The Butterfly Effect.
Rube Goldberg’s Machine.
Whatever the description, it took a progression of circumstances to lead to the Warriors’ playing in the 2008 Sugar Bowl 10 years ago today.
At the end of the 2004 season, during which the Warriors won the final four games to finish at 8-5, head coach June Jones admittedly had lost the joy of the job. The melancholy was short lived.
Two significant things happened. Jones hired his former boss, Jerry Glanville, as defensive coordinator. Glanville was loud, ballsy and, oh, so much fun. He refused to acknowledge that he knew everybody’s name. He constructed a scheme that was aggressive and, thanks to Jones’ offensive schemes, unrepentant. The Warriors’ 2005 recruiting class also was one of the best in the program’s history, producing a Heisman candidate (Colt Brennan), the school’s leading tackler (Solomon Elimimian) and future stars such as Davone Bess, Adam Leonard, Brashton Satele, Laupepa Letuli, Aaron Kia, Blaze Soares, Dan “Ice Man” Kelly and so forth.
The following season, the NCAA delivered good news (approving sixth seasons for running back Nate Ilaoa and safety Leonard Peters) and assistant coach Jeff Reinbold delivered three-quarters of a secondary (cornerbacks Myron Newberry and Gerard Lewis and safety Jacob Patek). Thanks to Brennan, the Warriors produced the most efficient offense in college football history. The Warriors’ comeback victory over Arizona State in the 2006 Hawaii Bowl assured a placement in the 2007 preseason polls. As Central Florida has learned, it’s easier to ascend a poll when you start off in a poll.
And while Herman Frazier was much maligned for not crafting a high-profile schedule, what the Warriors got was what they needed. The WAC even helped, placing a UH-Boise State matchup at the end of the regular season, allowing a dramatic buildup to an otherwise underwhelming schedule.
Whatever the case and the circumstances, it was a fun ride.
Now, if only the committee would induct the 2007 team into the Circle of Honor …