The Mountain West Conference has some new head coaches and a couple of them have found rebuilding football programs to be a very hard proposition. The University of Hawaii Warriors (1-5 overall, 0-3 in conference) are led by Norm Chow while Colorado State Ram's (1-6, 0-3) new coach is Jim McElwain. The two longtime assistant coaches will meet up in Fort Collins this Saturday (October 27) with the loser having the dubious distinction of possibly claiming last place in the Mountain West.
Battle at the bottom
Technically, these two teams are tied with the Wyoming Cowboys for the cellar in the conference. Both Colorado State and Hawaii were expected to finish in the bottom half of the league as per the preseason poll. Nonetheless, the dreadful results each team has had so far this year have been troubling for both schools. This game offers these two teams an opportunity to make a bad season better.
The Rams offensive production is anemic, averaging only 15 points per game. Their passing attack isn't half bad but now Colorado State has their third string quarterback under center (redshirt freshman Conner Smith) with the first two QB's out with injuries. The Rams star running back from last season, Chris Nwoke, has had an unproductive year due in part to nagging injuries, which has left their running game in the bottom 10 nationally.
The Warriors defense though has been a sieve and ranks as one of the worse scoring defenses in the country, primarily because they can't stop the run. The Hawaii secondary came into the season as likely the best unit on the team and they haven't disappointed, ranking in the top 25 against the pass.
Colorado State's defense is similar to their opponents with a good pass defense but weak against the run. The Warriors offense though has been feeble, especially to start games, as they've had only one field goal in the first quarter against FBS schools so far this year (see related articles). Hawaii was able to gain 391 yards when they played New Mexico two weeks ago, so possibly their offensive woes may have been solved ... or at the very least, on the mend.
Does home help?
This game will be close. The Warriors don't play well on the road and this game is a long road trip for Hawaii (3,400 miles each way). Also, Hughes Stadium is almost a mile high and the thin air will work against Hawaii. The talent level is fairly equal on both teams so it will come down to home field advantage. Final predicted score: Colorado State 27 - Hawaii 20.
After this game, the Colorado State Rams heads north to play another dismal team in the Wyoming Cowboys, while the Hawaii Warriors stay on the mainland and play Fresno State. Both of these games are rivalries.
Sources - Colorado State University, University of Hawaii, NCAA
Through thick and thin, Daryle has been a huge fan of college football as well as Hawaii, visiting there as a second home for over 40 years. Go 'Bows!