The Hawaiian Islands are a top travel destination for tourists the world over, but the BYU football team hasn't had much fun in the Aloha State during its past three visits. The Cougars were blown out by the Rainbow Warriors in 1989 and '90 and lost a close battle in '92.
BYU also has a reputation of struggling in its season-opening games. LaVell Edwards' teams have won 73 percent of the time during his 22 years, but are 13-9 (59 percent) in season openers. Even while winning to open the past two seasons - against UTEP in '92 and New Mexico last year - the games were much closer than oddsmakers anticipated.Then there's the fact Edwards prefers day games. Over the years, the Cougars been more successful in the afternoon than under the lights.
Put together, the Cougars may have their hands full Saturday night in the opener at Hawaii.
In any event, the Cougs are anxious to get the season started after an un-BYU like 6-6 year.
"We're ready for Hawaii," linebacker Shay Muirbrook said. "It will be a good game to gauge how the rest of our season is going to go. If we beat Hawaii we'll have a good season."
NORTHEAST WHO? - Of BYU's four non-league games, three should hold plenty of interest. The Cougs have another crack at national power Notre Dame, renew an old rivalry with Arizona State and try to get back at in-state foe Utah State.
The fourth non-WAC game is a tougher sell. The Cougars will face Northeast Louisiana, in its first year at the Division I-A level, Nov. 5 in Cougar Stadium. Sports Illustrated rated the Indians as the 105th best I-A team out of 107.
Critics, no doubt, will blast the Cougars for scheduling a patsy, but it should be noted BYU originally was set to play Alabama on that date but the Crimson Tide backed out after the SEC expanded. With most teams' schedules already booked, BYU had to scramble to fill the date and Northeast Louisiana was the best it could find.
ADD SCHEDULING - The big news about the 1995 schedule isn't who the Cougs play, but rather, who they won't play. For the first time in the Edwards era, BYU won't play his alma mater, Utah State. The three non-league games will be against UCLA and Arizona State of the Pac-10 and future WAC member Tulsa.
As the WAC becomes a 16-team league in '96, future schedules are still being worked out.
YOU OUGHTA BE IN PICTURES - Royal Chamberlain, a backup linebacker last season, apparently would rather have his face on the cover of G.Q. than Cougar Sports Magazine. The would-be junior reportedly quit football this summer to pursue a modeling career.
FAMILY MATTERS - Greg Steele, a redshirt freshman defensive back from Temple, Texas, returned home to attend the funeral of a family member this week. Steele was listed as the starting left cornerback after spring practices but has fallen to second string on the depth chart this fall. He is expected to be back in time to make the Hawaii trip.