The college football season starts this Friday, with Cal playing Hawaii in Sydney, Australia. It will be the first college football game played in Australia since 1987, and with the Aussies busy with rugby and cricket, they’re not much of a football country. Cal offensive lineman Aaron Cochran and kicker Matt Anderson went on a talk show and had to politely tell the host that college football was in fact not bigger than the NFL.
The San Francisco Chronicle spoke to Cal’s equipment manager Dan Matthiesen—who is the youngest equipment manager in major college football at 27—about the logistical challenges, and as you’d expect, there are plenty. The Bears are hauling 272 people and 15,896 pounds of gear with them.
Because Australia doesn’t have much of a football culture to speak of, none of Cal’s potential practice fields had goalposts. Matthiesen had to figure out a way to bring them himself:
So Matthiesen and his team of interns recorded themselves assembling goalposts, which they then broke apart and put on a freighter. Three weeks later, after the package arrived in Sydney Harbour in mid-June, New South Wales’ American football club had the first goalposts in its 15-year history.
Among the group who made the trip, Cal alum Marshawn Lynch showed up.
The Chronicle reports that Cal officials told Australian caterers not to provide the apparent Australian specialty of lamb medallions, which sounds like a mistake to me. Other than goal post trouble and confusion about the NFL, the only cultural mixup seems to have been mostly accent-based.