The Arizona Wildcats (4-1, 2-0 Pac-12) will host the Washington Huskies (4-2, 1-2) on Saturday looking to extend their winning streak to five and remain atop the Pac-12 South division.
Despite coming off a loss to Stanford, the Huskies opened as 9.5-point favorites.
Kickoff is set for 8 p.m. MST on FOX Sports 1. Here is what we think will happen. Be sure to leave your predictions in the comment section below.
Ronnie Stoffle — Arizona wins 30-21
The more I think about this game the more I really like Arizona’s chance. They have been playing very well on both sides of the ball over the past two weeks. The offense has been able to exploit the weakness of each of the previous three opponents.
The weakness for Washington’s defense is their rush defense. If Arizona can get their running game going, Washington will have a tough time controlling the clock which will put pressure on Jacob Eason to make big plays. The Wildcats have been successful with takeaways this year and Eason is forced to make big plays, that can feed right into the takeaway game.
Brian J. Pedersen — Washington wins 27-23
The ‘Cats are back, right? Well, to quote everyone’s favorite senile college football expert, ‘not so fast, my friend!’ If you follow Arizona football close enough, you know these are the kind of games it rarely ends up winning.
Coming back home after a four-game win streak, a big crowd is likely at Arizona Stadium. It’s perfect setting for a showcase performance, but recent history shows instead the Wildcats lay an egg. The 2014 team, after shocking Oregon on the road, played in front of 56,000-plus the next week at home against USC ... and lost 28-26; the 2013 squad, after consecutive road wins over Colorado and Cal, were welcomed by 51,000-plus ... only to fall 31-26 to UCLA; and in 2012, Arizona had all the momentum in the world going into the Territorial Cup after winning at Utah ... then gave up 24 unanswered fourth-quarter points in a 41-34 home loss to ASU.
This isn’t a vintage Chris Petersen Washington team, but it doesn’t have to be, not with that kind of history working in its favor.
Scott Moran — Washington wins 31-30
Do you want to know how you can make a reasonable prediction for this game? Pick two numbers between 7 and 70 for each team’s score and then flip a coin to see which team wins. I have absolutely no clue how good either team is at all.
On the one hand, Washington is straight-up more talented, and is easily one of the top three most talented teams Arizona will face this year. Yes, they haven’t looked the part, especially last week in an ugly loss in Palo Alto. That doesn’t mean they don’t have a five-star junior quarterback in Jacob Eason surrounded by the likes of Salvon Ahmed, Aaron Fuller, and Hunter Bryant. The defense is young but entirely full of Chris Petersen recruits, and has two of the best coordinators in the country leading them in Jimmy Lake and Pete Kwiatkowsi.
Arizona, meanwhile, hasn’t lost since August and has won gutsy games in that timespan, but
THEY AIN’T PLAYED NOBODY PAWWWL their schedule in September was lackluster. I am encouraged by a close road win over Colorado and a close home win over Texas Tech, but with one of the harder remaining schedules in the country, those performances won’t keep cutting it. I can feel the momentum behind this program building and the fan hype building even higher, but I’m not sure the Wildcats are nearly as good as Tucson believes.
If Arizona wins, this team is probably headed for 8-4 and a couple of cursory appearances in the AP Poll. If Washington wins, it just means the Wildcats haven’t arrived yet, which is OK...as long as it’s not a blowout and UA still makes a bowl. I’ll pick Washington, but this game is a true tossup that will shed a lot of light on both teams.
Adam Green — Washington wins 31-27
Like everyone else, I have really enjoyed Arizona’s four-game winning streak. To be honest, I actually feel like it’s one of the best, most complete stretches of football we’ve seen from the program in quite some time. As I wrote, a win over Washington would signal, at least to me, that the team has officially arrived and is a legit conference contender.
Unfortunately, I just don’t see it happening.
My pessimism is less about what I think Washington is than what I’m just not ready to say the Wildcats are. Colorado was a great test for the team and that win left me believing with certainty that the team is bowl-bound, but while last week was on the road, this matchup is even tougher.
Washington is bigger than Arizona, and just as fast — if not faster. They are well-coached and coming off a loss, would figure to be quite focused. I know the Huskies don’t traditionally fare well in the Grand Canyon State, and it’s very possible their misfortune in the desert will continue.
I just can’t pick it to happen.
Christian Mortensen — Arizona wins 35-24
So far this season, my picks are 4-1 (I’ve picked the UA to win every week) and in the only game I picked incorrectly, I was the lone person on the site to correctly guess the exact amount of points Arizona scored — 38 in the Hawaii loss.
This is what I keep telling myself as I prepare to pick the Wildcats again against my better judgment.
I like the fact that the Cats (and Khalil Tate in particular) will be full of confidence after a tough road win at Colorado and on the heels of four consecutive victories, and I like the fact that UW’s biggest weakness — running defense — plays into the UA’s biggest offensive strength even more.
The most significant thing to me though is that the Cats will have a near-capacity crowd behind them.
I see Arizona playing off the energy of the fans and cruising to something of a comfortable win against the worst Washington team I’ve seen in years.
Call me a homer if you want.
Brandon Combs — Washington wins 38-35
This is always one of the most interesting opponents for Arizona. Reason one: It’s usually a very fun, unusual game. Reason two: Washington is my wife’s team and Arizona is mine. But that’s not why I’m picking the Huskies to win.
I do believe this is a game the Wildcats can win; I just don’t feel like they will. At the same time I can see this game going the other way with a UA win.
Washington’s offense isn’t going to Arizona away and their defense is going to have their hands full with UA’s offense. The Huskies don’t perform well in the state of Arizona. But I believe Washington’s very talented secondary, alone, will make one more play than Arizona.
I liken it to the last time UW-UA played. That overtime thriller in 2016 was extremely fun to watch, but UW made one more play than the ‘Cats and won the game.
As mentioned above I can see the ‘Cats winning, but I just think Washington will make one more play than UA and that’ll be the deciding factor. Either way, it’s going to be a fun game.
Ryan Kelapire — Washington wins 30-24
I’m with Brian on this one. We have seen this too many times over the years where Arizona looks like it is on the verge of something special, only to see their momentum come to a screeching halt with a crushing loss.
In the end, I think it will come down to which quarterback takes better care of the ball. Both are super talented but also erratic.