Playing Boise State has been tough enough for Western Athletic Conference opponents, but not playing the Broncos is turning out to be a formidable challenge, too.
With Boise State’s announced move to the Mountain West Conference in 2011 after winning or sharing seven of the last eight WAC football titles, the University of Hawaii is one of six WAC schools scrambling to fill a puka.
2011 UH FOOTBALL SCHEDULE
(With replacement for Boise State yet to be determined)
* Member of Football Championship Subdivision
"In football scheduling terms it (the 2011 season) is practically tomorrow," said UH associate athletic director Carl Clapp, who oversees scheduling for the Warriors.
"That’s one of the challenges of conference expansion and we have to deal with it," said UH athletic director Jim Donovan. "We feel like it is better than 50/50 we’ll have something."
WAC athletic directors are scheduled to discuss the situation at a meeting later this month and, so far, only Louisiana Tech and Utah State are listed as having found replacements. The Bulldogs are expected to play at Mississippi, while the Aggies will get a home date with Wyoming.
For the Warriors, who had been scheduled to play Boise State at Aloha Stadium in 2011, the loss of a lucrative home game is one thing. But with six road games and a Football Championship Subdivision opponent already booked, UH is boxed into something of a corner.
"Our options," Donovan said, "are to get somebody to play us here without breaking the bank, going on the road, playing another (Football Bowl Subdivision) team or just playing a 12-game schedule."
Adding a road game would, barring additional changes, leave UH with more road games (seven) than home games (six) for the first time in school history. UH is already contracted to play at Washington and Nevada-Las Vegas in 2011.
The process could be complicated by how soon the Pac-10 and other expanding conferences take on their new members and how many league games they choose to play.
The Warriors already have an FCS opponent, California-Davis. Adding another wouldn’t help them much, since the NCAA permits only one victory over an FCS opponent to be counted toward bowl eligibility each year.
Playing just 12 games might, for bowl qualification purposes, be a plus since UH would only need to go 6-6 to be bowl eligible. With a 13-game season, it would require seven victories, no small consideration in a season with Colorado, Washington and Oregon State already on the schedule.
Clapp said UH’s goal is to line up something within the next 30 days. "We want to do what is best for our football team and our fans," Clapp said.
Since UH wasn’t contracted to pay Boise State a guarantee, any nonconference opponent it would bring over would come at a cost and the visitor would have significant leverage.
Boise State has already said its schedule for 2011 will be full and it wouldn’t consider playing UH as a nonconference game.