I have been tasked with covering the Hawaii Rainbow Warriors in most of their victories so far this season. Hawaii is one of those schools that can win 100 games in a row and still nobody would pay attention to them or put all of their games on DirecTV; after all, Halawa is a long way from Tuskaloosa.
Even a sweeping search of the internet barely turned up a streaming option for Hawaii vs Rice in Week 3. Finally, our friends at Reddit provided a link to a local cable broadcast featuring a pair of Hawaiian announcers.
The announcers are better at their jobs than almost anyone on national TV. Thoughtful, sincere, and projecting an emotional love of football – not just a love of the Rainbow Warriors.
During the contest, the elder statesman of the announcing crew asked his partner if he knew who the “13th Man” was. We all know who the “12th Man” is at a gridiron venue – the crowd. But who is the 13th Man?
“Momentum,” said the wise old broadcaster. “Momentum is the 13th Man.”
Momentum is the key word when many Mountain West rivals play. But it’s also a big part of CFB betting on Saturday afternoon and evening. If the tide turns against you, and there’s nowhere else to go, consider wagering on the “bailout” game, or the latest kickoff of the week’s college slate.
This particular bailout game (Hawaii plays in many of them, as you might imagine) comes with only a (-3) favorites’ spread on the Rainbow Warriors, despite the team’s amazing success in the first half of 2018-19.
Who: Wyoming Cowboys at Hawaii Rainbow Warriors
When: Sunday, October 7th, 12 AM EST
Where: Aloha Stadium, Halawa, HI
Lines: Wyoming (+3) at Hawaii (-3) / O/U Total: (55)
Saturday night’s bailout contest kicks off on Sunday morning in New York, but the game will attract betting action for the exciting Rainbow Warriors to try to cover at home. Wyoming bested Hawaii in OT last season, but the Cowboys are still trying to find an identity without Buffalo Bills rookie Josh Allen, while Cole MacDonald of UH has passed for 2000+ yards in 6 games for the 5-1 hosts.
Jackson Moore of Warrior Sports Network dishes on MacDonald’s strengths:
He probably brings a different element to the run-and-shoot that Hawaii’s never had in the past with his legs. They’re able to incorporate some different concepts into the offense like the run-pass option. They’re mixing a little bit of that into the whole system, so they’ve kind of gone with what they call Run-and-Shoot 2.0 because of that. And also he can get you with the read option a little bit. But the big thing of course is his arm because this offense is nothing without a quarterback that can pass. I had a hard time seeing Hawaii being any good this year with the quarterbacks they had on the roster because of how crucial that element is to any offense, much less this one. But McDonald has been very consistent week in and week out. He doesn’t make mistakes. He’s got a quick pass, which is really important when they can get the short-yardage gains. He can also throw it deep.
…but offers only pessimism on the defense:
If this team had a good defense, they’d be really scary. They look really scary without it, but going to San Jose State and having to win in five overtimes despite their offensive numbers, it’s kind of been a concern of how good this team actually is and where the wins might come in the second half of the season. The one thing they do know that they can pretty much rely on week in and week out is the play of Jahlani Tavai at linebacker. He brings it every week.
It’s true that one good linebacker does not a defense make, and the 44-41 circus against San Jose State was frightening. But I’m still not seeing the over-valuing in calling Hawaii the favorite, given that the squad has won more than twice as many games as Wyoming, and the offense is prolific.
The Cowboys do have a few strengths that could play to their advantage vs a weak defensive team that is inexperienced in winning tight games. Nico Evans is a plucky senior at RB, and the team has rushed for 4.0 yards per carry on the season. The program has seen worse blocking than that.
But Tyler Vander Waal is struggling to reach even acceptable MWC standards at QB, to say nothing of replacing an NFL 1st-rounder. Wyoming’s defense has not been able to stop any high-powered spread offenses (opponents Washington State and BSU scored touchdowns in bunches) and just because Hawaii is not a revered brand name (or a great defense) doesn’t mean their offense can’t rank with the big dogs.
Look for Hawaii to out-score Wyoming by at least 8-12 points and cover the spread.