all you true, blue UH fans.

Oops, wrong color. I see red whenever I see BYU blue.

So what happens?

Now, I see where it is in UH's best financial interests that we suddenly all start rooting for BYU in Saturday's WAC football championship game against Wyoming in Las Vegas. Where else?

A victory over the Cowboys would give the Cougars a shot for a Bowl Alliance berth, most likely the Fiesta Bowl.

Playing in the Fiesta Bowl would mean a staggering $8.75 million payday for the WAC. Hawaii's share of the conference pie would be roughly $467,000.

A BYU loss would result in a pay cut. Not bad for the Cotton Bowl, which pays $3 million, or the $1.2 million Holiday Bowl. At least UH would get a share in those two. But the drop-off is so drastic ($750,000) for the Copper Bowl or the Aloha Bowl, that it would result in no share at all.

And heaven forbid should BYU lose and somehow get invited to the Aloha Bowl. BYU twice in one season at Aloha Stadium? Now, that's something UH fans would die for . . . literally

So what it boils down to is this.

Why can't we all get along and be BYU fans for just this one week? For the good of the WAC, for the good of the UH athletic budget. And, don't forget, for the good of BYU.

And also so that the Cougars don't show up for the Aloha Bowl. Not that it'll ever happen.

SO it's a BYU must-win game for a lot of people in the WAC. I sure hope the game officials won't see it that way when they call the game.

At least outgoing Wyoming coach Joe Tiller hopes so. And Tiller added a good point during this week's conference call:

"I think the fans of the WAC, collectively, want the league to do well," he said. "But I don't know, for instance, how many Utah fans will cheer for BYU."

Amen, Joe.

I don't know how many UH fans would cheer for BYU, either, blood money, I mean, big bucks, or no big bucks. I would think they're a lot more loyal than Utah fans.

Whatever happens, let's hope for a great game. The WAC needs it. But let your conscience be your guide when you're asked to be a BYU rent-a-fan . . . for 30 pieces of silver.



Bill Kwon has been writing
about sports for the Star-Bulletin since 1959.




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