|No. 11 Hawaii enjoying being the nation's only unbeaten team|
|Written by Admin|
|Tuesday, 27 November 2007 02:49|
The leading tackler for the unbeaten and 11th-ranked Warriors is already wearing out his T-shirt that says, ``2007 Western Athletic Conference champions.''
When asked how long he had worn the green, wrinkled shirt, Elimimian said, ``like two days.'' It looked closer to two weeks, but Elimimian wasn't taking it off.
``It feels good to be WAC champs outright for the first time ever,'' said Elimimian, who was the WAC defensive player of the week Monday after making 14 tackles in Hawaii's 39-27 win over Boise State on Friday night.
With the victory, the Warriors (11-0, 8-0) denied the Broncos (10-2, 7-1) a sixth straight conference championship and remained the nation's only unbeaten team. Hawaii needs a victory over Washington (4-8) on Saturday to finish 12-0 and earn a BCS berth.
``It feels like a huge weight has been lifted off our shoulders and now there's all this energy and new life,'' said quarterback Colt Brennan, who threw for 495 yards and five touchdown passes and received offensive player of the week honors.
If the Warriors can get past the Huskies, the Sugar Bowl is their most likely postseason destination.
``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 moved up three spots to 12th in the latest Bowl Championship Series standings. That's where they'll need to finish, at minimum, on Sunday to secure an automatic bid to the BCS.
Benson said he's ``confident and convinced'' Hawaii would get an invitation to college football's biggest stage if it finishes undefeated. He said the Warriors were ``undervalued,'' in the polls earlier in the season when they faced several lackluster opponents, including two Division I-AA teams and the bottom of the WAC.
But last week's win, ``really validated how good Hawaii is,'' he said.
Warriors coach June Jones said it's difficult to go undefeated on any level and noted the success of his team over the past two years. Hawaii finished 11-3 last year and has won 21 of 22.
``The three losses last year were by 18 points. That says a lot. The kids are believing in each other,'' he said.
The No. 12 ranking is the best in school history for Hawaii. The Warriors' 12-game winning streak is the longest in the nation and goes back to their victory over Arizona State in the Hawaii Bowl.