Arizona (5-5, 4-3) looks to stay in contention for the Pac-12 South championship, while WSU (9-1, 6-1) hopes to keep its spot atop the Pac-12 North.
The Cougars are 11-point favorites and the over/under is set at 62. Here is what we think will happen. Be sure to leave your predictions in the comment section below.
Brian J. Pedersen – Washington State wins 44-23
There are very few timelines in which it’s feasible that Arizona can win this game, but the fact there are any is a testament to how much the Wildcats have improved over the course of the season. If only that were enough to beat the best team in the Pac-12, on their field, when they have so much to play for.
Could Wazzu be looking ahead to next week’s Apple Cup against Washington? Maybe, but it will be doing that while methodically moving the ball down the field with short passes into the holes that Arizona just isn’t capable of covering. This has all the makings of a game like those at Houston and Utah where the Wildcats could fall down big in a hurry and then have to play catch up with an offense that—while getting better—isn’t equipped to score in bunches against a good defense.
Christopher Boan — Washington State wins 59-21
The Cougars are on track to make it to either the Rose Bowl (for the first time since Mike Price took them there in 2002), or the College Football Playoff, for the first time ever. The Cougars are a marvel of offensive (and defensive) prowess this year, with mustache-aficionado Gardner Minshew II tearing defenses limb-for-limb all season. Arizona’s pass defense has the consistency of cottage cheese, so I’ll give Mike Leach and Minshew the sizable advantage here.
Also, the last time these two met on the Palouse, Arizona got bushwhacked by a 69-7 margin, which was Arizona’s largest defeat since somehow getting pummeled 75-0 by Michigan State in 1949. Expect this one to get rather ugly, given how Arizona ran up the score in last year’s 58-37 victory over Tyler Hilinski (RIP) and company in Tucson a year ago.
Zant Reyez — Washington State wins 45-35
I’m going to take the glass half full approach for this game. I think the ‘Cats will still play with passion and heart like they’ve done since the UCLA game.
I don’t want to see the team just stop caring now. I don’t want to head into the 2019 season with bad losses and a team that quit. I hope the team can give the fans something to be hopeful in. I think at this point fans would rather have a team that play hard and showed signs of improvement heading into next season that a team that played like it did against Utah and Houston.
Brandon Combs — Arizona wins 48-42
This kind of feels like last year’s matchup and I have a strange feeling (in a good way) about this game. Wazzu still has a high-powered offense and a stingy defense, but this time it’s in Pullman.
However, Arizona is coming off two very strong team performances and a bye week. From everything I’ve heard the team is the healthiest it’s been all season. Not to mention the offense has finally started clicking and the defense is playing its best ball all year.
I can’t really explain it, I just have a good feeling about this one. It’ll be tough, but the ‘Cats come out on top.
Ryan Kelapire — Washington State wins 38-21
I think Arizona wins a close one or loses by three or more scores in Pullman. One thing is for sure: it will be a good opportunity to see if the Wildcats are actually much-improved or if their last two wins were the product of playing the right team on the right day.
Washington State’s offense has proven to be a tough matchup for Arizona the last couple years, so the wild card will be Arizona’s offense vs. WSU’s defense.
The Cougars enter with a top-20 defense, but that was true last year too, and the Wildcats had no trouble moving the ball.
Khalil Tate has been great the last two games and should only be healthier after the bye week, so maybe he’ll have another monster game and Arizona will pull off the upset.
But I don’t see it happening. I think Minshew will pick apart UA’s secondary and the WSU defense will put up a more inspiring effort than we saw last season. Playing at home helps.
Gabe Encinas – Washington State wins 38-24
This was a loss from me even prior to the season. I don’t like this road game late in the season in the cold against the most pass heavy offense in the nation.
The worst part about playing Washington State is that you know exactly what they’re going to do every down and they’re still going to find guys open. They’ve also only allowed seven sacks all season.
As much as I’d like to think Arizona is coming off two big wins, they had a bye week to prepare, they’re capable of pulling off a classic November upset, I don’t just know if this team is ready for such a big road game against a shootout team. I don’t think the offense or defense will be able to keep up to ultimately keep it close.