Since the University of Hawaii started playing football in 1909, it has started the season with a 6-2 record 15 times, including the current team.
In 1920 and 1962, UH also finished at 6-2, since it only played eight games. Incidentally, in ’62, opponents included teams such as the Kaimuki Spartans and Tantalus Rangers. In ’20, one loss was to Outrigger Canoe Club, which hasn’t been on the schedule in a very long time. But the other team Hawaii lost to that year still is, and the Rainbow Warriors will try to beat Nevada this Saturday to clinch a winning record and bowl bid.
That’s on the mind of a lot of UH fans after the Warriors were brought down to earth in a 49-23 dismantling at the hands of BYU on Saturday: How long will it take to get that seventh win with five left on the regular-season schedule?
Well, the Warriors haven’t had the pleasurable problem of being 6-2 in a while. The last time was in 2010, when UH won at Utah State for its fifth victory in a row. Hawaii then improved to 7-2 immediately with a 45-10 homecoming win against Idaho, clinching its spot in the Hawaii Bowl. The Warriors did the same thing in 2002 and 2006; beating San Jose State and Utah State.
One difference from now is that in none of those other three cases were the Warriors coming off a loss to put them at 6-2. The only other times in school history the ‘Bows lost when they were 6-1 was the above-mentioned loss to Nevada ending the 1920 season — and in 1955. If you know UH football history, that year, 1955, rings a bell, right? Now, can you tell me how a team that won on the road at Nebraska and finishes 7-5 loses at home to the Hawaii Marines? Actually, I can tell you — for some reason, UH forfeited to the leathernecks.
That’s all just quaint (and hopefully fun) trivia — and brings home the point that not all 6-2 records are created equally.
But if we’re looking for something that could possibly be relevant as the 2018 Rainbow Warriors head down the stretch here you go: The six times before this season that UH had a 6-2 record against an all-Division I college schedule (1988, 1989, 2001, 2002, 2006 and 2010), Hawaii finished out a combined 18-8-1, and averaged a total 9.7 wins for the season. The only two times among those six years it did not go to a bowl game ended with a 41-17 win over Oregon in 1988 and a 72-45 victory over BYU in 2001.
Granted, the schedule is backloaded this year, and UH’s final five opponents (all fellow Mountain West Conference members) are a combined 20-11. But the Rainbow Warriors remain in first place in the conference’s West Division at 3-0 and they have five chances to lock up that bowl bid and first regular-season winning record since 2010.