2021 Hawaii Football Record Projection Per SP+
What does the advance numbers say about the Warriors?
Initial SP+ has Hawaii going bowling?
Early rankings are out for the 2021 season and one that we use a lot is Bill Connelly’s SP+ and his initial rankings recently came out and. we are going to use these rankings to see what the records will be for the Mountain West.
There are three factors for compiling SP+:
1. Returning production.
2. Recent recruiting.
3. Recent history.
Preseason SP+ projections for the Mountain West:
39. Boise State
78. Fresno State
81. San Jose State
84. San Diego State
93. Air Force
96. Colorado State
121. Utah State
124. New Mexico https://t.co/nyzlyRuU6v
— Mountain West Wire (@MWCwire) February 9, 2021
The Hawaii Warriors have an initial SP+ ranking of 105 and some of that has to be with its lack of returning offensive production which is 100th in the FBS.
Coaching changes could have an issue with Hawaii’s season as well with the loss of wide receivers coach Brennan Marion to Pittsburgh and its offensive coordinator GJ Kinne who took the co-offensive coordinator position with UCF.
For this exercise, we do not know the dates of the conference games and that shouldn’t change the SP+ projections in a vacuum, but playing back-to-back road or home games, bye weeks, or a tough stretch will impact the results.
Aug. 28 at UCLA (21) Record: 0-1: The Bruins are clearly extremely highly thought of by SP+ despite being 3-4 last season but they were within one score of upsetting a ranked USC and Oregon team. Being that close to really good teams could mean the Bruins will finally take that next step under Chip Kelly. The one key player on this Bruins team that Hawaii needs to watch out for is quarterback Dorian Thompson-Robinson who shined last year.
Sept. 4 vs. Portland State – (NR) Record: 1-1: There is not much to say about an FCS team because Hawaii should win this contest over the Vikings.
Sept. 11 at Oregon State – (60) Record: 1-2: This is a very winnable game despite that the Beavers have slowly been getting better the past two seasons. They do return starting 94% of its offensive production last year that was middle of the pack in most categories within the conference. Plus, they return two QB’s who split time in Chance Nolan and Tristan Gebbia.
Sept. 25 at New Mexico State – (130) Record 2-2: The Aggies are currently playing a spring season with just a two-game schedule and so far it is not going well. They fell in their first game to Tarleton State, 43-17. Their other game is vs. Dixie State. So far, the offense and defense do not look well, and with the Aggies taking a step back the past few years, this is a game the Warriors should win.
Oct. 23 vs. New Mexico State – (130) Record 3-2 Yes, Hawaii play the Aggies in a rare in-season home-and-home series.
vs. Colorado State – (96) Record 3-3: The Rams are in a rebuilding mode heading into the second. year of the Steve Addazio era. They need to find a new quarterback as Patrick O’Brien transferred.
vs. Fresno State – (78) Record 3-4: The Bulldogs have the chance to surprise the conference and be a darkhorse team. This matchup will test the Hawaii defense with QB Jake Haner and RB Ronnie Rivers back in what should be a very potent offense.
vs. San Diego State – (84) Record 3-5: The Aztecs second half of last year wasn’t great but San Diego State easily defeated the Warriors with ease last year. San Diego State will have a new quarterback this year and they lost nearly all of its defense and will have to rebuild that unit.
vs. San Jose State – (81) Record 3-6: This game will be interesting because the big question all year is if the Spartans can replicate or even come close to what they did last year. Having QB Josh Love back is huge and will allow them to have a chance in most games.
At Nevada – (74) Record 3-7: Last year, Hawaii’s defensive coordinator Victor Santa Cruz was able to slow down the Wolf Pack deep threat and pull off an upset win, 24-21. The same key players are back for Nevada in QB Carson Strong and WR Romeo Doubs, to name a few. It will be tough to stop this offense in back-to-back years.
At UNLV – (123) Record 4-7: This should be a no-brainer of a win. The Rebels are still going to struggle next year even though they have a bunch of young and promising talent but there just won’t be enough to keep up with Hawaii, especially on the defense.
At Utah State – (121) Record 5-7: The Aggies have a new head coach in Blake Anderson from Arkansas State so it is a bit of an unknown of what he will bring. A few transferred followed in LB Justin Rice who is back in the Mountain West after spending a year in Jonesboro, plus the Red Wolves QB Logan Bonner. The Aggies may not be at the bottom of the Mountain West but they will likely struggle to be bowl eligible.
At Wyoming – (80) Record 5-8: This team could look different with players returning who opted out from 2020. However, the quarterback situation will be the most interesting with Sean Chambers and Levi Williams battling out to be the starter. Plus, the Cowboys have a new offensive coordinator in Tim Polasek.
The Warriors going 5-8 seems a bit on the low end and a lot of these SP+ rankings are close and there are about six games that could go either way for Hawaii in 2021. So, don’t get stuck on them being underdogs in eight games.