It isn’t just the fanbase that was quick to jump off the Arizona Wildcats bandwagon. The same goes for various rankings, both human and computer-generated.
Not surprisingly, Arizona is nowhere to be found in the latest Associated Press and USA Today rankings after receiving votes in the preseason versions of each poll. But much more shocking is how far the Wildcats fell in SB Nation’s S&P+ rankings, which measures not just past performance but predicts future results.
Arizona fell 40 spots, from 32nd to 72nd, after losing 28-23 at home to BYU (which moved up 28 spots to 48th). That drop was the third-largest behind Florida Atlantic (down 57 spots) and Louisville (down 52).
Bill Connelly, who created the S&P+ ranking system, said the Wildcats “forfeited their biggest strength by keeping quarterback Khalil Tate in the pocket.” As a result they were “manhandled” in various advanced statistical categories such as success rate, points per scoring opportunity and average field position.
“That’s a good recipe for an upset loss,” Connelly wrote. “Maybe have your best player play like your best player now.”