The 2012 Mountain West football schedule was released just over a month ago, and now it is time to break down the schedules. Up next is one of the three new members in the Hawaii Warriors. First thing, Hawaii may or may not have to get to seven wins to earn a bowl bid since they play Lamar from the FCS ranks, but South Alabama is in a transitional year which makes things tricky. They are playing in the Sun Belt Conference but are not eligible for a bowl game or the conference title. This is something that I will have to come back to.
Right off the bat Hawaii will know how good they really are when they go up against the likely preseason No. 1 team in the USC Trojans on the road. That will be a tough game since Hawaii has a new head coach and a new quarterback, so whoever is at quarterback will have their hands full in their first career start.
The schedule plays out fairly nice this year with no stretch of games that are too difficult to over come. The toughest stretch is probably the when they host Nevada, travel to BYU and San Diego State in consecutive weeks. Nevada should be one of the favorites, BYU is expected to be improved however their offensive line is struggling a lot this spring and then at San Diego State. Well, San Diego State may not be that tough of a game since they lost quarterback Ryan Lindley and running back Ronnie Hillman, however the team should be confident since they have played so well over the past two seasons.
The easiest stretch is going to be when the host New Mexico, have a bye, travel to Colorado State and Fresno State in back-to-back weeks. All three of those schools have new head coaches.and all were not good teams last year. I am full aware of the irony of new coaches and a poor 2011 slate since Hawaii is in the same boat.
Hawaii does luck out by missing Wyoming who should finish in the top three of the Mountain West and possibly contend for the conference title.
Now here is the portion where we break down the strength of schedule for Hawaii. Over at Phil Steele's website he has compiled the strength of schedule which the NCAA uses which is prior years winning percentage. The method is flawed since there is a lot of turnover and a FCS teams win are equally weighted as an FBS team which is not the case.
Hawaii's strength of schedule using last years opponents record puts them at No. 84 and their combined record was 72-75, seven of the 12 teams had a winning record and six bowl opponents. If the schedule did not have USC or BYU then it would be much lower on the list.
A more accurate method of ranking schedule is using the F/+ rankings which factory in many, many more stats. As of now these F/+ rankings are not yet complete, so they will change again. Hawaii actually drops to No. 93 in these rankings, which can be accounted for playing Lamar, South Alabama and of course New Mexico.
Overall the Hawai'i schedule is not all that tough and they could sneak into a bowl game, but that depends on if South Alabama counts as a FBS team or a FCS team. If they need to get to seven wins that might be difficult.
Here is their 2012 schedule:
|9/29/2012||at Brigham Young|
|10/6/2012||at San Diego State|
|10/27/2012||at Colorado State|
|11/3/2012||at Fresno State|
|11/17/2012||at Air Force|
My projected record for Hawaii is 6-6.