Though Hawaii earned a few victories over Mountain West foes at home, the Rainbow Warriors didn’t win a game on the road in 2022 and ended the season 3-10.
If the Rainbow Warriors can triumph in just a few road contests this year, they should be capable of finishing 2023 higher in the conference standings.
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Hawaii Football’s Mountain West Title Odds
Hawaii’s odds to win the Mountain West are +12500, via BetMGM.
Hawaii Football’s Over/Under Win Total
Hawaii’s win total Over/Under is 3.5, with Under 3.5 at +115 and Over 3.5 at -135.
Hawaii Football’s Schedule
8/26 at Vanderbilt
9/1 vs Stanford
9/9 vs UAlbany
9/16 at Oregon
9/23 vs New Mexico State
9/30 at UNLV
10/14 vs San Diego State
10/21 at New Mexico
10/28 vs San Jose State
11/4 at Nevada
11/11 vs Air Force
11/18 at Wyoming
11/25 vs Colorado State
Bold indicates Mountain West contests.
Brayden Schager Is Back For Hawaii’s Offense
After starting most of the season, Brayden Schager is back at quarterback for the Rainbow Warriors.
Schager threw for 13 touchdowns, 10 interceptions, and 2,348 yards on a 55% completion rate last year. Joey Yellen, a former Pitt transfer, also started a few games last year and threw for 324 yards, no touchdowns, and two picks while completing 46% of his throws.
At wide receiver, Zion Bowens is gone after leading the team with 494 yards, four touchdowns, and 35 catches. Jalen Walthall was Hawaii’s leading receiver last year among returners this year. He caught 27 passes for 333 yards and a touchdown.
Wide receiver Jonah Panoke is also back after tallying 312 yards and a touchdown on 27 receptions. Hawaii also added former Kansas wide receiver Steven McBride via the transfer portal this offseason.
Dedrick Parson, who paced Hawaii with 830 yards and 11 touchdowns on the ground, is gone. But Tylan Hines, who added 634 yards and two touchdowns on a 7.6 yards-per-carry average, is back.
The Rainbow Warriors were seventh in the Mountain West by averaging 137.2 rushing yards per game, but their offensive line allowed the fourth-fewest sacks in the league with 19. Hawaii returns interior O-lineman Sergio Muasau, left guard Solo Vaipulu, and center Eliki Tanuvasa, who each started multiple games last season, and also added former Houston offensive lineman Josh Atkins.
Logan Taylor And Jonah Kahahawai-Welch Among Top Returners For Hawaii’s Defense
Hawaii’s defense allowed the most points (34.7) and most yards (438.2) per game in the Mountain West a season ago. With six of the Rainbow Warriors’ top 11 tacklers last year returning, they hope they can improve.
Logan Taylor was Hawaii’s leading tackler last year. The linebacker totaled 85 tackles, four for loss, as well as three quarterback hurries, an interception, and a sack.
Defensive lineman Jonah Kahahawai-Welch was disruptive for Hawaii last year, pacing the team with 7.5 tackles for loss and six quarterback hurries. He also chipped in 26 total tackles and two sacks.
Fellow defensive lineman John Tuitupou led the team with 3.5 sacks. He added 30 tackles and one forced fumble, and he’s back as well.
Defensive back Peter Manuma was third on the team with 70 tackles and two interceptions. He added four pass breakups, three tackles for loss, and two forced fumbles.
Defensive back Virdel Edwards II returns after tying a team lead with three interceptions. He also broke up five passes while recording 50 tackles.
Hawaii added to its secondary by bringing in former Wyoming defensive back Cam Stone, a HERO Sports G5 Preseason All-American. The Rainbow Warriors also added multiple defensive lineman who were playing for other Division I schools like Patrick Hisatake (Cal), Kuao Peihopa (Washington), Elijah Robinson (East Carolina), and Josh Jerome (Eastern Washington).
Hawaii Football Season Prediction
Hawaii won’t win the Mountain West title but will win more games than last year.
The Rainbow Warriors should simply be better this season. That’s why I think they can win three Mountain West contests, as well as a couple non-conference games.
While I don’t think they’ll defeat Vanderbilt, Stanford, or Oregon, I could see the Rainbow Warriors hosting UAlbany and New Mexico State and winning.
I think Hawaii has a shot at wins against New Mexico, Nevada, and Colorado State. And while I don’t foresee Hawaii being better than UNLV, San Diego State, San Jose State, Air Force, or Wyoming, I could see the Rainbow Warriors giving those teams issues, especially in those games that are played at home.
The Rainbow Warriors might not have a winning record, but they should be capable of a few upsets this year.