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Cal football fans, what are your thoughts on the Hawaii season opener in Australia?

Go Bears!

Cameron Spencer/Getty Images

What are your feelings about the Hawaii game? What are you hoping for from the Bears against the Rainbow Warriors?

LeonPowe: I was not in favor of us going to Australia. But now that it's here and happening, I thought I'd take advantage of it; I've bought my plane ticket and I'll be going to Australia for the first time in my life. I think it's good to open the season with an opponent that isn't in good shape—so we can see how the new QB Davis Webb plays against what is a less-than-average defense.

Would like to see an easy victory so our team gets a chance to work on some things live action.

Nik Jam: All I want is for the media to say "Sure, they looked great, but it's Hawaii" instead of "you really expect this team to be good when they laid an egg against HAWAII"

Nick Kranz: Last year, Hawaii was one of the very worst teams in FBS football. They won two games over other FBS teams—and those two FBS teams won a collective four games over FBS teams themselves (Insert Requiem for Colorado Football here). Football Outsider's F/+ rankings placed Hawaii 120th and the Sagarin Predictor Rankings from 2015 say that Cal would be favored by 33 points on a neutral field—and actually ranked 44 FCS teams higher than the Rainbow Warriors.

You get the point: Hawaii should be bad. Granted, 2015 isn't 2016 and both Cal and Hawaii are different teams. I can't conceive of what kind of collective changes could strike these two teams to bridge the massive gap that existed in 2015.
Cal isn't playing an FCS team in 2016, but Hawaii isn't meaningfully different from playing Eastern Washington or Portland State. With the caveat that it's always wise not read too much into season openers, anything less that a comfortable 20+ point win would be a concerning start to the 2016 campaign.

Ruey Yen: Since I don't live in California and have traveled back (or to a road game) for at most one game per season, almost all of my Cal Football experiences in the last decade have come from watching the game on TV with fellow Cal alumni and friends. Consequently, I don't have much of an opinion about the loss of a home game, but just hope that this Sydney Cup appearance is truly a financial boon (and it might be...because some Australian promoters may have oversold this game between a major and prestigious American university—Cal—and Hawaii).

With that said, the clear best thing about this Hawaii game is that it means that the Cal Football season will come one week earlier than everyone else and the original schedule. Just like before every season, I am full of high hope for this being that special year where our sturdy Golden Bears finally break that long Rose Bowl drought. The start of season is always highly anticipated, so it is certainly great to have it sooner.

As for the actual game against Hawaii? That's a meh. I would not read too much into an easy win, nor would I worry too much if Cal struggles a bit (we are playing far away and this IS the first game of the season). All that I want (and expect) is just a victory over a bad opponent to open the season.

boomtho: I'm really excited that Cal is kicking off the entire freaking NCAA football season this year. I think it's actually a pretty decent publicity opportunity for Cal (now, publicity doesn't pay for debt service or the stadium...). As far as the actual opponent? I've long been of the opinion that we should either schedule 'A' or 'C' opponents, so in that regard, I think Hawaii is a decent opener. They should't push us too hard, and we should get to see a bunch of guys play. Here's hoping it actually sticks to that script!

Piotr Le: I think this will be a very telling game for us. It will give us a good baseline understanding of what we can do right out of the door. How will the receivers mesh together with the Spavital system? Furthermore, I will be interested in how much we will rely on the running game to ease our young receivers and new QB into the game. I can envision two-RB sets with Muhammad/Stovall and Watson/Enwere. This should allow us for more mismatches.

My favorite one is Stovall vs. a LB who is forced to go man-to-man on him. And if the defense drops a safety on him then it indicates a Cover 0/1/3/6 concept which gives one of our outside receivers will a favorable 1-on-1 match-up. One way to counter this would be to employ hybrid LB/SS players such as Su'a Cravens (USC, drafted in the 2016 Draft) or Deon Bucannon (WSU, drafted in the 2014 Draft). 

Splitting him wide from the initial two-RB set should open up a lighter box for Watson/Enwere; with either of them, a box of 5 or 6 is a good match-up with those back and our seasoned O-line.

By all accounts, Stovall and Robertson ought to blow us all away (Like Phillip Hamilton, sans the duel part). I know they have the athleticism to dominate, but I want them to see some technique and route-running skills. This is Hawaii, but the two will be facing the likes of Adoree Jackson later in the season and they will need to step up their technique if they want to gain separation from such CBs.

For the defense, I want to see utter domination. We are facing Hawaii in the trough of their FBS capacities and the only way for me to sleep in peace is to show domination. Besides that, we cannot sustain injuries to the LBs, especially to Devante Downs since he is not only the most athletic LB we have, but the best LB we have.