The country made some decisions on Tuesday. Usually after elections, we try to make some all-encompassing statement about what this means and how we define ourselves as a country. Truthfully, it’s always a lot more nuanced than just one conclusion. Lots of people don’t vote, lots of people vote on different issues and like or dislike candidates for different reasons. Trying to determine the collective mindset of 325 million people based on one day is both difficult and probably stupid.
Luckily in sports, we get to come up with conclusions about just about anything and the consequences of being wrong are pretty nonexistent. So why not, right?
Well when it comes to this University of Hawaii football season, I would have to say with about 85 percent of precincts reporting, it’s still way too close to call.
Following Saturday’s ugly home loss to Utah State, Hawaii falls to 6-5 and losers of four straight contests. What had been looking like a major turnaround year for Nick Rolovich and the Rainbow Warriors is all of a sudden seeming like a struggle just to stay afloat.
A month ago, at 6-1 and 3-0 in the Mountain West, Hawaii seemed to be a surprising contender for the West division title. They weren’t winning in any flukey manner, either. They were a strong offensive team that was doing enough defensively to maintain leads or allow for reasonable comebacks. Quarterback Cole McDonald seemed to be a steady presence in the pocket and an elite playmaker with receivers all capable of turning games around with a single route.
Now, however, Hawaii is teetering and on the verge of what would be a hugely disappointing collapse. The past four games have not been close. They’ve been outscored by 113 points during that stretch and really only looked competitive against Nevada, trailing by six at the half in that game.
Most of the problem has stemmed from being unable to get defensive stops early in ballgames. Let’s be honest, the defense has been mediocre for the majority of the season and the offense has been pretty exceptional. So Hawaii has managed to compensate and make big plays at opportune moments to cover up for their shortcomings.
That hasn’t happened recently. Deficits have gotten big in short order and the ‘Bows haven’t been able to keep pace.
This upcoming bye week could not come at a better time. Thinking that Hawaii may not finish with a winning record seemed ridiculous not too long ago. But just like exit polls and prognostications, things can change direction in a hurry. With two games remaining, Hawaii needs to right the ship and get back to their method of success. There’s a great opportunity to do just that against UNLV in the home finale (Nov. 17). The Rebels are just 2-7 and 0-5 in conference play.
Right now, we know that Hawaii’s 2018 campaign got off to a terrific start and outperformed the polls for a bit. Things have come back closer to expectations, but the right messaging can easily get them on track. Picking up that seventh win feels like a necessity at this point to consider the season at all successful and to pick up the fans’ collective vote of approval.
David Simon can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.