The college football season gets underway in delightfully strange fashion when Cal and Hawaii face off in Sydney, Australia. The game will kick off at 10 p.m. ET, but that's a noon kick in Australia.
Cal is the heavy favorite in this game, but they're dealing with an incredible amount of turnover this year. The top pick in the 2016 NFL Draft, quarterback Jared Goff, is gone, and so are basically all the receivers and a wide swath of the defense. They did get Texas Tech transfer Davis Webb to come to Berkeley, which is a huge plus, but there are question marks all over the place for the Bears.
That shouldn't matter, because Hawaii has even more problems. New head coach Nick Rolovich is an alum, so he knows the issues facing this team aren't easy. The lack of talent is hard enough, but their early season travel schedule is insane. Following this trip to Australia, Hawaii goes to Michigan the next week, then back home to play Tennessee-Martin, and then to Arizona.
How to watch, stream and listen
TV: 10 p.m. ET, ESPN
Online streaming: WatchESPN
Spread: Cal opened as a 23-point favorite, but that spread's been getting smaller.
Make friends: Get to SB Nation’s team blog chats for this game at California Golden Blogs for Cal fans and Mountain West Connection for Hawaii fans.
Three big things to know
1. Enter Davis Webb
It will be nearly impossible for Cal to replace a quarterback like Jared Goff. Goff was the offense, and between his departure and the loss of nearly every contributing wide receiver from last season, it's easy to get gloomy about the Bears' chances this year. But Davis Webb is the kind of quarterback that could step in and keep things moving offensively, so we'll see if he gets off to a fast start.
2. Lots of room for underclassmen to make an impact for Cal
The Bears return only 10 starters, and they lost a number of rotation players on defense that technically weren't starters but were still pretty important. Sonny Dykes has recruited fairly well, but it's time for a lot of those kids to get in there and start making plays. In particular, five-star true freshman Demetris Robertson could be a name to watch.
3. Will Hawaii show signs of life?
The Rainbow Warriors have been scuffling along for years, but they hit bottom last year during a nine-game losing streak that saw them get blown out on an almost weekly basis, which ultimately cost Norm Chow his job. Sometimes a new voice can go a long way towards getting better results, so we'll see if having a new coach in the room can keep the Warriors within shouting distance of Cal.
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