View from the Big Island: Bob Wagner on the (UH) Warriors/ESPN picks up Fresno game

October 31st, 2007

Harris Poll voter and former UH head coach Bob Wagner is now the athletic director at Kamehameha-Hawaii, on the Big Island. He graciously agreed to share some thoughts with UH Sports Extra.

It’s great to see UH having an outstanding season. It’s also interesting to see that despite all the criticism of their soft schedule it may have been a blessing for them. You would think that if they had opened at Florida instead of LA Tech that they would barely be in the top 25 or maybe not even be ranked right now. I think what is happening with their season and also that of Ohio State and Arizona State is going to make a lot of people question how they should do their non conference schedule if they want to get to a BCS game. All three were accused of having soft non conference schedules but look where they are in the rankings.

When I did my football/family sabbatical the fall after I left UH I remember visiting with John Cooper (the OSU head coach at the time) during an Ohio State practice about scheduling. At that time he mentioned that the last Ohio State team that won a National Championship was in 1968. He said no one could tell him who they played non conference. He mentioned at that time that they were planning to play the Bowling Green’s, Kent State’s, etc., in state D 1 teams that could benefit financially and that were as good as a Rice or an SMU but were very beatable. It looks like Jim Tressel may have inherited one of his schedules this year. Also, with teams playing more regular season games (more non conference games) softer non conference schedules become more important in keeping people healthy for league play.

Getting back to UH in hindsite it probably couldn’t have been set up any better for them. The extra bye(s) gives them a chance to get people healthy for their stretch run, they can polish up areas that they think need extra work, they can get the back ups some good work (help their depth), give the scout team players a chance to play (scrimmage) their own offense and defense (great for overall team morale), everyone can get a little more mentally refreshed, they can spend a little more time preparing for something that one of the remaining teams does that may be unique, and they can put in some new wrinkles in their O, D, and special teams that they may need to win a game down the stretch. They certainly have a wonderful opportunity.


WAC commissioner Karl Benson said (on The Bobby Curran Show this morning) a deal has been struck for UH’s Nov. 10 game against Fresno State to be shown by ESPN.

It does not affect the local pay-per-view broadcast, nor the 6:05 p.m. Saturday kickoff.

This means all five of UH’s remaining games (including a bowl game) will be on national TV.


Topic for discussion: Desmond Thomas will move in as the starting free safety now that Keao Monteilh is out for the year. Who do you like for No. 3 safety … Spencer Smith, Erik Robinson, Dane Kealoha Porlas or somebody else?


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  • Warrior Clan October 31, 2007 at 9:39 am

    Good to hear some comments from a well informed voter. At least Wags can see what matters most – winning games.

    Its good that espn will be showing the FSU v UH game. The more exposure the better. We just need to get a good crowd to let the nation see how much support UH gets.

    As for the DBs, I think all the DBs should be able to contribute. Maybe they’ll do it by committee. As long as they’ve had some game experience and are hungry to play, I think they’ll all do fine.

  • Garret October 31, 2007 at 9:59 am

    Thank you for the news about the deal being done with ESPN! That is great for the mainland Warrior fans…I’m happy that I don’t have to watch the Hawaiian Tel internet broadcast!

    • Dave Reardon October 31, 2007 at 10:21 am

      That’s pretty cool for Warrior Nation that all five remaining games will be on TV.

      Also, some updated info … it will be on ESPN2, and start time is 6:07, not 6:05.

  • KonaWarrior October 31, 2007 at 10:20 am

    I couldn’t agree more with Coach Wagner’s assessment of how this season has played out almost perfectly for UH to run the table and reach heights that they had never seen and, perhaps, may never see again. Only other factor that he left out was how also convenient it has been for UH that many of the top 25 teams have beaten up upon each other to allow UH to move up higher in the polls faster than even the most optomistic UH backer could have imagined.

  • Jimbo October 31, 2007 at 10:35 am

    This should remind ESPN, regardless of the blowouts of the past, Hawaii vs Fresno will always be an epic matchup in WAC play. And as you well know, the Warrior fanbase is growing game after game. And of course the non-believing so-called media types can see it themselves.

  • seafan October 31, 2007 at 1:14 pm

    Glad they added the FSU game. Hopefully all of the games will be televised in HD. Warriors looked sharp in HD against SJSU.

  • NYUH October 31, 2007 at 1:15 pm

    College football just isn’t fair. Look at the athletic budgets of programs like Ohio State and Texas compared to Hawaii. Luckily the favors blew towards Hawaii this time.

  • jediwarrior October 31, 2007 at 2:26 pm

    I agree NYUH. That’s why the WAC needs to ditch Karl Benson.

    That buggah has “zero” clout with ESPN. ESPN pays the WAC in peanuts. He’s also way to close to Boise to realize they keep bending him over the table and giving him da business. Yet he praises Kustra like he’s a god.

    My vote for the next WAC Commissioner is Bob Hogue. GO BOB!

    • Dave Reardon October 31, 2007 at 4:28 pm

      I find Karl Benson criticism interesting. Does it stem mostly from WAC breakup, perceived favoritism to Boise State, penalty for the haka, weakness of bottom half of league, support for Herman Frazier … what else am I missing?

      On the other side of the ledger, why does Benson get no credit for being instrumental in BCS changes that helped Hawaii get a financial windfall last year and could get the Warriors into a BCS game this year? Remember how people — including my good friend Bobby Curran — used to say the BCS would never allow mid-majors into the party? Benson (with help from the U.S. Senate) helped spearhead change to the current rules.

      • Jimbo November 1, 2007 at 12:56 am

        OK Dave, tell Karl get the WAC an automatic berth of tweleve in the BCS. Earn your keep as a WAC member, become conference champs, and go to a BCS game. Plain and simple……then I’ll believe in Benson.

        • Dave Reardon November 1, 2007 at 8:46 am

          That’s the next logical step … a big bowl game for all conference champs. But don’t hold your breath.

    • werhawaii October 31, 2007 at 8:58 pm

      Here we go again, remind me one more time, how great is that PacWest Conference since no one except Bob Hogue talks about it? This is the guy you want for commissioner? Please, you’re better than that.

  • SoGood October 31, 2007 at 4:20 pm

    I’d like to see ERob in there at Safety.

    Of course I trust Coach Mac but I like ERob :)

    Hey NYUH, did you hear Benson this morning on 1420? He stated that if Oklahoma or Texas go to the Fiesta bowl it’s probable that UH will not be invited cause they wouldn’t want to play us.

    With all the money these programs have, for them to chicken out of a game is so balony and such a crock. I hope we schedule Texas at Texas but make sure we get a clause that make Texas pay us 10 million if they pull out again :)

    • Dave Reardon October 31, 2007 at 4:46 pm

      The word is E-Rob has all the athletic ability you could want, but when he gets his chances he isn’t in the right place at the right time often enough.

      You would think Oklahoma would man-up and say bring on that mid-major (bleep) and try to get some redemption.

  • northtexasfan November 1, 2007 at 3:30 am

    Regarding safety replacement-I like Eric Robinson because he is the fastest. (He is also from Texas and that would put four Texans in the defensive 2ndary. Sorry that is not a great reason in the big picture.) At the same time your 40 speed may not be as important as your anticipation, footwork and ability to pound the reciever after a catch. All of these are important. Get them all practice against this great recieving core during this bye week. That will be paramount.

  • CJ November 1, 2007 at 7:06 am

    Why still have the pay per view it’ll be shown on ESPN?

    • Dave Reardon November 1, 2007 at 8:49 am

      Good question. My guess is UH didn’t want to refund all the people who already paid, so they and Fresno got ESPN to blackout their markets.

  • NelsonO November 1, 2007 at 9:58 am

    BTW, the Harris Poll (for college football) has 114 members. In addition to Bob Wagner, Hawaii also has Hugh Yoshida and Cindy Luis. Boomer Esiason, Dave Rimington, and Gil Brandt also are members of the Harris Poll.

    Against a running offense, I would put Erik Robinson in there. He brings the lumber.

    • Dave Reardon November 1, 2007 at 10:20 am

      ERob does seem like a good matchup for a typical physical Fresno team. This one is a little more finesse on offense than usual though.

  • RedZone November 1, 2007 at 10:06 am

    I have always wondered why the WAC headquarters is still located in a state that does not have a school in the WAC.

    • Dave Reardon November 1, 2007 at 10:17 am

      Denver’s a good airline hub, but so is Salt Lake City. Bay Area would be OK. If the main reason is not uprooting WAC staff or geographical consideration to LaTech, those aren’t good enough reasons.

  • Duster November 1, 2007 at 10:39 am

    I think that Karl Benson was instrumental in preventing UH from having a 13th regular season game this year. I still believe that the Thanksgiving weekend would have been the easiest one to fill with a BCS or quality mid major program after Michigan State bailed on us. I think a number of programs complete their conference schedule on November 17th, so a game on the following weekend could have been do-able. Sure, Benson waited for a while, then jumped at the chance to promote the WAC by taking that weekend for an ESPN match-up. That left UH in a quandary, and prevented a 13th game.

    It’s only my observation, but when Herman Frazier mentioned that he scheduled Weber State so that the WAC would not stick in an early conference game between road games at Florida and Oregon State next year, it seemed to confirm my belief that the WAC has no qualms about setting the schedule to promote the WAC to the detriment of a WAC member, especially Hawaii.

    Perhaps the WAC scheduling in 2007 will actually work out to UH’s benefit if UH is able to win out. However, I do not see Karl Benson as a friend of Hawaii.

  • LT November 1, 2007 at 1:30 pm

    That’s great ESPN is picking up the FSU-UH game also but I wonder who’s going to be calling the game (Leahy & Donovan?)and whether or not they’ll be showing the replay on Sunday like usual.

  • HawaiianAlii November 2, 2007 at 9:45 am

    What about your fans? Is that how you reward your fans. Black out the game, then turn around and charge your own fans $50 dollars in oahu and $25 neighbor islands to watch the game on pay-per view.(to good you guys). Hmm?? must be because they are Rank No#14 in the BCS Polls. Now thats the new Hawaii Warriors Team, shaft the hawaiians they no kea. I remember long ago when my father and i used to lession to all the UH sport events on the radio in hilo. Sometimes the static was so bad,you would lose reception while maneuvering the radio to find the right position for one play then back to the maneuvering. For the whole game,every week for years. And thats when we were losing most of the games. Please take care of your fans, because we never gave up on you. ALOHA from hilo,#1 Warriors fan. Ronald F.Van Meter

  • 3bsinc November 2, 2007 at 4:11 pm

    Great interview with Wag’s. The only part that bites is “You would think that if they had opened at Florida instead of LA Tech that they would barely be in the top 25 or maybe not even be ranked right now.” We didn’t open at Florida but how you can just chalk it off as a loss is beyond me.

  • Dave Reardon November 2, 2007 at 4:29 pm

    Glad you enjoyed it. Just for clarity’s sake, though, and because it became a bit of a (minor) issue on another blog, this wasn’t technically an “interview.”

    I just asked Bob Wagner to scratch out a few paragraphs on anything he wanted to about UH football and where it stands in the national perspective, given his position as a former UH coaxh and current Harris Poll voter.

    I’m pretty sure Florida would’ve been favored heavily at home against UH, even with UH having a tuneup against Northern Colorado. Would’ve been a very interesting game, though, especially if both QBs at full strength.

  • 3bsinc November 2, 2007 at 5:02 pm

    Thanks for the reply. I would’ve also liked to of seen that matchup.

    If you know and want to share I’d like to know if UH or KFVE will be compensated by ESPN for picking up the Fresno game? And how PPV can charge double ($30 for outer islands and $60 to Oahu – I believe thats the rates) to Oahu subscribers for away games is very bad marketing IMO.

  • Dave Reardon November 2, 2007 at 5:26 pm

    No, as far as I know there’s no compensation … ESPN per its contract can take any WAC game it wants with enough notice. The compensation comes in the original contract, and it’s not very much.

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