When College Presidents Flirt

Bobby Curran
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Friday - September 28, 2011
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The world of college athletics is without a rudder. Since nobody is in charge, everybody is grabbing what they can. It’s a little reminiscent of what happens in big cities when the power goes out, except these looters don’t get arrested, they get long contracts.

Last week a couple of Big East stalwarts, Pittsburgh and Syracuse, bolted for the ACC.

The SEC has already seduced Texas A&M and is flirting with Missouri.

If the Pac 12 were receptive, it might already have Oklahoma.

Some schools end up looking like lottery winners, such as Colorado and Utah.

But for every winner there will be a couple of losers.

You can imagine how Baylor, Iowa State and Kansas State feel about now.

And TCU fans can only be headscratching. They’re poised to join the Big East, whose very survival is in questions right now.

As a class, college presidents are falling into the space occupied by politicians and time-share salesmen. Is anybody buying the pap about “academic fit” or “scholar-athlete opportunity?”

Hopefully not, because regionality, collegiality and traditional rivalries are long gone.

It’s only about expanded markets, television sets and branding opportunities.

Hawaii, like many schools across the country right now, is watching and waiting without much control over its fate.

* This week UH Warriors head to their most far-flung conference game at Louisiana Tech.

It’s also its last trip to Ruston as UH joins the Mountain West for football next year.

Can’t say I’ll miss the journey much except for the drive on I-10 from Shreveport, a swampy stretch occupied primarily by various critters, varmints and state troopers. Good excuse to pop in the Lucinda Williams CD, though.

And, as always, the game will be difficult. Louisiana Tech always has terrific athletes and is very tough at Joe Aillet Stadium.

I thought this might be UH’s toughest road game this season, and nothing has happened yet to alter that opinion.

Like many others, I had and still have high expectations for this defense, but they have a ways to go. As defensive coordinator Dave Aranda said recently, “Our issues aren’t about physicality or ability, they’re more mental and emotional.”

Add to that an offensive line that was inexperienced to start and is now jury-rigged due to injury, and this team has some significant obstacles to overcome.

* Sad to see that New Mexico State quarterback Andrew Manley will miss the Oct. 22 game with Hawaii at Aloha Stadium. The former Leilehua star, who the previous week lit it up at Minnesota, suffered a season-ending ACL tear on the last offensive play of the UTEP game.

* Maybe the Rainbow Wahine volleyball team should feature post-match TV shoots more often.

The Hawaii Five-O cameras caused the Wahine to enjoy their first sell-out in eight years!

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