The second half of the season brings another long road trip for the University of Hawaii Warriors. They will have two games back-to-back, first traveling to Fort Collins, Colorado, to play the Colorado State Rams. The game is at 5:00 PM Mountain Time on Saturday October 27th and will be played on Sonny Lubick Field at Hughes Stadium.
This football contest will be the seventh of the season for the Warriors and the eighth for the Rams. This renews a conference matchup (Mountain West) that originally started back in the old Western Athletic Conference when the teams played each other during the '80s and '90s.
At about 5,000 feet in elevation, the thin air might take a toll on Hawaii though at least the Warriors will be coming off a bye, heading into the contest. Colorado State will also be coming off a bye week. The teams will certainly be ready for each other.
The weather in late October for northern Colorado on the Front Range of the Rockies is a bit hard to figure but normally, it shouldn't be a factor. The kick-off temperature will probably be somewhere near 70 degrees, though again hard to predict, temps could dip down into the 30's.
New coaches rebuilding efforts
Both teams have new head coaches with Norm Chow for Hawaii and the Rams having added Jim McElwain. Chow's coaching history is almost legendary and McElwain's background has actually been somewhat similar being that both of them have never been a head coach. McElwain was the Alabama Crimson Tide's offensive coordinator - and he takes over a squad that has had three straight 3-9 seasons. Both teams will be amid their first year rebuilding efforts.
Colorado State's offense will be pedestrian at best. They will have a new quarterback with a receiving corps that is lackluster. The Rams have a solid offensive line and a good running back and these units will be where the team will have to rely on for yardage and scores. Against a Warrior squad that looks solid but small, they may be able to manhandle Hawaii's defense with the run game. However, the key here is that Colorado State is thin and by this time in the season, they may not have enough linemen to compete effectively.
The Rams defense last season wasn't very good so the new coaching staff will be changing over to the 3-4. That may not help as Colorado State was weak against the run and has no visible improvements in-store for 2012. The Warriors are looking to have a more balanced attack this year but whether they can actually deliver a decent running game is a question. Hawaii's strength on offense is their wide-outs but if the Rams have an advantage, it's in their defensive secondary.
Neither team will likely be coming into this game with a winning record. Both schools are in a rebuilding mode and whether either team can show much improvement by this time is doubtful. Each team will be developing a new quarterback and it may just be the difference-maker as to which one will be further along. And remember both teams have good secondaries.
This is a pick'em kind of game. I'd give a slight advantage to the Warriors but having to travel 3,400 miles and play in thin air isn't going to help Hawaii. The Warriors may jump out to a lead but the hometown school will come back. This will be a low scoring affair - figure a late fourth-quarter touchdown wins it - with the victory going a long way towards rebuilding the football program. Critical game for both clubs.
After this gridiron battle, the following week Hawaii stays on the mainland and visits long-time foe and rival Fresno State, while Colorado State travels an hour north to Laramie to play Wyoming in the 'Border War' rivalry game that has gone on since 1899.
Sources - University of Hawaii, Colorado State University, Mountain West Conference
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!
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