I’m in a charitable mood as I predict how the University of Hawaii football team will fare this season, because I’m confident the Rainbow Warriors won’t be as generous as they navigate their 12-game schedule that includes five I figure they will win. That is, if they don’t cough up the football like they did last year. That is, if they don’t get injured as much as last year.
Turnovers and injuries are impossible to predict. But I don’t think either of those situations can get worse for UH than they were last fall when Hawaii went 3-9 in coach Norm Chow’s first year.
Hawaii was 110th out of 120 teams in the Football Bowl Subdivision with a minus-1.17 per game turnover differential. The Warriors lost 20 fumbles and were picked off 13 times, compared to benefiting from 10 opponent fumbles and 12 interceptions. Injuries were rampant, and they lost so many defensive tackles they had to use undersized ends in the middle and opponents took advantage.
Chow promises to throw the ball more this season, and it appears he has the triggerman to do it in Ohio State transfer Taylor Graham. Graham has had good days and bad ones in practice, as should be expected from a redshirt junior who has had limited game experience and also missed significant playing time in high school due to injury. But Graham, son of former NFL quarterback Kent Graham, looks the part. He has a talented but raw group of freshman receivers to work with and an offensive line that must be improved from last year and figures to be with new coach Chris Naeole.
Too much has been made of UH’s schedule. It is rough every year; that’s how it is because of geography. It’s also tough for teams to come here, and that’s a big part of why I have the Warriors going 4-2 at home and 1-5 on the road.
They’re young, so they’ll be erratic. They still lack depth, but they’ve got some talent, and if they take care of the ball they will be better than last year.
They can’t help but be: 5-7, barring a rash of serious injuries.