A season defined by change will take the University of Hawaii football team and head coach Norm Chow back to a few familiar settings and bring some dormant rivalries back to the schedule.
In his first month as head coach, Chow returns to two stadiums where he crafted much of his resume as one of the nation’s most celebrated offensive coordinators.
The Warriors open Chow’s tenure against USC — the top-ranked team in the Associated Press preseason poll — at the Los Angeles Coliseum, where he called plays for Heisman Trophy winners Carson Palmer and Matt Leinart.
|MOUNTAIN WEST CONFERENCE PRESEASON POLL
First-place votes in parentheses
Four weeks later, Chow returns to Provo, Utah, where he spent 27 years working up from graduate assistant to assistant head coach at Brigham Young, where he tutored another Heisman winner in Ty Detmer.
UH was picked to finish seventh in the Mountain West Conference’s preseason poll and the program’s move after 33 years in the Western Athletic Conference brings foes from the recent and relatively distant past back into play.
Nevada and Fresno State accompanied the Warriors in trading membership in the WAC, now crippled by a series of defections, for a spot in the Mountain West.
Here-today-gone-tomorrow Boise State, the MWC’s preseason favorite, returns to Aloha Stadium in November as part of the MWC schedule before the Broncos bolt again for the Big East.
UH hasn’t faced New Mexico and Colorado State — part of the group that broke away from the WAC to form the Mountain West in 1998 — since the Rainbow logo was still part of the football program’s identity. The Warriors have played Air Force and San Diego State just once each since the split.
UH opens and closes the home schedule against fledging programs in Lamar and South Alabama. Lamar football had been inactive for 20 years before being resurrected in 2010. South Alabama fielded its first team in 2009 and is a year away from full-time FBS status.