On Thursday, the Mountain West Conference finally announced the 2020 football schedules for all 12 conference members. TV situations remain unsettled, and a game or two could be moved to Friday’s and such, but the overall schedule is now set in stone.
Hawaii enters spring 2020 off the cusp of plot twists nobody would have believed back in August 2019. The Warriors won the West Division championship in 2019, and made their first-ever appearance in the conference championship game. Hawaii would defeat Brigham Young in the SoFi Hawaii Bowl and finish the season 10-5. Off into the sunset, right?
Not really. Somehow, a Mississippi State football player mimicking a dog urinating in the Egg Bowl set off a series of events that ultimately led to Hawaii football coach Nick Rolovich taking the Washington State Cougars job that was vacated by Mike Leach. A few weeks prior, Hawaii quarterback Cole McDonald entered the 2020 NFL Draft. Changes abound.
As Hawaii’s coaching search developed, names such as Craig Stutzmann, Virginia offensive coordinator Robert Anae, among other circulated, but Hawaii athletic director Dave Matlin ultimately settled with Todd Graham, the former Rice, Tulsa, Pittsburgh, and Arizona State head coach. Finally, fans can breathe a little after a period of unrest.
What awaits Hawaii football in 2020? Here is the schedule:
Date - Opponent
Aug. 29 - @Arizona
Sept. 5 - UCLA
Sept. 12 - FORDHAM
Sept. 19 - @Oregon
Sept. 26 - Bye
Oct. 3 - NEVADA*
Oct. 10 - NEW MEXICO STATE
Oct. 17 - @Air Force*
Oct. 24 - BOISE STATE*
Oct. 31 - @Fresno State*
Nov. 7 - NEW MEXICO*
Nov. 14 - UNLV*
Nov. 21 - @San Jose State*
Nov. 28 - @San Diego State*
*denotes conference game
Home games in caps and bold
Mark your calendars !— Hawaii Football (@HawaiiFootball) February 27, 2020
➡️ https://t.co/3WteYSO1ra#HawaiiFB #WinEveryDay pic.twitter.com/b8w3du814l
Hawaii fans have become accustomed to difficult football schedules, and 2020 is no exception. Another Week 0 date features a familiar opponent, the return game against Arizona, where Todd Graham will debut against an old rival in the Wildcats. The first home game is against Chip Kelly and the UCLA Bruins, the Bruins first trip to Oahu since 1939 (!!). A few weeks later, a trip to Eugene, Oregon highlights another brutal out-of-conference schedule for Hawaii. The Warriors emerging from this stretch, that also features FCS opponent Fordham, 2-2 would be quite the victory. A 1-3 hole, not so much.
Conference play opens with a pivotal matchup against Nevada at Aloha Stadium, a team the Warriors blasted last fall. The mid-to-late October stretch of Air Force, Boise State, Fresno State is a tough draw, especially catching the Broncos a week after having to endure the physical toll of playing against the triple option. New Mexico and UNLV will be must-win home contests with the regular season concluding with two road games in California. Overall, another tough schedule, one in which Todd Graham and co. would be doing well to return to the Hawaii Bowl in 2020. A rebuilding season of sorts isn’t out of the question.
What are your thoughts on the schedule? What are the expectations for Hawaii football in 2020? Will they repeat as West Division champs, or is regression inevitable? Comment below.