California Golden Bears v Hawaii Rainbow Warriors
Saturday August 27, 12:00pm AEST – ANZ Stadium
In the first official college football game on Australian soil since 1987, Pac 12 powerhouse California Golden Bears will look to give the Hawaii Rainbow Warriors an early taste of their new look high octane offense in the start to their 2016 campaign.
After a wild ride in 2015 that lead to an eventual finish at 8 wins 5 losses, California ensured that superstar quarterback Jared Goff went out on a high with a resounding 55-36 win in the Armed Forces bowl swansong. Their 5 losses in 2015 came against Pac 12 opponents, considered to be one of the stronger divisions in the country which may spell trouble for their Mountain West (MW) first round opponents. Of those losses, a heartbreaker to #5 NCAA ranked Utah followed by a deflating rivalry loss the following week to a strong UCLA team indicates that their 2015 record doesn’t tell the full story to their talent as a football program, and deservedly start as heavy favourites.
A disappointing 2015 season saw the Rainbow Warriors slump to a record 3-10, and failing to register a victory against their lowly MW divisional opponents for the year. New coach Nick Rolovich will be hoping his defence that leaked an average of 35 points per game last season can get their offense out on the field enough to compete against a formidable California outfit on both sides of the ball. Fifth year quarterback Ikaika Woosley is hoping to prove his doubters wrong after a miserable season in which he placed 25th amongst 28 starting quarterbacks in the MW division.
Whilst number 1 pick Goff heading to the NFL is a huge loss, the strength of the California program under Sonny Dykes in his 4th year looks to be a class above their opponents, and will look to make short work of them in front of the 85,000 strong crowd. Look for freshly transferred Cal quarterback Davis Webb to seek out speedy freshmen receivers Melquise Stovall and Demetris Robertson who have the big play potential and can put up big points against an outclassed defence.
Final score: CAL 42 defeat HAW 7
BACK (WIN) Cal -19.5 at $1.79 – This line looks to be too generous given the added weapons that Cal has been given in the off season.
BACK (WIN) Under 64.5 pts at $2.2 – The Rainbow Warriors were shut out in 3 out of their first 5 games last season, and with no big splash additions made on the defensive side of the ball, it’s hard to see them putting up big numbers.