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Dave Reardon

Evening QB

By Dave Reardon

Tuesday, February 6, 2001

Where’s the hate?
It’s back, baby

WELL, it is recruiting season, so maybe the University of Hawaii should expect a de-commit or two from its football schedule. That certainly seems the thing to do these days -- book a game in Hawaii and bail.

Last year, Texas pulling out of its season-opener with UH created acrimony more fitting a bad Western than the civilized entertainment form of grown men banging into each other at high speeds.

To this day, fans throughout the islands continue to ask, "Which came first, the Longhorn or the egg?"

Whatever the reasons for Iowa State's withdrawal, one thing is clear: UH comes out of a potentially disastrous situation in a much better position than which it started.

From Hawaii's perspective, trading Iowa State for Brigham Young is sort of like swapping a dog-eared Troy Davis card for one autographed by Steve Young, in mint condition.

While the Cyclones are considered a potential Top-25 team going into next season, a home date with Brigham Young, regardless of record, will certainly draw more interest from UH fans.

The Cougars may have lost some of their national luster in recent years, but BYU is still a program with a large local following, and of course, a much bigger band of loyal haters.

If anything, the animosity has grown with the Cougars digging out for the Mountain West Conference with the rest of the cool kids, leaving the Warriors high-and-dry in the WAC over two years ago.

Call it a rivalry in hiatus.

The end of the Warriors' season this year will seem like old times, as the last two games are against Air Force on Nov. 24 and Brigham Young on Dec. 1.

That never-play-them-again edict by UH president Kenneth Mortimer certainly didn't last long, and there's serious talk about a continuing home-and-home series between the Warriors and the Cougars.

YOU'VE got to wonder if that was part of what swayed Kahuku stars Aaron Francisco and Saia Hafoka to make verbal commitments to BYU. Coming home to play football a couple times in your career is a nice inducement, that is, if you can handle the booing.

It's classless to single out for special mistreatment local kids who choose to go away, especially when religious reasons often factor into their decision, as is the case with BYU.

But, hey, a little hate can go a long way toward generating some genuine excitement.

Be honest now, it's easy to loathe the Cougars just for being the Cougars -- they didn't even have to chop-block, like UH coach June Jones accused TCU of doing two seasons ago.

All BYU had to do to earn UH's wrath was dominate Hawaii defenses with a string of brand-name quarterbacks leading a passing attack that could make even Jones blush.

The Cougars beat the then-Rainbows 10 times from 1978 until 1988.

After close losses in '87 and '88, Garrett Gabriel finally ended the hex, quarterbacking Hawaii to consecutive 56-14 and 59-28 blowouts of BYU.

In 1993, the Cougars started another stretch of consecutive victories, holding at six in a row.

Now, another local quarterback gets a shot -- or two, or three -- at UH's biggest rival.

The added motivation will probably have sophomore-to-be Tim Chang working even harder in the off-season, if that's humanly possible.

The rest of the Rainbows will have a little extra something to push for, too.

And they owe it all to Iowa State.

Dave Reardon, who covered sports in Hawaii from 1977 to 1998,
moved to the the Gainesville Sun, then returned to
the Star-Bulletin in Jan. 2000.
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