Hawaii Looking Forward to Swamp Trip

When June Jones stepped down as football coach of Hawaii to leave for SMU, it was supposed to cool most of the buildup for Florida's 2008 season opener. Jones had fired up Gator fans by insulting Tim Tebow's passing skills while touting his own quarterback Colt Brennan for the Heisman Trophy last season.

While the Hawaii game no longer seems as hotly anticipated in Gainesville, it's clear from spending a few days here that the Warrior fanbase is fired up for another crack at the SEC.

Hawaii's last game saw them pounded 41-10 by Georgia in the Sugar Bowl. The Bulldogs dominated every facet of the game and could have easily made that score worse than it turned out. You might think that would be humbling, but it appears the Warrior fans and media have decided to pretend it didn't happen. The title of a book put out by the local newspaper about Hawaii's 2007 run is "A Perfect Season" despite the debacle in New Orleans being briefly noted in the final few pages.

Multiple articles in the Honolulu Advertiser this week dealt with the Hawaii-Florida game, which is somewhat surprising since it's still over a month away. Their columnist Ferd Lewis thinks Florida being declared a 28 point favorite in Las Vegas will be Hawaii's rallying point for the rest of their workouts. Dorian Munroe being out for the year with a knee injury is supposed to be a big break for the Warriors as well.

Even though Colt Brennan is now a Washington Redskin, with his signing of a sixth round pick's contract treated as front page news and his new jersey already being sold in area stores, optimism abounds in Honolulu. Radio ads encourage fans to "come see Hawaii make history" in Gainesville. Talk show hosts maintain the Warriors have a shot to win the game since Georgia beat Florida last year as well.

Hawaii will come into Ben Hill Griffin Stadium with a new head coach, no established answer at quarterback, and their top four receivers from last year gone. When they come to the mainland, the Warriors always struggle - even last year's "perfect season" required overtime wins at Louisiana Tech and San Jose State to keep it alive. Reality will set in at the Swamp August 30, but until then expect the drumbeat of hope from Honolulu to only get louder.

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