As the mid-season arrives in college football, the landscape is starting to take shape and the Mountain West Conference is no different. The University of Hawaii Warriors and the New Mexico Lobos are two teams that came into this season with big changes, the biggest being new head coaches. One seems to be heading in the right direction while the other is certainly struggling.
The game will be at Aloha Stadium with a 6:00PM Hawaiian Time kickoff (10:00PM Mountain) on Saturday October 13th.
New coaches meet
Bob Davie came out of coaching retirement and the TV booth to take over control of a floundering New Mexico program that had won only three games in three seasons. So far this year, Davie has already guided his team to three wins in just six games, as the Lobos sit 3-3 overall and 0-1 in the Mountain West.
Norm Chow, who had been a very successful assistant coach for over four decades, took over the reins at Hawaii; and also, it's where he was born and raised. But over the first five contests, it hasn't been easy in paradise as the Warriors are 1-4 and 0-2 in the Mountain West.
New Mexico has some flaws on offense but what they do more than anything else is run the ball. In fact, the Lobos are in the Top 10 in the country for rushing yards per game. Their problem is they don't throw the ball … I mean they don't throw it, period. In their 35-14 win last week over Texas State, New Mexico threw the ball just three times. That's right, just three times with their quarterback B.R. Holbrook completing one pass in three attempts for nine yards - making the Lobos last in the country in passing.
And that may not change against the best unit the Warriors have: their secondary. But Hawaii doesn't stop the run very well plus they're thin on defensive line. So expect New Mexico to pound the ball at the Warriors.
Hawaii in turn may look at the Lobos defense and notice they don't stop the pass. New Mexico ranks in the bottom 10 in the nation against the pass. Of course, the Warriors also rank in the bottom 10 in total offense and are anemic whether throwing or running the football.
This is a battle between two schools that aren't very good. But the Lobos have one key ingredient that Hawaii doesn't have and that's a running game which can control a game and wear down an opponent. Even though New Mexico has to travel 3,300 miles to Honolulu, I believe they will prevail in a close one. Final predicted score: New Mexico 24 - Hawaii 20.
The New Mexico Lobos will leave the islands with a winning record heading into their next contest which will be a much tougher task the following week at the Air Force Academy. The Hawaii Warriors will have a bye before they set sail on a long road trip that starts at Fort Collins, Colorado, some 3,400 miles away.
If the Lobos are victorious, they and others may start entertaining the idea of a bowl game. Yes, it seems absurd that a team that was predicted to be the worse team in the country before the season started (source - KOAT), could actually be in a conversation about bowls is quite incredible. On the other hand, the Warriors had some expectations and a nucleus of good players from last season but have been almost a total failure so far in 2012.
New Mexico looks like a team on the rise while Hawaii, well, doesn't look to be going anywhere but down.
Sources - University of New Mexico, University of Hawaii
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!