One team is riding a four-game losing streak, the other winners of eight in a row. One fired its defensive coordinator in hopes of trying to get a spark, to no avail, while the other is among the best defensive teams in the country.
Put those things together and what do you get? The largest point spread for the Arizona Wildcats as an underdog in 14 years.
Arizona (4-5, 2-4 Pac-12) has opened as a 24-point underdog for its game Saturday night against the Oregon Ducks in Eugene, according to VegasInsider.com. That’s the biggest spread for the Wildcats as a dog since Oct. 8, 2005, when they were 37.5-point dogs at USC (a game they lost 42-21).
Oregon (8-1, 6-0) has won eight straight since a season-opening loss to Auburn. The Ducks are ranked sixth in the latest Associated Press poll and were seventh in the first College Football Playoff rankings.
Arizona has dropped four in a row since a 4-1 start, allowing 189 points during that skid. Last time out the Wildcats fell 56-38 at home to Oregon State, the first game with Chuck Cecil at defensive coordinator following Marcel Yates’ firing.
Oregon is 10th in FBS in scoring defense, allowing 15.8 points per game, and 12th in scoring offense at 38.2 per game.
Arizona has been a dog of 20 or more points 11 times since 2003, winning just once—ironically, it was the 31-24 upset at Oregon in 2014—but covering the spread five times.