POSTED: 1:30 a.m. HST, Jul 12, 2011
Once more, it seems, Dennis Franchione has come back to haunt the University of Hawaii football team.
This time without even stepping on a football field. And, that's the problem.
Over parts of two decades and as a head coach at three stops — New Mexico, Texas Christian and Alabama — Franchione has had the Warriors' number.
He holds the distinction of being undefeated against UH over six meetings spread among the schools, which would be a Warriors opponent record if such a category existed. Only one other coach, Ken Hatfield, has wins over UH at as many schools but is not undefeated.
So, you begin to appreciate not only how much UH was looking forward to playing the well-traveled Franchione now that he has landed at Texas State, but how bitter the Warriors are that he pulled the plug on what they contend was an agreement for a 2012 game.
Be assured it has been taken very personally in Manoa, where athletic director Jim Donovan said, "We won't be working with Texas State anytime in my tenure."
Had UH not been invited to join the Mountain West in 2012, there's a chance the two schools would have met in the Western Athletic Conference, where the Bobcats are headed, along with Texas-San Antonio as replacements for Fresno State and Nevada.
So it was with considerable interest that UH noted Franchione's hiring by the Bobcats in January and read with excitement Texas State's proposal that they play a game in '12. Especially because an earlier cancellation left the Warriors with a game to fill on the '12 schedule.
After "five or six months" of talking, UH said an agreement was worked out to bring the Bobcats here, only to have Franchione scuttle it when contracts were to be sent out.
When Texas State asked for a better financial package, UH said it complied, upping the terms. When the Bobcats requested a home game, UH said it offered a two-for-one deal and would make a later appearance in San Marcos.
Texas State athletic director Lawrence Teis said the Bobcats were interested in UH when they found out they would not be eligible for a bowl or the WAC title in '12 and saw a trip here as "great." But Teis said "we also had not completed (scheduling) our other 12 games yet. When that started coming together, we noticed a tough schedule (Houston, Texas Tech, Nevada, New Mexico, Navy, Stephen F. Austin, UT-San Antonio, New Mexico State, Louisiana Tech, Idaho, San Jose State and Utah State) and were trying to decide whether to add another game. Ideally, if Hawaii would have been in September or October, we probably could have made this work."
Instead, as a 13th game in December, "Coach Fran was concerned that (date) would cut into recruiting, which we desperately need to do moving to (the FBS) level," Teis said.
UH says it has been left scrambling to fill the final puka for '12 and, with nonconference road games already at USC and BYU, might have to consider either playing a record seventh road game in its inaugural MWC season or be resigned to a 12-game schedule.
Now, more than ever the Warriors want that crack at Franchione.
Reach Ferd Lewis at email@example.com.