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No easy road to another WAC flag

By Jason Kaneshiro

LAST UPDATED: 10:20 p.m. HST, Sep 02, 2011

Just as Hawaii targets its goals for the new season, the Warriors figure to be in their opponents’ cross hairs throughout the fall.

Dates against the Warriors may be highlighted a bit brighter on opponents’ calendars this season, and not only because it will be Hawaii’s last in the Western Athletic Conference.

The Warriors’ 13-game regular-season schedule opens with a visit by Colorado, which will herald the arrival of a new era with its visit to Aloha Stadium. It ends with the renewal of a rivalry with Brigham Young.

In between, there’s a two-game road trip to Seattle and Las Vegas followed soon after by the Warriors’ final run through the WAC before departing for the Mountain West Conference.

With Boise State already gone to the MWC, Hawaii enters the new season as the WAC’s preseason favorite in voting by coaches and media. The Warriors swept through the current conference lineup last year, no doubt stoking a desire for payback throughout the WAC’s other seven campuses.

Nevada and Fresno State will also bid farewell to the WAC after this season and are expected to contend for the title as well. The five holdovers for 2012 — Louisiana Tech, San Jose State, New Mexico State, Idaho and Utah State — will seek breakout seasons before heading into an uncertain future for the conference.

The schedule ends with nonconference matchups with Tulane and BYU, both teams — like Hawaii — harboring heightened expectations for the new year.

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