As bad as the Arizona Wildcats have looked in person, losing to BYU and Houston, those results are much worse on paper and when run through the computer.
So says SB Nation analyst Bill Connelly’s S&P+ win projections, which after the 0-2 start has Arizona finishing the 2018 season with just 2.1 victories. That compares to 7.7 wins that Connelly’s formula projected prior to the season, when the combination of coach Kevin Sumlin and Heisman Trophy candidate Khalil Tate had many expecting big things from the Wildcats.
That seems like forever ago, doesn’t it?
Arizona’s projected to win just one Pac-12 game—technically 1.3, but you can’t really win part of a game—compared to 5.3 conference wins in the initial projection.
Per Connelly, “only two teams have seen their projections fall by more than 3.8 wins: NMSU (minus-4.3) and Arizona (minus-5.6). They’ve gone from projected South darkhorse to 2-10 being their most likely record. Guh.”
The S&P+ rankings and projections are meant to be predictive ones, determining how current results will impact future ones. It stands to reason that the sample size is quite small at this point, meaning a lot can change, which Connelly explains by noting that Arizona State—whose win projection has risen from 5.1 to 8.2 after a 2-0 start—is very likely to drop with the Sun Devils’ next two games coming at San Diego State and Washington.
For now, though, things aren’t looking very good for Arizona even with its two most-likely wins coming in the next two weeks.