If the University of Hawaii Warriors desire to go to a bowl game in 2012, there are certain games on the schedule they need to win. There are a few games on the schedule they'll have a hard time winning and a handful of games that could go either way. But these four games listed below are gridiron battles that they should and certainly have to win to achieve any kind of success this coming season. Let's look at all four games and note: they're all at Aloha Stadium.
Lamar Cardinals - September 15
This will be the men of Manoa's home opener after starting the season against the powerful USC Trojans in Los Angeles (see related articles). Hawaii will have an extra week off between these contests. Lamar is a Division 1-AA team that is only in their third year of existence after disbanding their football squad a couple decades ago. The Beaumont, Texas, school was not very good last season, losing six of their last seven games to finish 4-7. Coming off a tough game like USC should give the Warriors the impetus for how to play great football and Lamar should be unproblematic.
New Mexico Lobos - October 13
The first half of the season will end with a visit by New Mexico and their new coach Bob Davies. The Lobos' from Albuquerque have been the laughingstock of the Mountain West Conference for the last few years; so Davies has quite a rebuilding project with a team coming off three straight 1-11 records and are picked by some to be the worst team in Division 1. Hawaii will be coming off back-to-back road games but New Mexico should offer a potentially trouble-free contest at home.
UNLV Rebels - November 24
By this date, the Warriors should know whether they can make a bowl game or not. UNLV hasn't had a winning football team in more than a decade and 2012 doesn't look any different. But Hawaii somehow lost to them in Las Vegas last season so the Warriors may have a little extra incentive to win this handily.
South Alabama Jaguars - December 1
This is another new gridiron program that has played football for only three seasons. The Mobile-based team will be a full-fledged Division 1 squad in 2013 but in the meantime, they've managed in those three seasons to have a winning record. The South Alabama offense doesn't look like much and they're going to a new spread offense which by the end of the year, they may have figured out. Their defense will keep the Jaguars from being blown out but Hawaii shouldn't have any problems with this contest.
If the Warriors can win these four games - which they should - then the season won't be a complete loss as they build towards the future. But these four contests are must wins.
Sources - University of Hawaii
Through thick and thin, Daryle has been a huge fan of Hawaii since visiting there 40 years ago and dozens of times since. Go 'Bows!
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