Potvin Newsly

Friday, January 4, 2008

Hawaii: Heroic Losers

The Hawaii Warriors’ perfect season is over after a 41-10 loss to Georgia in the Sugar Bowl on January 1st. Hawaii was the last undefeated team in FBS play, but they refused to end their season that way. “We decided to throw the game because we figured it wouldn’t be fair to all of the other teams if we ended our season with a big fat zero in the loss column,” said Hawaii head coach June Jones. “Plus, we received tons of death threats from Bulldog fans saying they’d kill us if we won. We know that at least a few of them we sincere, because they included bombs.”

“I didn’t want to die, so I made sure I had a pretty shitty game,” said Warriors quarterback Colt Brennan. “But it’s also very special to just be here and lose without any doubts.”

Hawaii saw what kind of trouble pollsters would get into should both they and LSU win their bowl games. LSU would be a two loss “national champion” while Hawaii would be undefeated and somehow not the national champion. So they lost on purpose. It was very convincing.

“At first, when I heard they were going to throw the game I was like ‘Oh great, just like when Appalachian State beat Michigan,'” said Georgia defensive end Marcus Howard. “Man, it was so obvious that Michigan lost that game on purpose. It was a pathetic showing by them. But, man, Hawaii has got it down. They can lose with the best of ’em.”

Howard was of course referring to Appalachian State’s week one upset of Michigan earlier this year. “I thought it was pretty cool,” said Michigan tackle Jake Long, in response to Howard’s remarks. “I mean, yeah, at times you could tell we weren’t trying, but just look what happened: Throughout the rest of the year, everybody else tried to have a bigger upset than us. I think that’s impressive, regardless of whatever a southern boy wants to say.”

Wolverine running back Mike Hart also replied in kind. “I bet we could lose to Appalachian State two, maybe three times if we wanted to. Hell, I bet we could lose to an Ivy League team if we really applied ourselves. Let’s see Georgia do that, or any SEC team for that matter, aside from Vanderbilt.” Hart was also defending the Big Ten, as it is typically seen as an inferior conference to the SEC.

Both Michigan and Hawaii are being heralded by many as the best losers of the 07-08 season, as Hawaii sacrificed their undefeated season and as Michigan Coach Lloyd Carr, even in his last year of coaching, had the Wolverines be the first top five team to lose to an FCS team in college football history.

LSU was right in the running with Hawaii and Michigan this year, as the Bayou Bengals lost two games in triple overtime to opponents they were expected to beat. It is unclear, however, if LSU lost the games to be extra gracious members of college football or if they lost them to gloat and brag. Tigers head coach Les Miles’ comments after each game seem to invoke both.

“We really wanted to show the nation that Kentucky can be good at football, too, even if it’s only once every 30 or 40 years,” said Miles after LSU lost to Kentucky 43-37 in October. “Plus, we think it’s unfair to go undefeated, and we really wanted to lose in spectacular style, and I think we were able to do that today.” Those words spoke volumes about LSU’s program and appeared to be building a legacy for Miles. However, his comments after losing to Arkansas were seen by many to be little more than arrogant and cocky.

“That’s what I’m talking about! I don’t think any other team in the nation can pull this off, two triple overtime loses as the number one team in the nation in the same month!” Miles comments were showered with an air of boastfulness. “I bet we still end up in the national championship!” And they did.

There were many other upsets throughout the year, such as Stanford beating No. 1 USC. It was the Trojans first home loss since 2001, and Stanford was a sub .500 team, even after the win. No. 2 California lost to Oregon State, and No. 5 West Virginia lost to unranked South Florida, who then reached the No. 2 spot some time later, only to be upset themselves. Texas, Oklahoma, Ohio State, Florida… the list literally goes on and on. With so many choices, how can one possibly pick the best losers of 2007?

Most people agree that the top three are Hawaii, Michigan, and LSU. This disagreement lies in what order those three go in. For me, it is just as I wrote it: Hawaii, Michigan, and LSU. Hawaii gave up their best season in school history and the last undefeated season in college football to keep the records straight, but they also did it in convincing fashion. I don’t think anybody doubts that Georgia was the better team in Sugar Bowl now, but that’s only because Hawaii intentionally lost with such incredible vigor.

Michigan gets the number two spot because they set the pace for the rest of year, and shattered the previous history of top five teams dominating the FCS teams. Also, it’s Lloyd Carr’s last year. Tom Osborne didn’t do that in his last season at Nebraska.

LSU takes third place because they did it just so they could brag. I think the fans should be able to brag about the two loses, but the program and its leaders should show some class and commend the winning teams on their “valiant efforts” even though the games are rigged. LSU certainly did get style points by losing both their games in such glamorous ways, however, which, combined with their national championship appearance, makes them a very solid number three.

In conclusion, the Hawaii Warriors win the Best Loser award. Let’s get the AP in on this so they can give them an actual trophy. They need it after that loss.

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