Cleat Geeks

College Football is Back: Cal vs Hawaii Preview

cal-hawaii-sydneyAfter months of waiting, college football is finally back! In a loaded opening week to kickoff the 2016 season, the first matchup isn’t as compelling. However, it’s college football nonetheless. On Friday night we’ll be equipped with the first matchup of the year which features the Hawaii Warriors and California Golden Bears as they fly down under as Australia hosts the season opener. How will Cal perform without Jared Goff under center? Can the Warriors bounce back after a 3-10 season? Find out below.

For more on the California Golden Bears, check out their full team preview!

5 THINGS TO WATCH FORDavisWebb

-Davis Webb in, Jared Goff out

What should we expect from an offense which will be faced with the task of replacing the top overall pick under center? Davis Webb comes over as a Texas Tech transfer and has seen his fair share of college production. He is the perfect fit for Sonny Dykes’ Bear-Raid offense as he boasts 6’5”/224 size with exceptional arm strength. Like Goff, a draft prospect in his own right – Kiper has labeled Webb the top senior QB of the 2017 class. I’m excited to see how Webb performs, especially on a new platform.

-Cal’s talented backfield

If there’s a strength on this California squad, it’s undoubtedly their backfield which features the 3-headed monster of: Tre Watson, Vic Enwere and Khalfani Muhammad. Each of them brings their own skillset to the table and will put on a show in this contest. Watson has the elusiveness, Enwere is the power back and Muahmmad is the speedster. It’s a backfield-by-committee, so whoever has the hot hand will see most of the carries in week 1.

-Overhauling entire WR corps

Losing a star QB is never easy. and losing your top 6 WRs from last season is even tougher. The Bears have tons of production to replace, and it all starts with standout freshman Demetris Robertson. The late, late commit brings a 5 star rating to Berkeley along with elite athleticism and explosiveness to the field – he is the name to watch for in this WR corps. Melquise Stovall is another talented freshman that the team is high on. Watch out for Robertson and Stovall to complete the best freshman tandem in the country – it all starts in week 1.

-Defense remains a liability

Even with all the losses on offense, the Golden Bears are still pretty set on that side of the ball. Not so much on defense. A unit ranked 108th nationally returns 5 starters with linemen James Looney leading the charge. There are holes across the unit, but will we see a stronger group come out against Hawaii?

-Consistent offense is key for HawaiiMarcusKemp

Last season Hawaii posted an abysmal 120th ranked offense in the nation. This season they enter with 5 returning starters and a question mark at QB. If the Warriors want any chance to pull off the upset, they’ll need to keep up with Cal’s offense. In order to do so, they’ll need sound play under center. Standout WR Marcus Kemp is poised for a big week 1 as he goes against Cal’s poor secondary – named to the Biletnikoff watch list. You’ll be hearing his name a lot in this one.

CalPlayerPrediction: Cal, 42-18

I don’t see an upset in this one, and I don’t think it will even be close. California is just far too talented for Hawaii to keep up. Even with a ‘depleted’ WR corps, I see a huge game from Davis Webb. We’ll get our first glimpse at Webb in a Bears uniform which I’m very excited to see; along with our first look at the freshman tandem of Robertson and Stovall – a pair who will be tearing it up for the next 3 years. Not to mention, their lethal trio in the backfield. Hawaii’s defense will not be able to contain them.

An inexperienced QB in an offense that lacks playmakers is not a good recipe for what was one of the worst offenses in the nation last season. Not to mention, Hawaii ranked 104th on defense. A squad that went 3-10 in 2015 and has suffered five consecutive losing seasons will be just there yet again. They enter the season ranked 123rd according to Lindy’s Sports – a bottom 6 team in the country.

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