8:00 PM ET, October 12, 2007
SPARTAN STADIUM (CA), SAN JOSE, CA
SAN JOSE, Calif. (AP) -- Hawaii's first national television game comes at a most opportune time.
With the initial Bowl Championship Series standings set to be released Sunday, the 16th-ranked Warriors are looking to make a good impression Friday night at San Jose State.
"We're definitely excited to get out there and showcase what we really are," quarterback Colt Brennan said. "We get a chance for everyone to watch us more and make a statement. It's obviously a great opportunity for us and it's a team we can get excited about playing. It can get tough preparing for opponents that everyone says you're supposed to beat by a large margin."
The first six opponents this season for Hawaii (6-0, 3-0 WAC) have combined for a record of just 7-28, making it difficult for the Warriors to impress poll voters or build up the strength of schedule necessary to move up in the computer rankings.
It also has made it hard for Brennan to impress Heisman Trophy voters as well. He has completed 73 percent of his passes for 1,850 yards, 16 touchdowns and six interceptions.
"We really don't think we've proven anything yet," Brennan said. "I really feel this next chapter, these next six games, will define our football team."
That's why the focus remains on the games at hand rather than the rankings, beginning with Friday's contest against the Spartans (3-3, 0-3).
Hawaii needs to be in the top 12 of the BCS standings at the end of the regular season to follow in Boise State's footsteps and qualify for a lucrative BCS berth.
"I think that's more important for everyone else," coach June Jones said. "We'll just show up and play as hard as we can and the polls will take care of themselves at the end of the year."
In other Top 25 games, No. 21 Florida State was at Wake Forest on Thursday night. The rest of the Top 25 is scheduled to play Saturday.
In the two games between ranked teams, No. 1 LSU is at No. 17 Kentucky and No. 6 Oklahoma visits No. 11 Missouri.
In other Top 25 games of note, it is: No. 2 California vs. Oregon State; No. 4 Boston College at Notre Dame; No. 22 Auburn at Arkansas; No. 5 South Florida vs. UCF; No. 7 South Carolina at North Carolina; No. 10 Southern Cal vs. Arizona; No. 15 Cincinnati vs. Louisville; No. 18 Illinois at Iowa; No. 19 Wisconsin at Penn State; No. 14 Arizona State vs. Washington; and No. 20 Kansas vs. Baylor.
Also there is: No. 3 Ohio State vs. Kent State; No. 9 Oregon vs. Washington State; No. 12 Virginia Tech at Duke; No. 23 Texas at Iowa State; No. 24 Georgia at Vanderbilt; and No. 25 Tennessee at Mississippi State, 2:30 p.m.
The polls won't matter if Brennan doesn't recover from a right ankle injury that has slowed him in recent weeks. He missed almost the entire second half of last week's 52-37 victory over Utah State, but is expected to start Friday.
Brennan, who has thrown a TD pass in 31 straight games, hopes to make it through this week's game OK and then use a stretch in which the Warriors play just once in four weeks to get healthy for the stretch run.
"I'd like to be as close to 100 percent as we get toward the end of the year," he said. "I'm not full speed. Every day I get a little bit better. Every week is dramatically better than the week before. We have a bye week after this game so if there's one week I can really push it, it's this week."
The opponents get tougher from here on out for the Warriors, who finish the season with games against New Mexico State, Fresno State, Nevada, Boise State and Washington. One bad game could doom any hopes of a BCS bid.
Including San Jose State, the remaining teams on the Warriors schedule are a combined 17-15.
"We know because of who we are, one slip-up at any moment ends it," Jones said. "We're not like one of those teams like Florida who can lose a game and go from first to fourth or fifth. If we have one slip-up, we go to 50th."
The Warriors, who have won six straight road games for the first time in school history, are looking for their first 7-0 start since San Jose State coach Dick Tomey was in charge at Hawaii back in 1981.
After losing its three games overwhelmingly to teams from major conferences, San Jose State has responded by winning the past three games against easier foes Utah State, UC Davis and Idaho.
Adam Tafralis has led the way, completing 82 of 114 passes for 1,058 yards and seven touchdowns during the winning streak. The running game finally contributed last week against Idaho when James T. Callier gained a career-high 93 yards and the team topped 100 for the first time all season with 135.
"We are just looking for improvement, because we have been woeful rushing the football," Tomey said. "Part if it is that we haven't been persistent about it. If you make a yard, you have to run again. If you make no yards, you have to run again. It just doesn't happen. You have to make it happen."
No. 4 Boston College at Notre Dame
Led by Matt Ryan, the Eagles (6-0) are off to their best start in 65 years. Meanwhile, Notre Dame (1-5) has tied the worst one in school history.
Ryan, a fifth-year senior, is 160-of-255 passing for 1,857 yards with 15 touchdowns and five interceptions. He is 20-4 as a starter and passed for 400 yards three times, including against Wake Forest and Georgia Tech this season.
Notre Dame's Jimmy Clausen threw for just 84 yards as the Irish beat UCLA 20-6 for their first win. Most of his passes were short, with his longest pass going for 15 yards.
No. 9 Oregon vs. Washington State
Washington State knows exactly what the ninth-ranked Oregon Ducks have in store for them Saturday. Offense, offense, and more offense.
The fact that Oregon (4-1, 1-1 Pacific-10) runs a fast spread-option makes it an even bigger challenge.
The driving force of the option offense is Dennis Dixon, ranked fourth nationally in passing efficiency (169.0). He's adept at either passing or running himself, racking up about 309 yards in total offense a game. The only QB in the Pac-10 with more is Washington State's Alex Brink, averaging about 316 yards.
Oregon is ranked sixth nationally in total offense, averaging nearly 529 yards. The rushing offense ranks fourth with an average of 278 yards.
The Cougars (2-4, 0-3) could be without one of their top offensive players, receiver Brandon Gibson, when they visit Eugene.
Gibson leads the Pac-10 with 6.5 catches and 94.5 yards per game. He suffered a heel bruise in Washington State's 23-20 loss to Arizona State last weekend.
The Cougars nearly upset the then-No. 18 Sun Devils before a late field goal gave ASU the victory. It was the third straight loss for the Cougars, but they held Arizona State to just 296 total yards.
No. 23 Texas at Iowa State
After nearly dropping out of the Top 25 for the first time since 2000, the No. 23 Texas Longhorns now face the second half of the season without one of their best players -- Limas Sweed is out because of a wrist injury.
But if there's any position where Texas (4-2, 0-2 Big 12) has enough depth to absorb a big hit in the lineup, it's at wide receiver. Sweed was Texas' big-play guy with 20 career touchdowns averaging 33.3 yards, but the Longhorns still have senior Nate Jones and juniors Quan Cosby and Jordan Shipley.
The three have been dependable targets all season for quarterback Colt McCoy. And with tight end Jermichael Finley's emergence as a big-play threat, Texas should be able to keep moving the ball through the air.
"You know we are going to miss him because he was our deep threat on our offense and he has made some tremendous plays for us this year and last year," said Jones, Texas' leading receiver this year with 36 catches for 355 yards and two touchdowns.
Sweed ranked fourth on the team with 19 receptions but led the team in yards per catch (16.1) and touchdown (three).
"A guy like that is hard to replace because he gets doubled team and leaves guys open to have one-on-one matchups," Jones said. "So to have him gone is going to be hard for us to bounce back, but we have to do it."
Top 25 Overview
Looking to start a season 7-0 for the first time since 1981, Hawaii faces san Jose State in a matchup of WAC unbeatens. The Warriors have won six straight games on the road, while the Spartans have won three straight since starting the season 0-3.
|Avg Points Allowed||23.7||30.3|