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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Friday, May 28, 2010

Left-out Warriors should be motivated

By Ferd Lewis

Here it is still May and if you are a University of Hawai'i football fan, it is already close-your-eyes time.

And, it has little to do with television.

As the preseason magazines hit the newsracks and online predictions are splashed across the internet, the Warriors are taking some hard hits.

The latest and, by far, most surprising is that the Warriors are nowhere to be found in The Sporting News' preseason list of the Top 100 teams.

Not Top 10 but the Top 100.

There are, of course, 120 teams playing on the Football Bowl Subdivision (formerly known as Division I-A) level this year, which means the respected SN (http://bit.ly/96R71K) sees the Warriors submerged somewhere among the bottom 17 percent. You hate to think what kind of a record that might equate to.

By way of comparison, New Mexico State, which UH has battered by a combined 116-49 over the last three seasons, is No. 100. Utah State is 92nd.

That none of the early peeks at preseason magazines showed UH picked to finish higher than fifth and as low as eighth in the nine-member Western Athletic Conference was one thing. Lindy's Football magazine, for example, has UH 84th.

On the chance that UH might have been the victim of an oversight and inadvertently left off the SN list, we checked with a contact there. No such luck, apparently.

We're told that folks there are all too familiar with UH and had the list been expanded all the way through 120, the Warriors would have likely checked in at No. 107. Ouch.

Last year SN's crystal ball was remarkably on point with the Warriors' fortunes, picking them fifth in the WAC and ranking them 82nd nationally. UH finished tied for fifth in the conference.

This year the thinking, they say, coming off a 6-7 finish in 2009 are "major concerns" about "both the offensive and defensive lines." Which is why SN says it is projecting the Warriors eighth in the conference and others shy away from picking them higher.

Preseason predictions, naturally, mean little. But entering fall camp, they are revealing as an indiction of the national perceptions of UH.

For all the speculation about where the Warriors might finish, one thing is for sure entering this season: The Warriors shouldn't lack for motivation.