The Arizona Wildcats (3-1, 1-0) will look to extend their winning streak to four games on Saturday, when they travel to Boulder to face the Colorado Buffaloes (3-1, 1-0) with first place in the Pac-12 South on the line.
Kickoff is set for 1:30 p.m. MST on the Pac-12 Network, and here are some things to watch for. Below are our score predictions. Be sure to leave yours in the comment section below.
Brian J. Pedersen — Colorado wins 31-27
Folsom Field is the only grass field Arizona has won on since 2012, and it has done so three times. The last time, it took Khalil Tate setting an FBS quarterback rushing record for the Wildcats to come out on top, and since then they’ve only won twice away from home (and just once under Kevin Sumlin). This prediction is under the assumption that Tate either doesn’t play or can’t be as effective (read: mobile) as needed, so Grant Gunnell gets most of the snaps. And as good as he looked in his first start, that was at home and with all conditions in his favor. The road is a much different environment.
Adam Green — Colorado wins 42-27
I’ve had a good time picking Arizona to win each of the last three weeks and an even better time being right about it. However, I should note that other than NAU, the reason I picked Arizona to win those games was not because they had more talent, but instead because they were at home.
That’s why this week is tough for me. Arizona won just one game away from home last season, against Oregon State, and besides the loss to UCLA none of the road efforts were even close to competitive. That said, Colorado State isn’t a great football team, which means they shouldn’t run the Cats out of the building.
Arizona’s QB situation makes this impossible to predict, and if Khalil Tate plays the Wildcats could certainly win this game. I’m going to assume the dual-threat QB will sit this one out, and while I’d expect Grant Gunnell to be even better this week, the improvement in opponent will be just too much to overcome.
Gabe Encinas — Colorado wins 27-24
I think the road factor is just a little too much for this unit to overcome. Noel Mazzone and Marcel Yates have been calling terrific games through Arizona’s Power Five wins this season. But whether we get a healthy Khalil Tate, or even better, Grant Gunnell making his second career start, I don’t know if the offense can grind out another win against a defense that has a week to prepare for an offense tailored for Gunnell.
Defense will keep this game close, and I get a feeling it’ll be another back and forth game like the last two, but I’m thinking Colorado squeaks this one out at home.
Christian Mortensen— Arizona wins 24-21
Everyone has picked Colorado to win so far, and to do so is understandable.
The Wildcats haven’t been good away from home in the Sumlin Era and the potential abscence of Tate and Taylor makes it even harder to see Arizona getting a win in Boulder.
Once again though, I’m going to pick the UA against my better judgement.
It worked out for me against Texas Tech, when I said the Cats would deliver their best defensive performance of the season to that point, and again against UCLA when I said Marcel Yates’ unit was going to prove the TTU performance wasn’t a fluke.
This time, I’m going to say that Sumlin and company will get the marquee road victory of his tenure so far, to move Arizona to 4-1 and into sole possession of first place in the Pac-12 South — potential injuries to Tate and Taylor be damned.
Ronnie Stoffle — Arizona wins 31-20
I’m making this prediction based on the assumption that Khalil Tate will play. He has destroyed Colorado’s defense the last two seasons and the Buffaloes don’t appear to be much improved.
UA’s defense has put together back to back games of holding opponents under 20 points and if you include their first half performance against NAU, there might actually be something here. What worries me is Steven Montez is a quarterback and has solid weapons at receiver.
If Grant Gunnell plays because Tate isn’t healthy, that changes things for the offense. This puts more pressure on the defense and in order to win, we would have to see something like we saw against UCLA. Fingers crossed Tate is a go.
Ryan Kelapire — Colorado wins 34-28
This game is so tough to predict because of the uncertainty at quarterback, but Arizona’s recent showings on the road tend to make me believe they will fall short in this one. I can see Steven Montez having a big game if the Wildcats fail to rush the passer.
The Buffaloes are the best team the Wildcats have faced to this point, so it will definitely be a good measuring stick to see if their three-game winning streak is more the product of improved play or an easy schedule.