The Wildcats are underdogs, but will they be able to stave off the Cougars at home? Our staff made their predictions and be sure to make yours in the comment section below.
Ryan Kelapire — Houston wins 31-21
I don’t trust Arizona’s defense to get enough stops and I don’t trust the passing game to be able to keep Houston’s defense honest. Plus, Nick Wilson could be out and the Cougars’ defense is good against the run, so depending on Arizona’s running game to generate enough offense to win is a gamble.
Christopher Boan — Houston wins 38-24
I just don’t see any way that Arizona’s anemic passing attack can keep the front eight of Houston guessing. I expect the Cougars to march down the field with relative ease, given how sloppy the Cats’ tackling and pass coverage were against NAU, and don’t see a way that their rushing attack — especially if Nick Wilson misses the game — can keep them in the game. I expect it to be a close game through the first half, but can’t see Arizona hanging in there for four quarters, barring some sort of passing game renaissance.
Jason Bartel — Arizona wins 44-38
Houston has too much uncertainty for me to think they’ll go on the road and win this game. Not only is it their first game, but they have a new head coach, new quarterback, and only about 50 percent of their production on both sides of the ball back. That program won’t be able to sustain the success of the last two years, and this is the beginning of that.
Gabe Encinas — Houston wins 27-21
This is a hard one, but I don’t think Arizona comes away with this one. I just can’t trust the offense enough, especially with the offense being so one dimensional right now. That, along with Arizona’s young defense just makes me think that Arizona is fighting uphill.
I do think Houston has an interesting quarterback situation themselves, but I feel like Kyle Allen will step up, and the defensive front will just be too much.
Alec Sills-Trausch — Arizona wins 31-30
If you can't tell by the score, I think UA barely wins this — like 50.10%-49.90%. If it weren't for all the disruption the Cougars have had, I’d pick them to win but I feel they haven't had a good opportunity to prepare for this game in the way they would want and it'll likely show.
Mike C. Paulus — Houston wins 28-10
Houston will be inspired to give good vibes to the suffering fans back home. Arizona will discover that the running game won’t come as easily against the Cougars as it did against NAU, and that completing a pass will be as unlikely as a hurricane in Tucson.
Brandon Combs — Arizona wins 41-31
Arizona has a game under their belt and that is a plus, especially for the young defense. Part of the defense’s problem last week was hesitation and not much confidence in themselves. I think that is rectified this week.
I don’t think the full offensive playbook, or even half of it for that matter, was opened against NAU. More of the book will be used and that’ll just benefit this offense.