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Hawaii's outlook bleaker after rare loss to Idaho


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POSTED: Monday, October 19, 2009

Going in at Idaho, it really did look like a win for Hawaii to me. It appeared the Warriors had some good matchups they could exploit. I didn't believe the Vandals were as good as their record, didn't believe Hawaii was as bad as its.

I also didn't want to adjust my preseason prediction of a 5-8 record for the Warriors. Now it's pretty clear that I must, especially with another season-ending injury to a starter.

A lot of folks are telling me they won't win another game. Some say just New Mexico State. I'll be generous and say the Warriors also gut one out against Utah State or at San Jose State. Two or three years ago, who thought things could erode like this? About midway through the season, predicting a 4-9 final ledger makes you an optimist.

AS SATURDAY'S game got under way, my biggest questions began to cancel each other out. Would and could Idaho run over Hawaii like every other team has? Yes. Would and could fledgling UH quarterback Bryant Moniz operate his offense with poise in hostile territory? Yes.

So it became a forget-about-the-records game, at least for a while—and on both sides of the equation. It didn't matter that Hawaii had dominated Idaho every time they'd played, except for that time back before even I was born.

Even after the devastating injury to Rodney Bradley—one of UH's best offensive playmakers—the Warriors competed.

But the season-long problem of red-zone inefficiency came up again. I'm a big fan of trick plays, but the fake field goal was too early in the game for me.

Then there's that inability to stop the run. And the clutch third-down passes by the effective Nathan Enderle. I saw someone else named Nathan Enderle playing quarterback for Idaho last year and in 2007, but that guy was junk.

EVERY TEAM suffers injuries. The troublesome thing about many of those for the Warriors is their severity. Brashton Satele, Greg Alexander and now Bradley, all out for the season.

The receivers unit—so rich in capable members last spring—has thinned out dramatically. Can they take Greg Salas to the lab where they clone the mice and make a few copies of No. 1? Hoping that guys who began the season as backups can get healthy fast enough to start against Boise State is not the state to which you aspire.

The Broncos are up to 24-point favorites. The No. 6 team in the latest AP poll didn't look particularly impressive in edging Tulsa last Wednesday. They also lost points from some of the voters for not shaking off UC Davis quickly enough or stylishly enough.

Whether that translates into Boise State wanting to run it up on Hawaii remains to be seen. Chris Petersen is a classy guy, but even classy guys sometimes have to do what they must to impress the pollsters.

The vibe these days is a contender for a BCS bowl game from a non-BCS conference needs not only to win every game, but win impressively. Can't help but think that Hawaii's numerous narrow escapes in 2007 only to get its doors blown off in the Sugar Bowl has something to do with this.

I know that has to be offensive to you remaining true believers out there among the UH fans, and I'm sorry. I expect scathing e-mails from both of you.