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College football: Warriors will return to their winnings ways

August 24, 2017 - 12:05am

He has chased Pokémon on the University of Hawaii campus, delivered a bowl-game victory in his debut season and charmed the Board of Regents, but Nick Rolovich’s real measure of wonder will come this season.

Producing the Rainbow Warriors’ first winning season in seven years would be his most significant accomplishment.

One of his mentors, June Jones, ended UH’s only previous streak of six seasons without a winning season against an all-collegiate schedule with the record turnaround campaign of 1999.

Now, Rolovich takes his shot at returning UH to the ranks of the winning for the first time since 2010.

Not having a preseason Top 25-ranked team will help, and so, too, will two open dates and not having to do an Australia-to-Michigan back-to-back gauntlet.

But there are few gimmes and a whole lot of toss-up games on this year’s schedule, so a 7-5 record and a return to the postseason would shine brightly.

UH 27,

UMass 24

Aug. 26 • Noon • Amherst, Mass.

You won’t find it in the official résumé, but Rolovich “coached” at UH’s season-opening opponent, UMass.

It was a term as offensive coordinator measured in days, not months, but shortly after Norm Chow chose not to retain him on the coaching staff in 2012, Rolovich became a Minuteman in more ways than one before signing on with Nevada.

This time he hopes to stay in Amherst just long enough to pick up a victory.

UH 48,

Western Carolina 10

Sept. 2 • 6 p.m. • Aloha Stadium

The Catamounts figure to pose more of a challenge as a trivia question than as an on-the-field opponent.

For example: 1. What is a “catamount”? and 2. Where is Cullowhee, N.C.?

It might take UH less time to solve the Catamounts than it does for fans to come up with the trivia answers: 1. “Any of various wild cats or a lynx,” according to Websters Dictionary; 2. Southern Appalachian Mountains.

UCLA 33,

UH 18

Sept. 9 • 11 a.m. • Pasadena, Calif.

The last time UH played the Bruins was so long ago that no member of the Leahey family was broadcasting the Rainbow Warriors’ football games.

The year was 1939.

So, the Rainbow Warriors best give it their all, because who knows how long it might be before UH gets another crack.

Wyoming 31,

UH 28

Sept. 23 • TBA • Laramie

War Memorial Stadium is, officially, the highest elevation (7,215 feet) in college football.

But after winning at Air Force, the second highest (6,620), last season, what’s a few more feet, right?

Plenty as it turns out in this game of inches.

UH 24,

Colorado State 21

Sept. 30 • 6 p.m. • Aloha Stadium

A month after the Rams open their gleaming, new $220 million on-campus stadium, they step back in time with an appearance at rusty Aloha Stadium.

Maybe if enough rust flakes fall and fans get the upper deck bouncing while chanting “timber” it will unnerve the Rams.

UH 27,

Nevada 25

Oct. 7 • 4:30 p.m. • Reno

The Wolf Pack may check Rolovich for weapons after last year’s hunting knife episode.

But the biggest weapon could be running back Diocemy Saint Juste.

UH 31,

San Jose State 20

Oct. 14 • 6 p.m. • Aloha Stadium

It is homecoming and the Rainbow Warriors defense turns in an effort worthy of its alums.

San Diego State 35,

UH 21

Oct. 28 • TBA • Aloha Stadium

One of these days the Aztecs are going to run out of high performance running backs.

Unfortunately, with Rashaad Penny around, this isn’t it.

UNLV 21,

UH 17

Nov. 4 • Noon • Las Vegas

Winning on the ninth island has frustrated the last three head coaches (including an interim) UH has tasked with the job.

Rolovich tries to become the first since June Jones to get the job done.

UH 32,

Fresno State 24

Nov. 11 • 6 p.m. • Aloha Stadium

Will the powers that be finally relent and award the Golden Screwdriver Trophy to the winner in this series? If so, it finds a home in the UH trophy case.

UH 22,

Utah State 17

Nov. 18 • TBA • Logan

The average daily temperature for this date in Logan runs from a high for 44 degrees to a low of 24.

But the ‘Bows are warmed by the thought of clinching a winning season.

Brigham Young 32,

UH 27

Nov. 25 • 4 p.m. • Aloha Stadium

How many times do you suppose the Cougars’ coaches will show their players the film from that (72-45) 2001 game at Aloha Stadium?

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