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Golden Blogs Pick-em Week 0: Cal opens up in Australia

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Our staff picks Cal vs. Hawaii using Vegas odds.

Marshawn Lynch's new Beast Mode shirt: "I'm just here for the Cal game"

College Football season is finally back! Well, if you want to be technical, the season “really” starts in a week. But of course there’s one FBS game taking place a week early, and it involves our Bears! Hopefully this isn’t news to anyone, but Cal is in Australia this week to take on Hawai’i. It’s been mentioned before that Cal is a big favorite to beat the Rainbow Warriors.

But nonetheless, college football is back and that means so is our Golden Blogs staff pick-em league!

In case you are new to this. Here’s how it works.

How To Play

Staff members who opted in to this challenge pick a series of games. They include: All 12 Cal games, all Pac-12 intra-conference match-ups, and select Pac-12 non-conference games (in other words, games that do not involve a FCS team or low-level FBS team). Each correct answer is worth 2 points.

In addition, they are asked to choose an over/under for each event (unless there isn’t a posted over/under) and will get one point for a correct answer.

Midway through last season, with some issues involving a lot of unanimous picks, I added Wild Cards. They return for the full season this year! These involve match-ups outside of the Pac-12, usually major games involving two ranked teams. I made a list with several games and our staff pick one “Lock” that they think will win. Last year I didn’t include spreads (I generally looked for even match-ups) but this year I may do so to increase the variety in Wild Card picks and games to choose from. Correct answers are worth 2 points.

Finally, I included an “Upset” pick, where a staff member can pick a double-digit or close-to-double-digit underdog (from a list that I created) to straight up pull an upset. Last year, a correct upset gets three points, but I may reward more points for correctly picking a 20+ point underdog or an FCS win, but I’ll decide that next week. However, any staff member can play it safe and predict that no upset among the games I list and will get ONE point if correct. Correct upset picks have happened! Note that Pac-12 and even Cal games will be included even if we pick the actual game itself with a spread.

We will do these for every week there’s FBS games, even if Cal is off. Our final week is the Conference Championship weekend where the winner will be decided. We will not do Bowl games.

Contestants

Here’s our results from last year first, in order from most to least points scored. Oh hey, that’s me at the bottom... Sad!

2015 Golden Blogs Pick-Em Results

Here’s our contestants this year, in order of who answered my Cal-Hawaii questionnaire from first to last.

2016 Golden Blogs Pick-em Contestants

We have all but one staff member returning this year including our defending champion PerryScope! Also welcoming two newcomers to my league. We start all over, so everyone has a chance to do great this year!

Cal vs. Hawaii

Friday, August 26 (7PM Pacific Time, ESPN)

Cal is a 20.5 point favorite. Over/Under is 62.5

On some Vegas bet makers, the odds are as high as Cal +23.5 with the lowest at Cal +20.5 which is what I decided to go with. Similarly the over/under varied. Usually it was 62 or 63, I went in the middle to avoid a “push” where the total score exactly matches the over/under (no points are awarded in that case).

This is the part where I post a screenshot from Microsoft Excel of everyone’s picks.

Cal-Hawaii Staff picks

So everyone thinks Cal will win by at least 21 points. Yay? We have a small split between the over and under.

This is the part where I post everyone’s explanations, provided they gave one (it’s optional).

Nik Jam: I think the Bears should have an easy time in the opener, but not sure the Bears will reach a three touchdown lead until late in the game.

Piotr T Le: Cal goes on a scoring binge as Hawai'i isn't able to stop Stovall, Roberston, Hansen, and BIG BAD VIC.

boomtho: I expect Cal's superior athleticism at WR/RB to result in a LOT of points... and I'm not sure Cal's D really puts the clamps down on Hawaii. This is a huge line but I'm probably picking with blue-and-gold colored glasses.

Berkelium97: I expect Cal to win big, but the excitement of the first game of the season and playing in Australia will likely mean both teams start off slowly, which keeps them just under the over/under.

Ruey Yen: Cal blows out Hawaii in a game that does not tell us much. An Australian kid watching the Sydney Bowl will eventually become a future Cal Football/Rugby star.

Nam Le: bruh.

PerryScope: If Cal is gonna win by 3 touchdowns it's gonna be a shootout

KWBears: Cal's receivers are going to be dynamic!

Conclusion

So yeah, only one game this week so there’s not much else to say. Next week will be interesting given that it’s the first full week of college football but no Cal game to speak of. With Alabama/USC and other big match-ups looming, it’ll still be a solid week of Pick-em for the staff and for you the readers! Although it may not be up to par with Leland or Twist, I’ll of course be interjecting a little humor to these write-ups from now on. Hopefully, anyway.

Enjoy the Cal game! Sound off in the comments or @GoldenBlogs with your picks, or which user’s pick and explanation fills you with glee and/or rage! And of course, GO BEARS!