Bill Kwon

Sports Watch

By Bill Kwon

Thursday, October 7, 1999

It’s fun just to talk
about bowl bids

THIS might not be the week to encourage people to "Say, 'ah.' " Not with 30,000 dentists in town at the Hawaii Convention Center.

But what else can you say but "ah" with a pleasurable sigh when talking about the Hawaii Rainbows?

They are the talk of the town with four straight victories going into Saturday night's game against the Rice Owls at Aloha Stadium.

"Right now, they should be the talk of the WAC," said Rice coach Ken Hatfield.

Suddenly, it's Rainbow Fever thanks to first-year coach June Jones, who has resurrected the UH football program in just five games.

He has also had UH fans thinking the unthinkable: a postseason bowl game.

After all, the 'Bows are only three victories away from serious consideration by the officials of Bowl Games Hawaii for an at-large bid to either the Aloha Bowl or the Oahu Bowl.

Even Lenny Klompus, Bowl Games Hawaii CEO, salivated at the prospect of the Rainbows being good enough to play on Christmas Day.

Talk about one heckuva Christmas present.

I know, it's awfully premature to have such visions dancing in our heads.

Jones will be the first to tell you that.

When asked about the possibility of a bowl bid, Jones nimbly dodged the media blitz like the good quarterback that he once was.

"We're not thinking that far ahead. We're only taking it one game at a time," Jones said. "We're only worried about our next game, which is against Rice."

Yet, you know what?

THE very fact that we're sitting here right now and can speculate about such a possibility is sure fun, isn't it?

At this time of the season last year, the Rainbows were 0-5 and wondering if they'd ever win a game. They didn't.

A bowl invitation was the furthest thing from anyone's mind, let alone winning the conference championship.

So Rainbow fans can be forgiven and can speculate all they want. They haven't had the opportunity to feel this way for years.

One caller even asked if the Rainbows had to go to the Las Vegas Bowl if they won the Western Athletic Conference championship. He would rather see Hawaii play at home in the Aloha or Oahu bowl.

Is that guy a fanatic or what? But, like I said, it's sure a giddy feeling to be able to pose such scenarios for a change.

Speaking of scenarios, Klompus only chuckled when I suggested a possible UH-USC rematch for one of the games in the Aloha Stadium doubleheader on Christmas Day.

SURE, the Trojans whipped the Rainbows, 62-7. But this isn't the same UH team that had stage fright in the season opener. And Southern Cal sure ain't the same team it was, especially without quarterback Carson Palmer.

A real interesting, out-of-the-wild-blue-yonder scenario would be a matchup between Hawaii and Washington.

Imagine what a draw that would be to see the Rainbows taking the field against the Huskies, who have a volunteer coach named Fred vonAppen.

Of course, the only way the Huskies would ever get to play in Hawaii on Christmas Day this year is if the Rainbows don't qualify by winning at least seven games.

It would be a public relations disaster for Klompus to invite the Huskies if the Rainbows are available.

Like I said, though, it's sure nice to be able to talk about bowl possibilities for once, even this early in the season.

Ain't winning fun?

Way to go, Rainbows, way to go.

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

E-mail to Sports Editor

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