Streak means nothing with 8-3 Navy heading in


POSTED: Monday, November 23, 2009

So what does a 17-10 overtime victory against a one-win team tell us about Hawaii football?

Not a whole lot we didn't know (or chose to ignore) in August.

If before the season someone had made me pick a game UH would win (or, for that matter, lose) in overtime—especially by such a score—my guess would've been San Jose State. Don't forget, before college football instituted overtime, Dick Tomey accumulated a collection of 'Bow ties. Two years ago the Warriors had to go to OT at San Jose to keep the Sugar Bowl run going.

This game was destined to be close. It was typical Tomey—as underdog, find a way, any way, to hang within range and try to make a play to win it late. But fumbling on the potential winning drive isn't part of the formula.

The Warriors had plenty of chances to turn it into a rout. But the offense again could not finish off drives, and the Spartans hung close despite offensive woes of their own exacerbated by a ball-hawking Hawaii defense.

EVEN MY mother—who won't care much about football until Korean soap opera stars start playing it—has noticed.

“;Hey, they won again,”; she said. “;What's the difference?”;

My answer was quick. Maybe too quick?

“;They've been playing junk teams.”;

She gave me that doubting mother look, shrugged and moved on to the sudoku.

I did some quick math to make sure I was right. The combined record of the teams Hawaii has beaten the past three weeks is 7-25. Add in the other two wins—Washington State and Central Arkansas—and it is 13-41.

That doesn't matter to casual observers like Mom and the people who hired Greg McMackin. The latter are overjoyed with this most recent win, since it significantly cools the flames under his (and their) okole. A loss to a 1-8 team would've had the opposite effect, squared.

Now, even if the Warriors are blown out in these last two games, all the cries in the world to fire the coach will be of no avail. UH finished its WAC season at 3-5, and will end up no worse than tied for fifth in the conference. Yes, that is not what you'd expect from a million dollar a year coach. But any minuscule chance for a spark to raise enough furor for the massive buyout died when Jeramy Bryant knocked down that fourth-down pass, giving UH yet another narrow win at Spartan Stadium.

SOME SUGGEST Navy will come in here like a bunch of sailors on shore leave because it has already accepted a bowl bid. And that the time difference will make the Midshipmen groggy.

It's easy to call Bravo Sierra on both of those.

This will be a pride game for the Mids; Ken Niumatalolo isn't the Hawaii state icon Tomey is, (he could be in time) but is a huge symbol of success for Polynesians, and his players are smart enough to understand how important this game is to him.

And future Marine Corps and Navy officers with jet lag? Give me a break ... some of these guys have already flown jets.

Hawaii has not beaten anyone with a winning record all season. Barely squeaking by the last-place team in the WAC doesn't mean that will change Saturday against 8-3 Navy.

Reach Star-Bulletin sports columnist Dave Reardon at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address), his “;Quick Reads”; blog at starbulletin.com, and twitter.com/davereardon.