An Honest
Day’s Word

By Joe Edwards

Wednesday, August 25, 1999

Big football season
due in college ranks

THIS and that to chew on over lunch:

Football season is finally here. I don't know about you, but there aren't a whole lot of things I like more than college football. Beats the staid NFL, hands down.

In college, if you lose a game you can almost forget about playing for the national title. Now that's pressure.

Nowhere will that be more evident than Saturday in State College, Pa., when Dick Tomey takes his Arizona Wildcats into Happy Valley to play Joe Paterno's Penn State Nittany Lions.

The two teams are ranked Nos. 3 and 4, respectively, and both have legitimate shots at playing for the national championship in January.

We saw first-hand last season how good Arizona can be. It took all of what, 15 seconds, to see how explosive that team is.

Granted, Chris McAlister, who ran back the opening kickoff for a touchdown against UH, is playing in the NFL. But the UA offense, led by quarterbacks Ortege Jenkins and Keith Smith, can put points up in a hurry.

Penn State's defense will have to bring its A game to stop the 'Cats.

It'll be a great game, especially for the opener of what should be a great season.


Locally, the high schools kick it off for real this weekend.

St. Louis, the best team in the state, is playing in Utah, but the OIA has a full slate of games set and Punahou meets Kamehameha in the ILH season opener.

Hawaii will have a full-on state football playoff for the first time this season.

I feel kind of bad for the ILH teams, however. If St. Louis' bludgeoning of a team from Alaska is any indication, the Crusaders will march through their conference with little trouble.

Too bad, because the second place team in that league will likely be one of the top four teams in the state, if not one of the top three. Yet, that team will not get a playoff bid.

Four OIA teams, on the other hand, will be in the running.

That's not exactly right, but that's the way it is.

As Keith Amemiya, chief of the Hawaii High School Athletic Association explains it, the number of league berths in all of the state tournaments -- regardless of sport -- is determined by the size of your conference.

The OIA has 21 football-playing schools, so they get the most berths, as they do in the other state tourneys.

"The athletic directors decided they'd apply the same formula (for football playoffs)," Amemiya said.

"This is a concern that's been raised in other tournaments as well. It'll be evaluated and could change next year."

If the HHSAA decides to stick with an eight-team format, the OIA should have three spots in the playoffs. The ILH should have two.


Oceanic Cable begins a series of half-hour programs tomorrow night, focusing on the America's Cup challenge.

Hawaii will have an entry in the Louis Vuitton Cup, the Abracadabra 2000.

I got a chance to watch tomorrow's opening episode, thanks to Kaneohe Yacht Club commodore Bill Riddle, who also is a sales executive at Oceanic. It's an impressive, fun production.

You'll get a look at all 13 challenger teams during the series, including Aloha Racing's Abracadabra.

The shows will air each Thursday at 10 p.m. on Oceanic channel 16.


Joe Edwards is sports editor of the Star-Bulletin.

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