Fresno State

Hawaii's the new Boise State

FRESNO -- First Boise State, now Hawaii, right?

Armed with its high-powered offense and Heisman candidate quarterback Colt Brennan, Hawaii seems to be the next logical team from a mid-major conference to crash into a Bowl Championship Series game.

But like Boise State's 13-0 run last season that ended with a victory over Oklahoma in the Fiesta Bowl, Hawaii, too, will have to go undefeated to get an invite.

That's a certainty.

And then, there's a strong possibility even perfection won't be enough.

It all stems from the Warriors' not-so-demanding schedule, which includes two Division-IAA teams (Northern Colorado and Charleston Southern).

"I don't worry about things you can't control," coach June Jones said. "We just line up and play whomever we have to play."

In all, Hawaii plays: Northern Colorado, at Louisiana Tech, at UNLV, Charleston Southern, at Idaho, Utah State, at San Jose State, New Mexico State, Fresno State, at Nevada, Boise State and Washington.

Michigan State originally was scheduled to come to the island but backed out, Jones said. The Warriors were left scrambling for another home game, which became Northern Colorado.

Hawaii does have one advantage over last year's Boise State team. The Warriors begin the season at No. 24 in the USA Today coaches poll. The Broncos were unranked entering the season.

And with teams ranked ahead of Hawaii bound to knock each other off, the Warriors should continue to move up as long as they continue to win.

Of course, strength of schedule will be a primary factor weighing down Hawaii's ascension. That means the Warriors need strong seasons from as many of their opponents, particularly from its top nonconference opponent Washington, and Western Athletic Conference foes Boise State, Fresno State and San Jose State.

Any non-BCS team must reach the top 12 in the final BCS standings -- or the top 16 and ahead of a BCS conference champion -- to be guaranteed a spot in a BCS bowl.

Boise State trying to move on

From the replays on ESPN Classic to the video game cover of John Madden football, it's easy for Boise State to relive last season's 13-0 campaign.

And what a year it was to remember, with the Broncos finishing as the only undefeated team in the country.

But enough is enough, already, Boise State player and coaches said.

Last year is over, and even the the Broncos prefer to move on.

Boise State held a ceremony at the end of fall camp to reflect on last season one last time before gearing up for their opener.

"The team has definitely put (last season) behind them," assistant head coach Brent Pease said. "This team was glad to participate in (the ceremony). This team wants to make their own identity with this season."

When asked if any burning took place at the ceremony, Pease said, "Maybe a Fiesta Bowl shirt."

A debut to remember

After nearly 20 years of coaching, Idaho coach Robb Akey finally makes a head coaching debut.

He even gets to make it on national TV -- against top-ranked USC.

Akey, the former Washington State defensive coordinator who replaced Dennis Erickson in the offseason, won't be the only one making his debut as the Vandals step into the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum with a freshman at quarterback, running back and receiver.

"Being scared isn't going to change anything," Akey said. "There's a lot of people out there in the world that aren't giving us any opportunity to even stay within 40 points of them."

Shirley talks, a little

Fresno State defensive tackle Jason Shirley shed little light on his two-game suspension. He said the incident that got him in trouble occurred before last spring's practice, but declined to say what it was.

"I just violated some team rules," Shirley said after Tuesday's practice. "I did what I did. I've known this was coming for a while. I still have been working hard. So as far as I'm concerned about the situation, it's behind me and I'm looking forward."

Shirley, a senior and three-year starter, will miss the Saturday's opener against Sacramento State and next week's road trip to Texas A&M.

  Comments