ready to roll
THE football season starts this week with nonconference games for six Western Athletic Conference schools. The only prediction we'll make is just two of these games will be decided by fewer than 14 points.
Idaho at Washington State: Maybe the Vandals should play some Eminem on the bus from Moscow to Pullman for this long road trip; it's 8 miles.
"We treat it like a home game," Idaho coach Nick Holt said.
Alas, a home game with a lot fewer fans than the other guys.
Nicholls State at Utah State: The Colonels hail from Thibodaux, La.
"Unfortunately for those guys, they're battling the hurricane. We hope they and their families are all safe," Aggies coach Brent Guy said.
Unfortunately for Guy's guys, Nicholls runs the option -- always a tough proposition for a defense early in the season. Reference, Hawaii vs. Rice in recent years.
UH fans also remember what happened the last time an unheralded team traveled west from a hurricane for a season opener against a WAC team.
Sorry for bringing that up.
Eastern Washington at San Jose State: Dick Tomey begins his Spartans tenure with a dangerous foe -- the Division I-AA powerhouse Eagles.
Will the Spartan Stadium stands fill up for a non-glamor opponent with a chance to beat the home team?
Tomey hopes to build steadily so questions like that become obsolete.
"Sometimes with a new program it's going to be wait-and-see. Some people are excited and can't wait to see us play," Tomey said. "We want it so it's not who we're playing, and we get people used to coming to the stadium."
Boise State at Georgia: The big game of the week for the conference. The Broncos have a shot at not getting trimmed Between The Hedges.
BSU coach Dan Hawkins sounds like he wants to sign up Vili The Warrior for this one.
"I don't know, it's like Jurassic Park," he said. "We need a thousand villagers with spears to surround them. We have to throw fast with a lot of spears."
UTEP at New Mexico State: The entire league hopes the Aggies can WACk the Miners, since UTEP two-stepped away to Conference USA after last season. NMSU coach Hal Mumme is glad he was able to decide on starting QB Royal Gill early in camp.
"When you start giving reps to one guy, he (develops) nuances, little signals with the receivers. It helps there," Mumme said.
USC at Hawaii: Will the Warriors run the ball more while quarterbacks Colt Brennan and Tyler Graunke (the order coach June Jones named them in yesterday's WAC teleconference) learn the shoot part of the run-and-shoot?
Jones tried to sound like a man without, shall we say ... options.
"I would say probably not. There's only limited things we can do running with four wideouts. We're not in a position to change that," he said. "I've been in this situation before. We just have to watch what they do and keep inching along."
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Dave Reardon is a Star-Bulletin sportswriter who covers University of Hawaii football and other topics. His column appears periodically.
E-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org