As it stands right now, the 2020 University of Hawaii football schedule is in shambles. Four games, including three against marquee Pac-12 schools, have been canceled. UH Athletics Director David Matlin is doing what he can to find replacement opponents – he managed to secure a Sept. 26 home date against Robert Morris University – but clearly he has his work cut out for him. In other words, the 2020 season (if there is a season) is going to be just like the COVID-19 pandemic itself: equal parts scary and depressing; fiscally debilitating; and an imposing challenge that will require patience, understanding and teamwork.
Okay, that’s enough of that. Let’s look at the future.
What would be the ideal Rainbow Warrior football schedule? We have our own ideas. We crafted a hypothetical 13-game schedule that is tough but fair, entertaining for the fans, and strategically sound. We even made sure to give Hawaii two bye weeks to rest their bodies and heal their injuries.
Below is our version of the perfect UH football schedule. See if you agree with us.
Week 1: UCLA. We were looking forward to seeing the Bruins at Aloha Stadium this season. The last time Hawaii and UCLA played was in 1935. In this dream scenario, they don’t escape so easily this time. UCLA is a big-name opponent that is still very beatable. This would be a great way to open the season.
Week 2: PORTLAND STATE. Every school needs a “gimme” on its slate – an opponent that you should handily beat and give your second- and third-string players a chance to play. We chose Portland State because of their historical ties to June Jones and the run-and-shoot offense. Besides, the Vikings shouldn’t be complete pushovers: They upset UH, 45-20, in 2000 – JJ’s second season as UH head coach.
Week 3: @ LSU. Give us a chance to explain. We like Hawaii playing a national powerhouse every season, preferably on the road. We’ve played the likes of USC, Ohio State, Florida, Michigan, Nebraska and Alabama at their own stadiums. Why not LSU? Hawaii has never played LSU before, adding to the game’s intrigue. Also, this would provide a nice paycheck for UH. Finally, and most importantly, imagine the thrill it would be for the players to experience a big-time football environment in Baton Rouge. For an almost guaranteed loss, it’s still win-win.
Week 4: Bye Week #1
Week 5: NAVY. With the military having such a large presence in the Islands, this game is a natural. Hawaii’s games against the Midshipmen have always been competitive as well as entertaining. Ideally, of course, Ken Niumatalolo would still be the head coach.
Week 6: AIR FORCE*. We open the Mountain West Conference slate with a home game against the Falcons. Like Navy, Air Force is a run-heavy team. The idea here is that the Rainbow Warriors, having played the Midshipmen just the week before, will be better acclimated to contain the Falcons’ ground attack. Well, that’s the theory, anyway.
Week 7: @ SAN JOSE STATE*. If we had our way, Hawaii’s first road game in the MW would always be against a beatable opponent. They don’t get much “beatable” than the Spartans: Hawaii has a four-game winning streak against SJSU.
Week 8: COLORADO STATE*. The Rainbow Warriors return home for a conference matchup against the Rams. We envision this as a very competitive contest that could go either way. If Hawaii is going to be a Bowl-worthy team, this is the kind of game they need to win.
Week 9: @ BOISE STATE*. True, UH has never beaten the Broncos on the road. But we see this as an opportunity. If Hawaii upsets Boise on that ugly blue turf, this victory alone would make the season worthwhile.
Week 10: @ UNLV*. Of course, this has to be an away game. Hawaii fans wouldn’t want it any other way.
Week 11: NEVADA*. Nevada always gives Hawaii a tough game. Better to play them in the friendly confines of Aloha Stadium.
Week 12: Bye Week #2
Week 13: @ SAN DIEGO STATE*. After a much needed week of rest, Hawaii returns to the road one last time. Road games against the Aztecs aren’t as daunting as they used to be.
Week 14: BYU. We couldn’t help but include a late non-conference matchup against the Cougars. Even after all these years, beating them is still so delicious.
Week 15: FRESNO STATE*. We close out the regular season the best way possible: a game against another big rival that could have MW division championship or bowl game implications.
SoFi Hawaii Bowl: MARSHALL. The Thundering Herd is a Conference USA team that has had its share of marquee players over the years (Randy Moss, Chad Pennington, Byron Leftwich). They’re a middling team that is tough but beatable. As an added bonus, it would be the first-ever game between the two schools.
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