NCAA College Football is here, with only two sleeps remaining before the start of the 2016 season. This hard hitting, high scoring, high octane sporting product comes to Sydney, with the University of California Golden Bears and the University of Hawaii Rainbow Warriors facing off at ANZ Stadium this Saturday August 27 at 12pm, the first American Football game seen in Australia since 1999.
The level of potential talent on display is exciting for fans of the sport, illustrated by California Golden Bears 2015 Quarterback Jared Goff being taken as the number one overall pick in the 2016 NFL draft.
With the likes of Jarryd Hayne breaking into the NFL last season and many talented kickers and punters currently playing in the USA, the game will hopefully raise the profile of the sport in this country.
Speaking with media Thursday at his sides walk through training session, Head coach Sonny Dykes said that his team is excited to be here, and eluded to the type of offense the Bears will be bringing to ANZ Stadium.
“They (the players) have been really excited about this entire trip. When all of this came together, just the excitement with them over the summer, our guys have been talking about it really since March and April.
“To play in front of Australian fans and to have an opportunity to get to know the culture, it’s a once in a lifetime experience. Everything has been first class, the Australian people have been just amazing and I know our guys have had an experience they will never forget.” He continued.
“I think both teams will play an exciting brand of football, throw the ball around, creative, try to play fast, we’re an up tempo offense, so I think it’s going to be an exciting brand of football. It should be good blend of a powerful game but also a game of speed.”
For Australian fans that may be unfamiliar with the stars of Cal’s roster, Coach Dykes offered up three names to look out for on Saturday.
“I think Davis Webb (QB #7), he’s excited to play, he’s a transfer and it will be his first start for us. He’s a kid that has a lot of talent and we’re anxious to see how he plays.
“Defensively I think it’s going to be fun to watch Devante Downs, a linebacker for us that’s really starting to come into his own. He plays middle linebacker for us, he’s number one (jersey), won’t be a hard guy to spot, big, athletic guy that runs around well and is really starting to develop into a really good football player.
“Another offensive player is probably Chad Hansen, number 6, he’s a wide receiver for us, he’s going to play on the outside. He’s a kid that runs well, has a little bit of experience and has made some plays, but as always this game will be won and lost in the trenches, the defensive and offensive lines.”
Davis Webb, starting Quarterback for the Cal Golden Bears also greeted the media, sharing what he brings to the table as a player.
“First I think I’m a competitor, I’m very passionate about this sport and I want to see my teammates enjoy success, so I’m going to be very passionate, very emotional on Saturday and hopefully I throw the ball pretty well.”
With a large contingent of the crowd on Saturday still unsure about which team to support, flashy running back Vic Enwere gave a few pointers as to why he thinks fans should jump on board the Golden Bears bandwagon.
“We plan to give them (fans) a great show, to give them a lot of passion and excitement, so if they want to be on the edge of their seats, knowing how great aussie fans are when it comes to sports, I think they’ll have a great time watching us play.”
If you’re heading to the game or contemplating going, I urge you to have a small salad for dinner on Friday and save your appetite for game day. Nathans hot dogs, Pretzels, Candy floss, two-foot long hotdogs and much more will be available at food outlets inside ANZ Stadium, giving fans a true American sporting experience.
Tickets still available but be quick, they won’t last long. Gates open at 10:30am with food and beverage available in the Homebush precinct pre game, before the main game kicks off at 12pm, a great day to be had by all.