So Whither The Withering WAC?

Bobby Curran
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Friday - August 25, 2010
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I’m still reeling from the events of Wicked Wednesday.

In the early morning hours of Aug. 18, we heard that BYU was leaving the Mountain West to be an independent in football and a WAC member in other sports. That seemed a hammer blow to the Mountain West.

Later in the day, reports came that Nevada and Fresno State were leaving the WAC and joining the Mountain West, despite having promised a month ago that they’d stay in the WAC for five years or pay a $5 million penalty.

That could be the final nail in the WAC coffin. It seemed only a month or so ago that Texas’s decision to remain in the Big 12 would stop the merry-go-round in conference affiliation and provide stability for participating schools. That has proved to be short-lived. As we go to press, nobody knows whether BYU will still make its move, whether Fresno State and Nevada will end up having to fork over $5 million each, or even if the WAC can survive in some form.

UH athletic director Jim Donovan put it succinctly: “Devastating.”

For Hawaii now the options are somewhat limited: See if the Mountain West would be interested in another team, go independent in football and seek a conference for the other sports, or remain with the WAC and hope to elevate some current FCS (formerly Division 1-AA) schools.

Whatever. Right now it’s hard to imagine the WAC surviving in any attractive manner, and UH will have to scramble to keep its place in college sports.

Warrior head coach Greg McMackin’s decision to curtail or even eliminate scrimmages in fall camp seems to be a wise one, considering reports around the country of injuries suffered in intra-squad situations.

Hawaii has some areas where there is depth, notably at defensive back and receiver. Other units have thinner margins, and the gamble of losing a key player or players is very likely not worth the risk. But you do run the risk of poor tackling in the early games, and that could be disastrous against a team as talented as USC.

Among the players to watch this season is defensive end Siaki Cravens, who looks to have the quickness to be an excellent edge pass rusher. And coaches are excited about improvements made by slot back Kealoha Pilares, who has looked terrific in fall camp.

I’m finding U.S. Ryder Cup captain Corey Pavin’s act tiresome. After requesting a meeting with Tiger Woods and being told by Woods that he would accept a captain’s pick and wants to play, Pavin is now saying that Tiger is “on his list.” That is insulting to Woods, who probably wishes he’d told Pavin to invite him and then he’d decide. There is no chance that Pavin is not going to invite the No.1 player in the world and the best television draw on the planet; it is disingenuous to suggest that he might not select Woods.

Can you imagine what Pavin’s legacy would be if the U.S. team lost by a small margin and Woods wasn’t on the team? The U.S. will be a significant underdog to the Europeans anyway, and Wales will be a rowdy setting for the event.

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