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Hawaii football announces 2021 football schedule

In addition to conference play, Warriors will take on two Pac-12 opponents, NMSU twice

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: DEC 24 New Mexico Bowl Photo by Matthew Pearce/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Not all Friday news dumps are bad. The Mountain West released the 2021 schedule for the entire conference on Friday afternoon. The conference always seems to sort this out later than most FBS conferences, but it’s become a spring tradition at this point. Obviously, keep in mind that these dates are not set in stone. TV will move a handful of games to Friday, maybe even a Thursday.

Hawaii football is suddenly incapable of having a typical off-season. Last year, Nick Rolovich shockingly left in January for Washington State. This year’s January debacle? Aloha Stadium being shutdown and forcing Hawaii to play football games on campus. Seriously. New Aloha Stadium is supposedly planned to replace the now “shutdown” Aloha Stadium in the future, but that’s a debate for another day.

Literal on-field problems aside, what awaits Hawaii football in 2021? Let’s take a look:

Date - Opponent

Aug. 28 - @UCLA

Sept. 4 - PORTLAND STATE

Sept. 11 - @Oregon State

Sept. 18 - SAN JOSE STATE*

Sept. 25 - @New Mexico State

Oct. 2 - FRESNO STATE*

Oct. 9 - Bye

Oct. 16 - @Nevada*

Oct. 23 - NEW MEXICO STATE

Oct. 30 - @Utah State*

Nov. 6 - SAN DIEGO STATE*

Nov. 13 - @UNLV*

Nov. 20 - COLORADO STATE*

Nov. 27 - @Wyoming*

*denotes conference game

Home games in caps and bold

Quick Thoughts:

First few things that standout about this schedule: no, your eyes are not fooling you, Hawaii really does play New Mexico State twice. The rare in-season home-and-home. Hawaii will also take its shows on the road to play two Pac-12 opponents in UCLA and Oregon State. The Week 0 tradition continues, and Hawaii will play in the Rose Bowl that week. Very unfortunate the home edition of the UCLA series was canceled last fall by the pandemic.

Hawaii’s first game at the Clarence T. C. Ching Athletics Complex will be against Portland State of the Big Sky. The Vikings opted out of playing this spring, so this might end up being PSU’s first game in nearly two years. After that, Hawaii faces Oregon State, who unfortunately might not be the Pac-12 doormat they’ve been in the past. Add in a home collision with 2020 conference champions*, San Jose State, and Hawaii’s schedule will once again feature a brutal opening month.

The bizarre NMSU series surrounds games against Fresno State and Nevada, with a October 9th weekend bye. Perfect timing, it’s always preferred to have a bye midseason.

The November trips to Utah State and Wyoming are not ideal, pretty harsh from a weather standpoint. The two teams mentioned plus Colorado State, whom the Warriors will play on Senior Night, are the reps on the schedule from the Mountain Division. No Air Force, Boise State, New Mexico this season. Hawaii will feature no home or road stands this season. Home, away, home, away from beginning to end. All in all, a tough schedule. There will be games in which Hawaii is a stiff underdog, but every one of these opponents is beatable in my opinion.

What are your thoughts on the schedule? What are the expectations for Hawaii football in 2021? Will they build off the momentum of the bowl victory? Compete for the conference title in a crowded division? Might they regress? Or somewhere in the middle? Comment below.