Posted on October 17, 2020
The Wildcats weren’t given any breaks when the Pac-12 released its schedule a week ago. Before I even looked at the schedule, I didn’t believe Arizona would win a lot of games, but having seen it, the Cats will be lucky to get two games in the win column this season.
Week 1: at Utah
Arizona starts the season on the road against the Utes, whom they lost to last season in Tucson by 28 points. Utah had the superior defense, one of many ways in which Utah was—and still is—on a different level than Arizona. The Utes have won nine or more games in five of their last six seasons, one of the best records in the Pac-12.
Final Score Prediction: Utah 35, Arizona 21
Week 2: vs. USC
After that, it doesn’t get any easier as the USC Trojans come to town, which could result in an even bigger blowout than last season, due to the Trojans’ improving roster. According to ESPN’s FPI projections, USC should win 5-6 games this year, a big improvement in a seven-game campaign from their last two disappointing seasons, in which SC won only 13 games combined. I think USC’s offense, led by talented young quarterback Kedon Slovis, will be too much for Arizona’s defense, which lost so many players this offseason.
Final Score Prediction: USC 42, Arizona 17
Week 3: vs. Washington
Next, the Wildcats have two road games at Washington and UCLA. Even last season, when the Huskies had a ‘down’ year, they won eight games, so it will take a miracle performance from the Arizona offense to score on that good defense. Last season at home, the Cats kept it close in the first half, but the Dawgs blew Arizona out in the second, winning by 24 points.
Husky Stadium is a tough place to play, especially in November, when the weather is cold. I believe this will be a low scoring game, with the Huskies prevailing.
Final Score Prediction: Washington 24, Arizona 13
Week 4: at UCLA
UCLA is the one game I think Kevin Sumlin and his team have a real shot of winning. In Chip Kelly’s first two seasons as coach of the Bruins, he has only won seven games. In short, he has underperformed as much as Sumlin. I believe Arizona will squeeze out a win, primarily due to Kelly’s bad late game decision-making, and UCLA’s uncertain quarterback play.
Kelly has lost far more than he’s won over the past four years, whether in the NFL or in college football. I don’t think he will turn it around this season, and the Wildcats offense will easily roll over this Bruins defense.
Final Score Prediction: Arizona 35, UCLA 21
Week 5: vs. Colorado
On a good note, the Wildcats wrap up their short season at home against Colorado and in-state rival Arizona State. Colorado is ranked by many as one of the worst teams in the Conference of Champions as they have logged just one winning season since joining the Pac-12. In their last five meetings, Arizona has beaten the Buffaloes four times and this year they will pick up another victory against them.
ESPN and 247sports have Colorado projected as the worst team in the Pac-12 South. Arizona isn’t much ahead of the Buffaloes in that projection. Therefore, I believe this will be a high-scoring game as both defenses are in a growing phrase right now. It will come down to which offense shines brighter.
Final Score Prediction: Arizona 32, Colorado 28
Week 6: vs ASU
Arizona’s final home opponent of the season is a sleeper team in the ASU Sun Devils. This year, the historic rivalry matchup will not be close, as Arizona State has a much better coach and a good young quarterback.
Normally these matchups are competitive, but lately, Arizona State always seems to come out on top, with the Devils beating the Wildcats in seven of their last 10 meetings. I don’t envision this game being close, even though it’s in Tucson, with home field advantage all but nullified with no fans at any games all year.
Final Score Prediction: ASU 38, Arizona 24
Week 7/Pac-12 Championship
In the seventh week, the teams that aren’t playing for the Pac-12 Championship will be pitted against other division opponents. If Arizona gets matched up with Oregon State or Washington State, I believe the Cats should have a shot, due to the low-tier North teams’ uncertainties on offense. But if Arizona has to play Stanford or even Cal, another loss will result.
—Recent Ryan Wohl Stories—
- Wohl: The Future of Arizona Football is in Grant Gunnell’s Hands
- Wohl: Former Wildcat and Super Bowl MVP Nick Foles Still Living the Dream
- Wohl: Mediocre Football Recruiting Keeping Wildcats from Getting over Hump
Wohl: The Future of Arizona Football is in Grant Gunnell’s HandsIn three starts last season, the former 4-star demonstrated the poise coaches want in a leader - October 21, 2020
Wohl: Game-by-Game Look at Arizona’s 2020 Football Schedule with PredictionsThe Wildcats may not win more than a couple of games in this shortened season - October 17, 2020
Wohl: Former Wildcat and Super Bowl MVP Nick Foles Still Living the DreamThe Bears quarterback showed he still has the magic touch in his comeback win over the Falcons - October 3, 2020