Arizona Football Record Prediction: Will the Wildcats Go Bowling?
Cover photo: Arizona football head coach Jedd Fisch talks to the team after a preseason practice.
Cover photo credit: Arizona Athletics
Probably not, but that's ok. There are plenty of other scenarios that can make the 2022 football season a successful one for Arizona. Arizona was 1-11 last season, so they can really only go up from there. I would say that one or two wins would not indicate a successful season, but any more than that and you definitely have a good case that the team is moving in the right direction.
I think that they will win more than that, and below, I will breakdown every game and tell you if I think Arizona is going to win or lose, and then explain why I think so.
Week 1: @ San Diego State - W
Hear me out. I understand that the Aztecs dominated the Wildcats in their meeting last season, but this is an Arizona team that has improved significantly and a San Diego State team that has lost a lot of key contributors. I definitely think that this game will be close, and ultimately, it could really go either way, but I do think that Arizona's infusion of offensive talent will be too much for San Diego State. It will be close, but I say that Arizona will ruin the new Snapdragon Stadium's inaugural game by getting the win over the home team.
Week 2: vs. Mississippi State - L
Unlike last season, I don't think the Wildcats' offense will be the problem. I'm not saying that I think their defense will be bad, I'm just saying that with the infusion of talent Arizona's offense has gotten, the stronger group will be the one with the ball. I think that Arizona's defense will be average, with some position groups lacking serious depth. We also know almost nothing about what the defensive play calling will look like, so that does not add to my confidence in Arizona's defense.
The reason I'm bringing that all up now is because I think that the safeties group will be an area of concern for Arizona, and when playing an air raid system like the one ran at Mississippi State, that is not an ideal situation. Much like the San Diego State game, I think that it will be close and could go either way, but ultimately, I think that the Bulldogs' high-flying offense will be too much for the Wildcats' defense.
Week 3: vs. North Dakota State - L
This is hard to write. Arizona losing their first two home games will definitely affect fan support and team morale, but I cannot ignore North Dakota State's history of success, not only against FCS opponents, but against FBS opponents as well. The Bison have not lost against an FBS opponent since 2009, and have won eleven FCS national championships in that same time period.
Like their first two games, I think this game will be close, but I think that the defending FCS national champions will win this one.
Week 4: @ Cal - W
Arizona's nonconference schedule is one of the hardest in the country, so the arrival of their conference schedule will be a welcome relief. This is especially true this season, as they open up their conference schedule against a Cal team who gave Arizona their only win of the 2021 season. Cal does not seem to have improved, and quite honestly, they seem like one of several rudderless programs in the conference. I think that Arizona will double their win total from last season in week 4 and take down the Golden Bears in Berkeley.
Week 5: vs. Colorado - W
And just like that, Arizona has a winning record and is undefeated in conference play. I think that Colorado will be the worst team in the PAC-12, so my hope is that Arizona wins this one pretty easily. The talent disparity, plus the homefield advantage, should be enough to get Arizona the victory in this game.
Week 6: vs. Oregon - L
Loss, but barely. Oregon is clearly the better team, but for some reason, there is a history of weird things happening when the Ducks comes to play the Wildcats in Tucson. Oregon will also be under new leadership following a disappointing 2021 campaign, so keep an eye on this game as a possible upset. Still, to be safe, I will put this game down as a loss for Arizona.
Week 7: @ Washington - L
Arizona is simply too early in their rebuild for me to givem them wins in games that I think could go either way. Washington was not good last season and they will have a new coach and new quarterback this season, but I still have too many bad memories from Arizona's 1-11 2021 season for me to give them this game. I think it will be close, but I'm going to play it safe and say the Wildcats lose to the Huskies in Seattle.
Week 8: Bye week
Me and my homies hate the bye week.
Week 9: vs. USC - L
Even though USC will have all new everything, the firepower that it seems like they will have will not only be too much for Arizona, but I think that it will also be too most of the other teams they will face. This is the only game of the season that I'm concerned could be a bloodbath.
Week 10: @ Utah - L
Arizona kept it surprisingly close in their game against the Utes last season, but I don't think that that will lead to a win for Arizona this season. I predict that Utah will repeat as the PAC-12 champs this season, so it shouldn't come as a surprise that I think that Arizona won't be able to win this game.
Week 11: @ UCLA - L
This another hard one for me. I don't see any reason why UCLA will be scary this season. They are a team that always seems to underperform, nothing Chip Kelly can do is a surprise, and the fact that this game is a home game for UCLA shouldn't scare anyone - the gameday atmosphere at the Rose Bowl is, in a word, disappointing. With that all being said, I can't give Arizona a win here for the same reason I can't give them one in the Washington game. There are simply too many unknowns and too many bad memories.
Week 12: vs. Washington State - W
Arizona will break their five-game losing streak at home against the Cougars in week 12. I don't trust Washington State's head coaching hire, as it is very rare that right guy for the job was already in the room. They also don't have a lot of talent, as recruiting to Pullman is a historically very difficult task. I also think that Arizona will have a good home field advantage and that Arizona's starting quarterback, Jayden de Laura, will be juiced to play against his former team. This game will be important to win, as the team needs to have good morale going into their game against Arizona State.
Week 13: vs. Arizona State - W
Arizona will break their five game losing streak to bASUra this season in front of the home crowd in Tucson. The NCAA's investigation into ASU recruiting violations has gutted a program that had high hopes only a year ago. Since then, ASU has lost top players to the transfer portal, talented coaches to resignation, and will have to go into this season with a head coach that no one seems to like or respect and has proven his incompetence at every opportunity. I think that Arizona and ASU will actually have similar seasons record-wise, but between the home-field advantage, as well as the overall direction of the two programs, I think that Arizona will win this game and bring the Territorial Cup back to where it belongs, to the campus of the state of Arizona's flagship public university.
So, there you have it. I predict that Arizona will be one game short of a bowl-game birth, and with all the questionable games this season, I think that a 6-6 record is well-within reach. With that said, there are still too many unknowns, so I refuse to get my hopes up for any kind of Arizona football post-season action. I think 6-6 is the team's ceiling, with 4-8 being the team's floor. Therefore, it should come as no surprise that I think 5-7 is the number. I'm not sure where the five wins will come, but there are many different ways they could get to that number.
None of that really matters though. What really matters is that college football is back, and I for one could not be more excited.
Come back next week for a record prediction for the Arizona Cardinals.