According to sources such as ESPN and the Honolulu Star-Advertiser, the University of Hawaii is in the finalizing stages of having its football team join the Mountain West Conference for the 2012 season. Oh my poor, conflicted soul.
Being born and raised in Hawaii, I’ve been a Warriors fan for the past 18 years. I have fond memories of covering them on the sidelines as a intern for KHON2 News in Honolulu, and I vividly remember the 2007 campaign, led by Colt Brennan, that sent Hawaii to its first BCS game. I rejoice at the move that will showcase and exemplify UH’s talent.
Then I remember that I am also a diehard Horned Frog. I also remember that TCU plays in the Mountain West. I then realize that I’ll no longer have a conference difference to allow me to cheer for both teams.
Regardless of my conflicted fan followings, the change of conferences makes perfect sense for both the Mountain West and the University of Hawaii. For the conference, it gains a team that always has had a solid offense. Ever since the days of June Jones, putting up video game-like numbers in points scored and offensive production is a recurring theme for the Warriors. This season, UH ranks first in passing yardage and ranks in the top 20 in points scored. Warriors quarterback Bryant Moniz just came off a game where he threw for a school record 560 yards against San Jose State. Such an offense would be a wonderful addition to the Mountain West.
The MWC also gets a consistent, winning team. Including the 2010 Sheraton Hawaii bowl, to which Hawaii has accepted an invitation, Hawaii has been to a bowl game six out of the past eight years, including one BCS appearance. Consistency like that is something the Mountain West Conference will love. Teams in the conference will love Hawaii too 8212; they would get a trip to Hawaii every other year for a game.
The University of Hawaii also collects many benefits with the move. By leaving the already decimated Western Athletic Conference, Hawaii would retain classic rivalries against Boise State, Nevada and Fresno State. Along with other teams like Air Force and San Diego State in the mix, Hawaii would get plenty of excellent football, week in and week out.
The move also helps Hawaii with recruiting. As the WAC is now filled with teams located in central parts of the United States, such as Louisiana Tech and Texas State, Hawaii would have seen its West Coast recruiting wells dry up. By moving to the MWC, Hawaii will get to play more games that reach their target markets, such as California with Fresno State, Nevada with UNLV and the Pacific Northwest with Boise State. Being able to play in such markets will continue to provide better players for future Hawaii teams.
With a move to the MWC, Hawaii also limits the traveling it has to do every year. Having to endure a six-hour flight over 3,000 miles of ocean is pretty taxing on any team, both physically and financially.
One of the supposed clauses for the move, as reported by ESPN, is that Hawaii would gain an additional home game, which would let them play only five games on the mainland and seven games in Aloha Stadium. It’s an offer that Hawaii would relish. More home games would mean less traveling and more revenue for the university. It makes the Mountain West look even more attractive for the Warriors.
The move makes so much sense for both sides. The Mountain West collects a great team that would provide solid competition, and Hawaii gets better incentives than the WAC could offer. Old rivalries would stay for Hawaii, and the Mountain West would get another boost to make a BCS case. It’s a match quite literally “made in paradise.” 2012 will be a great year for the Mountain West. I hope that by then, I will be able to get my conflicted soul to shut up.
J.D. Moore is a freshman journalism major from Honolulu, Hawaii.