How good (or bad) will the Arizona Wildcats be this fall in Kevin Sumlin’s second year in charge? Good enough to maybe make a bowl game, it seems, based on where Athlon Sports ranked them in their projection of how all 130 FBS teams will perform in 2019.
Athlon pegged Arizona as the 46th-best team in the country, a ranking they note is meant to show “where we project teams to finish after the national championship in January.”
Here’s what Athlon had to say about Arizona:
In order to rebound from a disappointing 5-7 season in Kevin Sumlin’s debut, the Wildcats need a healthy (and dynamic) year out of quarterback Khalil Tate. He’s joined by standout running back J.J. Taylor, but new playmakers must be found at receiver. Arizona’s defense also needs to take a step forward after giving up 32.6 points a game in 2018. A challenging schedule – at Hawaii, Texas Tech, Utah, Washington, at USC, at Stanford, at Oregon – means a bowl game isn’t certain.
The No. 46 ranking is ninth-best among Pac-12 teams, ahead of only Oregon State (95th), Colorado (69th) and California (57th). Just ahead of the Wildcats are a trio of league foes in Arizona State (45th), USC (43rd) and UCLA (42nd).
The Athlon projection is slightly better than the one by SB Nation’s Bill Connelly, who has Arizona ranked 52nd
Arizona finished 58th in the S&P+ ratings last season.