Looking At UH’s Victory Chances

UH is looking to beat UNLV again, as it did last year on Military Night. Randy Dela Cruz photo

This is the second in a two-part look at the UH football season.

* San Jose State. The Spartans went 11-2 last year, but the coach moved on to Colorado. Quarterback David Fales is a potential first-round draft pick, and Noel Grigsby and Jabari Carr are capable targets, but the Spartans must replace six starters on defense. While the Spartans were very good last year, I think sustainability is going to be a problem. Chances: Very Winnable

* UNLV. The good news for the Rebels is they have 18 starters back. The bad news is those guys went 2-11. Quarterback Nick Sherry shows promise, and Tim Cornett is a powerful runner, but UNLV can’t stop people, including the Rainbow Warriors, who laid 48 points on them last November. The game is in Las Vegas, so UH will have as many fans as UNLV. Chances: Very Winnable.

* Colorado State. The Rams have 17 starters back, but the talent level is average at best. Chris Nwoke is a talented running back. Shaquil Barrett at linebacker is the best defender. The game is in Honolulu and follows a bye for UH. Chances: Very Winnable.

* Utah State. New coach Matt Wells will have his hands full trying to duplicate Gary Andersen’s 11-2 record last year. First team All-WAC quarterback Chuckie Keeton is a dual-threat nightmare, and his whole offensive line returns. Linebacker Kyler Fackrell leads a defense that was the best in the WAC last year. Chances: Possible

* Navy. Hawaii’s first trip to Annapolis, where former Rainbow Warriors player and current head coach Kenny Niumatalolo has a skilled quarterback in Keenan Reynolds to run his triple-option attack. Noah Copeland can run the football; they need slot backs to step up. The defense is small but quick and returns seven starters. Former Hawaii high-schooler Wave Ryder is scheduled to start at the Navy version of strong safety. November weather on the Chesapeake can go either way. Chances: Very winnable.

* San Diego State. UH got kicked around in San Diego last year, and the Aztecs’ talent level is up. They return only five starters on offense led by running back Adam Muema and wide receiver Colin Lockett. Quarterback Adam Dingwell got a few starts last year and should be improved. The defense has nine starters back and will carry the team early. Good this one is at Aloha Stadium. Chances: Possible

* Wyoming. Laramie in late November will be either cold or bitterly cold, and you can’t rule out snow. Quarterback Brett Smith is a dual threat, and most of his skill people are back. The defense gave up a lot of points last year and needs to improve if Cowboys are to better last year’s 4-8 slate. Chances: Possible.

* Army. The good news for former UH defensive coordinator and current Army head coach Rich Ellison is he has 15 starters back; bad news is that those players went 2-10. The Black Knights need a new QB to run the option and a playmaker or two on defense. Chances: Very winnable.