The last couple of seasons have been a rollercoaster ride for Hawaii football players, coaches and fans. With the announcement that the Mountain West Conference and Conference USA will combine for football and become a college football super conference, what does this new landscape mean for Hawaii football?
Hawaii is already the most far flung member of any conference it is in, and while this move by both conferences to create a college football super conference is nice, it leaves a new conference area of six-time zones and 4,735 miles, all of which Hawaii will need to navigate at one point or another.
One thing that may help them some is the fact that more than likely, the conference will need to be split into two smaller playing conferences, much like the SEC and other conferences are. It won’t mean that Hawaii will never play certain schools, however, it will mean that Hawaii won’t have to play certain schools every year. This may help with ravel.
Besides the fact that Hawaii will have to cover some serious ground during its upcoming seasons, the two-conference merger also means some really good things for Hawaii.
“It is a positive (for UH) in the sense of having a broad base of programs helps provide some stability, increased annual television revenue and postseason opportunities,” UH athletic director Jim Donovan said. “So, I think it is very good development.”
All of this is true, UH will be part of a conference that has the potential to rake in millions, all of which Hawaii will get a share of. More importantly, the new merger is also a step in the right direction to getting an automatic bid to a BCS bowl game for the conference, which will mean more good things.
Perhaps the biggest piece of good news that comes from this may be on the recruiting standpoint for Hawaii football. Honestly, Hawaii does pretty well with its recruiting efforts. However, there is a chance that more of Hawaii’s best football players may want to stay home and play for UH if they know they will be playing in a BCS conference. UH should also have more pull for out of state football players, as a result of the same thing.
Hawaii still has to pay teams to come play them, however under the new conference alignment, the money that could potentially be flowing in may negate this fact, which would be a huge burden off Hawaii.
As it stands now, in the new conference, UH would be expected to pay travel subsidies for visiting teams as per its membership agreement with the MWC, a conference spokesman said.
UH is to pay visitors from the Pacific Time Zone $150,000 per trip in 2012 and $175,000 to visitors from the Mountain Time Zone. UH will not receive a travel stipend when it goes on the road for conference games. As you can see, UH is losing a lot of money, so hopefully the new conference alignment will work for the best. Games against current C-USA members would be considered nonconference contests.
“The way it was explained to us, primarily the current Mountain West schools will play each other eight games and determine a champion and the current Conference USA schools will play each other and determine a champion and those two champions will come together and play a championship game, ” Donovan said. “If we play any games against any teams that are currently in Conference USA they will be nonconference games.”
UH negotiates its own terms both as a home and visiting team for nonconference games.
The future looks bright for Hawaii football. Hopefully they can win the WAC in their final season, and head out of the current conference as champions.