Tuesday, October 04, 2005

Fresno State vs Hawaii from Japan

Talk of a game in Japan is some old news from the Western Athletic conference media days back in July, but it has an interesting thread at the Barkboad going on now. Fresno State and Hawaii are in the works of scheduling a non-conference game in Japan for next year.

Hawaii coach June Jones was close to scheduling a similar game two years ago with Hawaii playing Grambling State in Japan. The idea of game in Japan is for two reasons. One it is an attempt to increase Hawaii's media exposure and fan base. Two it will allow Hawaii to avoid having to schedule a Division I-AA team as a home game.

NCAA now allows games versus I-AA teams to count towards bowl eligibility. Bowl Championship Series schools can fatten up on four pasties in non-conference, and only have to win two conference games to be bowl eligible in the expanded 12 game regular season starting in 2006.

Hawaii gains the advantage of an added game per NCAA rules, and the Warriors will play 13 regular season games, that is only three games short of an NFL regular season. However, BCS schools are reluctant to travel to the Islands and face the possibility of losing. Northwestern and Michigan State both lost at Hawaii last year and it cost them a shot at a bowl game in some capacity.

Fresno State coach Pat Hill is all for the game in the Land of the Rising Sun. You have to respect the guy, he will play anyone, anywhere, anytime, even a bitter conference rival twice in the same season in a foreign country. The Bulldogs hosts Hawaii in a WAC conference game in 2006.

If the talks lead to a deal, then Fresno State's non-conference schedule would feature home games against Oregon and Colorado State, a rode game at Washington, and the game against the Warriors in Japan. What date will the game be played? Playing in Japan is not as easy as it sounds. The time difference and travel can throw off a team's schedule and routine. The only common open date, early on, between the schools is September 23.

Ideally, it makes sense to play the game at the end of August, if allowed by the NCAA. Not only does it impact the players less, but the game will get increased national exposure as the first college football game of 2006. However, Hawaii has a road game scheduled the first week of September against Alabama, so maybe the first week of December at the end of the season might be another option.

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