The Arizona Wildcats are in Southern California this weekend to take on the UCLA Bruins.
Both teams are some of the worst in the Pac-12. Arizona enters at 3-4 overall and 2-2 in the conference. UCLA is 1-5 and 1-2, respectively.
However, the Bruins are coming off their first win of the season, a 37-7 drubbing against Cal. Arizona is... well, not coming off a win. The Wildcats were blasted 42-10 by Utah last weekend.
But will Arizona and new starting quarterback Rhett Rodriguez return to winning ways Saturday in the Rose Bowl? Here is what we think. Be sure to leave your predictions in the comment section below.
Christopher Boan — Arizona wins, 38-35
Let’s get weird, Pac-12 After Dark style. This game has the potential to veer off the tracks immediately for each squad, given the inefficiencies on both sides of the ball for each team. I think that Chip Kelly’s Bruins squad is much-improved of late, a la their 30-point shellacking of Cal in Berkeley last Saturday. I still wonder how they’ll fare as favorites, however, and therefore will give RhettRod and the Wildcats a slight edge this week. I am, however, about as confident in this pick as I am that I’ll go out and win Friday’s Mega Millions jackpot, which is to say not at all (unless I win, in which case, see ya suckers)...
Brian J. Pedersen — UCLA wins, 31-17
While Rich Rodriguez likely would have gone with Jamarye Joiner at QB instead of his son, by and large the personnel that will play at UCLA will mostly be ones RichRod would have suited up to play. And since the Rose Bowl was arguably the former coach’s biggest house of horror, expect a similarly disappointing result for this trip to Pasadena.
UA was outscored 128-41 at UCLA under RichRod, part of a tenure-long trend that saw the Wildcats struggle mightily when playing on natural grass. Not counting when Arizona Stadium still had grass in 2012, Arizona went 3-15 on the real stuff under RichRod; and all three wins were at Colorado.
Zant Reyez — UCLA wins 34-21
I think Rhett Rodriguez has an OK game and shows he’s capable of leading the team for as long as they need him to. The defense is still a mess and just when you think they’re getting better, they have an outing like Utah.
For whatever reason, UCLA loves playing and scoring a lot against UA and that’ll be the case Saturday night.
This game might be the last game until ASU where UA is only a slight underdog. If UA and the RhettRod can’t steal one from the Bruins, we may not see another win until next season.
Gabe Encinas — UCLA wins 34-17
Arizona needs to force an early turnover or create a huge special teams play early in order to get out on top and attack on the ground.
I’m all for Rhett Rodriguez starting, I just don’t think the offense could match scores or play from behind to win.
I would be all for Kevin Doyle to see some action, but right now I’m not sure you can complain from the production you got out of Rodriguez with limited reps on a short week in Salt Lake.
Sure, he might not have the size, accuracy or arm strength, but he’s going to make the right reads and do all that he can to keep drive safe going.
Ryan Kelapire — UCLA wins 31-20
One part of me says Arizona will rally around Rodriguez and show the kind of life on offense we have not seen all season and pull out a win in Pasadena.
The other part of me says Rodriguez will look like a quarterback making his first carer start and the defense will continue to struggle, leading to a blowout loss.
Maybe it will be something in between?
Either way, I have UCLA winning this one, all but shattering UA’s hopes of reaching a bowl game.
Brandon Combs — Arizona wins 28-20
There’s no sugar-coating it, Utah was just a terrible game for the ‘Cats. But a bright spot was when Rhett Rodriguez came in and was able to move the ball down the field. And not only that, but he made really smart football plays.
The change in quarterback could be the jolt that the overall team needs to recover from the game in Salt Lake City. And that jolt could lead to an Arizona victory in Pasadena.
It will be an interesting game, but I believe that the defense will be able to create a couple of turnovers and Rodriguez will be able to get the offense rolling enough.