Still More to Accomplish
Hawaii already has tied a school record for wins, earned its highest national ranking ever and won its first outright WAC title. The 11th-ranked Warriors, however, feel there's a whole lot left to accomplish.
Led by Heisman Trophy hopeful Colt Brennan, Hawaii looks to remain the only undefeated team in the Football Bowl Subdivision as its bid for the first BCS bowl invitation in school history continues Saturday in its regular-season finale against Washington at Aloha Stadium.
Oddsmakers from Bodog have made Hawaii -14 point spread favorites (View College Football odds) for Saturday’s game (Game Matchup). Current public betting information shows that 66% of bets for this game have been placed on Hawaii -14 (View College Football bet percentages).
The Warriors (11-0) clinched sole possession of the WAC championship last Friday with a 39-27 victory over Boise State, tying a school record with their 11th win - a mark set in 1992 and matched last season.
This year's team, however, is in position to do much more than the previous 11-win Hawaii clubs. The Warriors are 12th in the BCS standings, and if they finish in the top 12 after Saturday's finale, they'll get an automatic bid to a BCS bowl game for the first time.
After clinching their first conference title since they were WAC co-champs with TCU and Fresno State in 1999, the Warriors say they're ready to take the next step.
"It feels like a huge weight has been lifted off our shoulders and now there's all this energy and new life," Brennan said after beating Boise State.
Brennan has carried the Warriors all season, ranking in the top 10 in the FBS in passing yards (3,732) and touchdown passes (33) despite missing one game with a sprained ankle and most of another due to a concussion.
The senior quarterback threw for 495 yards and five touchdowns in the win over then-No. 17 Boise State, breaking the major college football record for career touchdown passes with 126 through three seasons. The previous record was 121 by 1990 Heisman winner Ty Detmer, who reached that mark in four seasons at BYU from 1988-91.
"(Brennan) was the best college football player in America last year and he still is this year," Warriors coach June Jones said. "If he plays good next week and we win it, he should win the Heisman Trophy."
The Heisman is a sidebar for Brennan, who remains focused on the Warriors' unprecedented success.
"To be here 11-0 with a ring and the WAC championship, I mean it seems like a fairy tale," Brennan said.
Last season, Boise State was the WAC sweetheart, and the Broncos rode their undefeated record through WAC play into a Fiesta Bowl matchup with Big 12 powerhouse Oklahoma. The Broncos were heavy underdogs entering that game, but pulled out a thrilling 43-42 overtime victory.
Now, Hawaii wants a chance to do the same.
"What Boise State was able to do last year, Hawaii is on the cusp of doing that this year," WAC commissioner Karl Benson said. "It demonstrates the strength at the top of the WAC."
The Warriors are the latest in a series of tough opponents for the Huskies (4-8), who haven't lived up to expectations after opening the season with back-to-back wins, including an upset of then-No. 22 Boise State on Sept. 8.
Since that victory, Washington has lost all four of its games against ranked opponents.
The Huskies fell 42-35 at home last Saturday to archrival Washington State. Redshirt freshman quarterback Jake Locker returned from a neck injury to throw for 224 yards and a touchdown and rush for 103 yards and two more scores. Locker, though, also threw two interceptions while completing only 12 of 35 passes.
Huskies coach Tyrone Willingham knows a win over undefeated Hawaii can help Washington win back some of the luster it lost with its disappointing 2-7 showing in Pac-10 play.
"I think there are a lot of good things to draw from this," Willingham said. "We've got an opportunity to go play a football team that gives us an opportunity to recover some of the things that we've lost this year."
"We've got an opportunity to play a football game in December. When you start playing in December usually good things are happening and we want to start recognizing that."
This will be the third meeting between these schools. Washington beat Hawaii 53-13 in the Pineapple Bowl on Jan. 1, 1938, and Hawaii won the only regular-season meeting 10-7 in Seattle in both teams' 1973 season opener.
by: Staff Writers - Email Us
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