Hawaii Considering A Football Game In Japan For 2014 Season

Basketball teams have been taking international trips for a long time and are allowed one type of trip every four years. It is used for the team to get in some extra practices, scrimmage local teams and usually head off to a nice locale.

American football is not all that big outside of the United States, there is an IFAF World Championships which is held every four years and began in 1999, but less than 60 countries play American football. So, a two-week training trip like basketball teams take is not an option; however, Hawai'i is seriously looking into playing a game at the Osaka Dome in Japan, via the Idaho Statesman:

Jim Donovan, the school's athletic director, revealed the prospect while in Osaka over the weekend for a men's basketball game. Hawaii was finishing up a 15-day tour through China and Japan.

The Rainbow Warriors could play a football game in Japan as soon as 2014. Donovan said he met with executives of the Osaka Dome, where the proposed game would take place.

Donovan said Hawaii would consider opponents in its Mountain West Conference, which includes national powerhouse Boise State, and the Pac-12 Conference.

This would be a logistics nightmare and not to mention expensive for opposing schools. Hawaii already travels quite a bit and a trip to Japan is actually a few hundred miles closer than if they travel to Gainseville, Fla., or West Point, N.Y., which they have done in the past. 

The idea of playing a Mountain West game in Japan would only fly if it would mean Hawai'i being the home team which would allow the opposing team to get the extra game for the travel, plus there would have to be some additional revenue kicked in to not bleed the program dry for the one trip. The same would go for a Pac-12 school, there would need to be some type of monetary incentive to make the lengthy trip. A Pac-12 school actually might be interested since Larry Scott has been interested in expanding the leagues reach to the Pacific-rim due to the large Asian population on the West coast.

The time change could be a big issue as it is an 11-hour difference from Osaka to the East coast, so not as many people would see this live. A noon kick time would work reasonably well since it would be 8 p.m pacific and 11 p.m. eastern and that is actually earlier than the current Hawai'i home games that usually start at midnight eastern.

A game in Asia almost happened back in 2009 between Oregon and Boise State. That game was to be played in China instead of Boise, but that fell through and later became known famous for the punch that Oregon running back LeGarrette Blount placed on Boise State linebacker Byron Hout.


Hat tip: Hawkeyed Frog

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