Cal Athletics then released quite the hype-building announcement, which provided a lengthy description of Goff's high school career. There was nothing quiet about the news, and there will be nothing quiet about the Golden Bears heading into their season opener against Northwestern.
NU feels like the clear favorite: they're the experienced team traveling to a difficult environment. But most notably, Cal has nothing to lose. In his first year, Dykes inherits a team widely expected to finish near the bottom of Pac-12 standings.
With his true freshman starting quarterback in place, Dykes will employ his signature Air Raid against a solid but imperfect NU secondary. Presumed starters Nick VanHoose and Daniel Jones need to figure out Goff–a four-star 2013 recruit–and his receiving corps. It's not an easy task.
Ryan Gorcey of Scout.com's California site raved about Goff's composure—which likely vaulted him into the starter's role.
"Vulcans show more emotion than Jared Goff," Gorcey said.
The challenge certainly extends beyond the starting cornerbacks. NU might lean on some relative newcomers like Dwight White to deal with Cal's wideout-heavy sets. After White and C.J. Bryant, it should be interesting to see how the depth chart aligns.
NU looks capable of handling those week one challenges. It's determined much of their preparation, as they gear up for night practices leading into the night game. This schedule seems awfully undesirable for a team looking to outdo last year's 10-win season.
They know what they're dealing with at this point. Goff might be wide-eyed and labor through his first college game, or he could show up and surprise the Wildcats defense. The outcome of this matchup will obviously play a large role in determining the outcome of the game. If Goff is ready, NU needs to halt the freshman's momentum.