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Hawaii @ Colorado State: Three things to look for, Prediction

Rainbow Warriors open the college football season in Ft. Collins looking to score an upset

NCAA Football: Hawaii at UCLA Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

HAWAII AT COLORADO STATE

Location: Ft. Collins, Colorado (Canvas Stadium)

Date/Time: Saturday, August 25th at 1:30 p.m. (Hawaii Time)

Television: CBS Sports Network

Streaming: Requires a television subscription

Radio: ESPN 1420

Head-to-Head: The Forth-with-no-walls Rams lead the series with a 15-9 record, the most recent result in the series being a CSU 51-21 beatdown in Honolulu last fall.

Three things to look for:

1. Cohesion on offense

The run-and-shoot is back at Manoa, but don’t get too excited. The mass inexperience in personnel creates questions abound for the offense on opening day. True freshman offensive linemen Ilm Manning and Solo Vaipulu are expected to play right away this season in some capacity. Should freshman playing immediately leave fans concerned about the overall state of the offensive line? Was fall camp enough time for the quarterback (quarterbacks?) to build a rapport with the wide receivers? So much of the run-and-shoot’s effectiveness comes down to anticipation of the defense, anticipation of what your teammates intend to do. Can UH hit the ground running? They’ll need to in order to keep up with Colorado State.

2. Can Batoon’s boys keep the Warriors in the game?

Colorado State boasted the best offense in the Mountain West in 2017. A crazy amount of lost production gives defenses hope that they can slow down the Rams, but QB K.J. Carta-Samuels, RB Izzy Matthews, and WR Warren Jackson are sure to keep the Rams offense at a high level. Expecting a huge drop off is unrealistic, especially for a UH defense that has struggled in recent years. There will be a buzz in Canvas Stadium. Can Batoon’s new tactics and personnel keep the Rams in check?

3. Can Hawaii find a leader at quarterback?

Nick Rolovich, as of the timestamp of this post, hasn’t named a starting quarterback. Cole McDonald is the favorite to win the job, with true freshmen Chevan Cordeiro and Jeremy Moussa right on his tail. As of Tuesday, the battle was officially down to McDonald and Cordeiro. Whoever wins, it is essential that this individual lead by example. Over the years, run-and-shoot quarterbacks wearing black and green set the tone for the entire team. If Timmy Chang, Nick Rolovich, Colt Brennan, or Bryant Moniz had a good game, good chance Hawaii won or was at least relevant in the 2nd half. If Timmy Chang, Nick Rolovich, Colt Brennan, or Bryant Moniz had a bad game, good chance the team struggled. Hawaii goes as the run-and-shoot QB goes. McDonald, or whoever starts against the Rams, needs to start strong to light the fires for this team.

Prediction:

Colorado State is a 14-point favorite in this one with little movement for the betting line. Bobo’s teams tend to put up a lot of points at home, and figure to be formidable running and passing the ball once again. Expecting a Warriors win in Ft. Collins is too much to ask this early on for an incredibly young Hawaii Warriors team. Bobo’s health issues and the rampant inexperience for both teams make this a tough game to predict, but staying in the game in the late 2nd half would be an accomplishment for UH. Lucky for Hawaii, I’m good at being at wrong. That said, I’m feeling Hawaii 17, Colorado State 33.