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Low Expectations Should Spur UH

It was not a big surprise when Hawaii’s football team was picked at the bottom of the West division of the Mountain West Conference media poll. But when you realize that UH received the fewest votes in either division, and did not have a single player selected to the pre-season all-conference first or second teams, it was a reminder of how lowly the Rainbow Warriors are regarded around the conference.

Hopefully that will serve as a rallying point for this year’s players, who have their work cut out for them.

Predictions don’t mean much in August. There are many improvements to be made and much work to be done, but strong men working together can accomplish things they scarcely imagine. That will have to be the mindset when fall camp starts.

If they need further motivation, gaming site Bovada.LV lists UH’s under-over win total at 3.5 games. And while they haven’t put out their line for the first game publicly, head oddsmaker Pat Morrow says, “It will conservatively be USC by 28 points.”

Much to be done and precious little time to do it.

* With Brewers outfielder Ryan Braun cutting a deal with MLB on a 65-game suspension for performance-enhancing drug use, many baseball people were surprised and some disgusted.

To most, he was a guilty man saved by a technicality.

Braun, though, went to great lengths to impugn the integrity of the collector and continued the denials right up until last week. But he had 107 million reasons to come clean – the amount he’ll be owed by the Brewers after his suspension. If you were to ask Braun if it was worth it, the answer is probably yes. He said in his confession/apology, “I’m looking forward to putting this behind me.”

News flash, Ryan: It will never be behind you. You now have no chance to ever make the Hall of Fame and are unlikely to receive enough fan votes to be named to an All-Star team. As for MVP awards, you’ll be lucky to hold on to the one you robbed the Dodgers’ Matt Kemp of in 2011. But you will get all of the $107 million.

Kemp says Braun should be stripped of his MVP. Tigers pitcher Max Scherzer believes the Brewers should be able to void Braun’s contract. Dodger utility man Skip Schumaker said he’s taking the signed, framed jersey of Braun off the wall of his house so his son doesn’t associate Braun with Schumaker’s hard work and sacrifice.

Clean players are demanding a level playing field, and they will accomplish what the testing program and current sanctions have not: removing PEDs from baseball. With the player association following the lead of the majority of its membership, they will not fight much more serious penalties, and players prone to cheat will soon have to weigh losing a career or a contract if they are caught. MLB has gone from having the weakest PED elimination program in pro sports to the strongest – and as dark a day as many thought it to be when the Braun suspension was announced, it will end up being a very fine day for MLB, and the beginning of a new era for baseball.