Hawaii vs


at Australia
Fri, Aug 26
7:00 PM Pacific
Rotation: 292
Odds: California -20, Total: 63

Game Analysis

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California (-20)  45   Hawaii  26

Cal and Hawaii kick off the 2016 season in Sydney, Australia and this is a game that the Bears should win pretty easily even with quarterback Jared Goff playing for the Rams. Coach Sonny Dykes got a gift when former Texas Tech starting quarterback Davis Webb decided to transfer to Berkeley and Webb was named the starter early in the summer. Webb ran the same offense at Texas Tech, where Dykes learned it under Mike Leach, and Webb performed at a good level before an even more talented Patrick Mahomes took his job late in the 2014 season. Webb has averaged an impressive 7.2 yards per pass play (on 758 pass plays) against teams that would combine to allow 6.1 yppp to an average quarterback. I expect similar numbers this season in Berkeley despite the loss of Cal’s top 6 receivers from last season. The Bears have recruited very well at the receiver position and the talent on hand is actually better than what Webb had to work with in his 3 years in Lubbock. I still expect a precipitous drop in Cal’s pass efficiency this season (they were +2.3 yppp last season and Webb is +1.1 yppp in his career) but the Bears will still be potent through the air and their ground assault can also do plenty of damage with the top 3 backs from last year returning to run behind an improved offensive line.

Cal’s defense went from historically awful in 2013, to bad in 2014 under new defensive coordinator Art Kaufman, to less bad in 2015. The Bears suffered a lot of injuries on defense last season and Kaufman has turned bad defenses into solid units in past stops in his career, but I don’t see any improvement on that side of the ball this season. Cal’s total yards allowed numbers look horrible because their up tempo offense leads to more possessions per team than average but the Bears were only 0.2 yards per play worse than average defensively last season (on a national scale) and I rate that unit only slightly worse this season – but with potential to be better.

Hawaii has mercifully ended the Norm Chow era and I expect the Rainbow Warriors to return towards mediocrity in the years to come after having an average rating of 16 points worse than an average FBS team in Chow’s 4 seasons as head coach. I never understood why Chow was considered a great offensive coordinator to begin with. The offensive efficiency (compensated yards per play) consistently declined after he took over as OC and then improved after he left the program for another job. I was not surprised when Hawaii’s offense rated 1.3 yards per play worse in 2012 (Chow’s first season at Hawaii) than it did in 2011. Last season the Hawaii offense was 1.1 yppl worse than average and the 4 year average rating of the Warriors’ offense was 0.7 yppl worse than the worst rating that Hawaii had from 1999 to 2011 (starting with the June Jones era). New head coach (and OC) Nick Rolovich was the quarterback here in 2000 and 2001 under June Jones and later became the offensive coordinator before taking over as the OC at Nevada when Chow took the reins at Hawaii.

I don’t expect Rolovich to return Hawaii to offensive glory in his first season, as his starting quarterback Ikaika Woolsey has completed only 49.5% of his 594 career pass attempts. I do expect Woolsey to improve in a system that is much easier to understand, but Rolovich’s last season here in 2011 had an offense that was 0.9 yards per pass play worse than average and his offenses at Nevada in 2014 and 2015 were 1.2 yppp worse than average and 1.1 yppp worse than average, respectively. That’s about the level of passing I project for this Hawaii team, which is actually a significant improvement over the previous 2 seasons. The rushing attack looks to be in good shape with Paul Harris returning (1132 yards at 5.7 ypr in ’15) and junior Diocemy Saint Juste (5.1 ypr in 2014) back after missing last season. Overall, the Hawaii offense is certainly going to be better but that unit still projects at 0.5 yards per play worse than average – although there is a possibility of upside variance in that projection.

Hawaii’s defense wasn’t horrible last season (0.4 yppl worse than average) but the loss of star players LB Julian Gener (leading tackler and 13 total tackles for loss), DE Kennedy Tulimasealii (18.5 TFL) and star CB Nick Nelson (15 passes defended), who transferred to Wisconsin, will likely result in a significant drop in level of play this season on the stop side of the ball.

Cal is projected to average 7.6 yards per play in this game, which should result in more than 40 points. However, my ratings project a decent 5.5 yards per play for Hawaii in this game and overall the ratings favor the Golden Bears by just 18 ½ points with a total of 71 points. There is a lot of variance in that projection, however, as Hawaii has a new coaching staff. Still, I think the Rainbow Warriors have more potential upside variance (especially on offense) and I do see a high scoring game. I’m not playing this game but I’ll favor the Over (63).

  • Team Stats
  • Game Log
  • Hawaii
  • California


  • Run Plays 30.0 50.3
  • Run Yards 121.3 249.3
  • YPRP 4.6 5.2


  • Pass Comp 15.4 17.1
  • Pass Att 33.2 27.8
  • Comp % 46.5% 61.4%
  • Pass Yards 185.8 206.5
  • Sacks 2.4 2.0
  • Sack Yards 16.9 11.9
  • Sack % 6.8% 6.7%
  • Pass Plays 35.6 29.8
  • Net Pass Yards 168.8 194.6
  • YPPP 4.7 6.5


  • Total Plays 65.6 80.1
  • Total Yards 307.0 455.8
  • YPPL 4.7 5.7


  • Int 1.8 0.3
  • Int % 5.3% 0.9%
  • Fumbles 1.0 0.6
  • Turnovers 2.8 0.8
  • Points 17.6 35.6
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