Kicking Off Football 2012

This Saturday UH will take the field at L.A. Coliseum to battle the No. 1-ranked USC Trojans. USC has an abundance of talent. Sixty-one of its scholarship players were Regional Super Prep selections or better, and 49 were All-Americans, according to one group or another.

Just about every player was all-league or all conference. In the recruiting world, these are four- and five-star recruits.

Hawaii doesn’t have a single All-American, judging by USA Today, Parade or Under Armor. But we have some good players, and recruiting isn’t an exact science anyway.

The Trojans are a 39-and-a-half-point favorite, so nobody is expecting much from UH. A good chance to show up loose, play hard and try to make some good things happen.

USC coach Lane Kiffin told us because he doesn’t know what to expect from Hawaii’s defensive co-coordinator Thom Kaumeyer, USC will worry only about themselves.

Having worked with Coach Chow, Kiffin is very familiar with the Warriors’ offensive philosophy.

One USC beat writer predicts that while the game will not sell out the 93,607-seat Coliseum, he expects “north of 85,000.” That will mean a lot of crimson and gold.

All UH fans are invited to a pregame tailgate at Exposition Park West, adjacent to the Coliseum. A large number of former UH stars are expected to attend. Admission is free, food and drink are pay as you go.

For UH, Norm Chow expects to stick to a travel roster of 64. Though this is a non-conference game, and the Warriors could bring more, Chow wants to get everyone used to conference rules.

The battle continues for the No. 2 QB. Graves is now a receiver, but will be the emergency QB.

* I enjoyed interviewing USA Olympic volleyball captain Clay Stanley, who is as gracious and humble as any elite athlete you’ll ever meet. The 34-year-old Stanley fully expects to compete in 2016 in Rio de Janeiro, when he’ll be a youthful 38!

* I’ve got a plan for Washington Nationals ace Stephen Strasburg. If he really wants to pitch during the playoffs and World Serious instead of being shut down buy the team on an innings limit, tell the club that if it insists on ending his season, he will leave the Nationals at his first opportunity – no ifs, ands or buts.

That gives management an out, because there’s not much sense protecting his health for some other team and affording Strasburg and his teammates their best shot at the championship.