Looking For Wins On UH Schedule

Now that the Rainbow Warrior football team is inside of 10 days until kickoff, water cooler conversation centers on what to expect from this group in 2013. Fan opinion includes the usual extremes: The team will go undefeated; they won’t win a single game. Most are cautiously optimistic, with the more confident types believing bowl eligibility is an achievable goal, meaning 6-6 or better. I don’t tend to see the future in terms of absolute wins and losses. I believe every UH fan has a right to expect significant improvement in the second year with head coach Norm Chow, and continual improvement is how I’ll evaluate the success or failure of the season.

There are no sure things and no games that are impossible. Here’s a stab at dividing the schedule into four categories: Long Shot, Possible, Very Winnable and Should Win.

* USC. The home opener next Thursday features an impressively talented opponent that doesn’t have a ton of depth, and at the time of this writing is unsure of who its quarterback will be. It’s either Max Wittek (6-foot-4, 235) or Cody Kessler (6-foot-1, 215) but there’s not much experience between them. Wide receiver Marquise Lee is all-world but has an injured shoulder. Silas Redd appears to be the best of a solid group of running backs, and the defense is chock-full of four- and five-star recruits. This team may be playing for head coach Lane Kiffen’s job. Chances: Long shot

* Oregon State. The Beavers went 9-4 last year, but 6-1 at home. Corvallis is a huge home field edge for a team that returns 15 starters, including quarterback Cody Vaz, who is being pressed by former starter Sean Mannion, plus running back Storm Woods and receiver Brandon Cooks. Defensive end Scott Crichton anchors an aggressive defense. The Beavers feature a couple of Hawaii connections. Former UH player Joe Seumalo is the defensive line coach and his son Isaac is the starting center. Former UH offensive line coach Mike Cavanaugh has the same job there and his son Blair is a backup receiver. Chances: Long Shot.

* Nevada. The Wolfpack has a new staff, but still has former UH offensive coordinator Nick Rolovich performing that task. Quarterback Cody Fajardo is a playmaker, and Brandon Wimberly along with Aaron Bradley and Richy Turner are capable pass catchers, but you could use the Wolfpack defense as a colander. UH hasn’t had much success in Reno, but this is a new year. Chances: Possible.

* Fresno State. Impressive first year by Tim DeRuyter, going 9-4. The most physically talented team in the MWC is led by quarterback Derek Carr. They have speed at receiver with Isaiah Burse, Davante Adams and Josh Harper, with the running back position led by Josh Quezada. As usual, the offensive line will be solid. The defensive also returns eight starters and is very good upfront with two All-MWC returnees in nose guard Tyler Davison (6-foot-2, 311) and defensive end Andy Jennings (6-foot-2, 278). The secondary also brings back three starters. At least the game is in Honolulu. Chances: Long Shot/Possible

Next Week: Part II.