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Roundtable: What was your reaction to Arizona’s new football schedule?

NCAA Football: Arizona at Arizona State Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

The Arizona Wildcats’ new football schedule was revealed Saturday. Here it is along with our staff’s reaction to it:

  • Nov. 7 at Utah
  • Nov. 14 vs. USC
  • Nov. 21 at Washington
  • Nov. 28 at UCLA
  • Dec. 5 vs. Colorado
  • Dec. 11 (Fri.) vs. ASU
  • Dec. 18-19 TBD

Brandon Combs: This schedule is brutal. No other way to put it. That doesn’t mean Arizona can’t, or won’t be successful. It will be challenging though.

Starting out on the road against Utah is a tough card to draw. Then they have USC at home and then another tough road game with UDub in Seattle. Just a daunting first three games.

The back half of the schedule is a little more favorable for the Cats. Playing UCLA in Westwood isn’t remotely as bad as some might think. Then having Colorado and the T-Cup in Tucson is a great way to finish the year.

I’m very interested to see how Arizona does the first three games of the season. It’ll be tough, but I think that they can find success.

Brian J. Pedersen: The Pac-12 did Arizona no favors with this schedule, but why should it? The Wildcats aren’t one of the league’s marquee programs, like Oregon or USC, and in a season when nothing is normal it’s not surprising at all the lesser teams were disadvantaged.

Getting Washington on the road as its crossover game was only a surprise in that it wasn’t Oregon. Oregon State, Washington State or one of the Bay Area teams would have been preferred, but only Cal was an option among those based on home/road schedule balance.

Being the only Pac-12 team to start with three of four on the road? Maybe that was to avoid the “heat” of November in Tucson? At least it doesn’t have to play in a cold locale in December.

And it’s a good thing fans aren’t being allowed at Pac-12 games, since if that wasn’t the case those final two home games would come after students are expected to be sent home from the dorms following Thanksgiving.

Ronnie Stoffle: Well, I guess third iteration is a charm. Assuming the season starts without a hitch and then completes without a hitch, it’s hard to see Arizona winning more than two games. That might even be generous.

A couple months ago the narrative was the defense will face challenges due to shallow depth at linebacker and safety. Now with the departures of Fields and Schooler, linebacker is in worst shape than we could have possibility imagined.

The Wildcats will still host Colorado at home which is presumably the only game they’d be favored. The schedulers could have thrown Sumlin a break by pairing them with Washington State or Oregon State from the North. Instead, they will play at Washington which will not be pretty.

The most likely scenario for this schedule? Arizona finishes the “regular season” (if you can call it that?) 1-5 with a chance to win a second game in week seven against the fifth or sixth place team from the North. The only positive aspect to this cockamamie season is it will not burn a year of eligibility for Grant Gunnell. Fingers crossed it is a benefit for his development.

Christian Mortensen: My initial reaction to the release of Arizona football’s 2020 schedule? Sheesh.

The Wildcats open their season with three super tough games: at Utah, USC at home and then in Seattle against Washington. And if we are being honest with ourselves, a win over any of those programs would be a surprise for Kevin Sumlin’s team.

After that, things do get a bit easier for the Cats – but still, going to UCLA always seems to be a tough ask for Arizona and home games against Colorado and a hyped-up ASU won’t be anywhere near gimmes either.

For me, the UCLA game in week four will be the biggest game of the season. Win that one and the Wildcats will have momentum going into a season defining home stand against the Buffs and Arizona State. Lose to the Bruins and there is a real good chance Arizona could finish 1-5 or even 0-6.

Ryan Kelapire: I was hoping Arizona would get Oregon State, Washington State or Stanford as its crossover opponent. That would have changed the ceiling of the season quite significantly since those are actually beatable teams. The Wildcats will be heavy underdogs in Seattle.

The layout of Arizona’s schedule sucks too. Barring an upset, they are staring at an 0-3 start. That would be awful for a program that has struggled to generate interest in recent years. You’ll see a lot of fans check out if it happens and the calls for Sumlin’s job will only get louder, even though it might not be financially feasible to make a coaching change right now.

But if they happen to steal one of those first three games, it could be a real turning point for the program. They’d have a chance to finish 2020 strong (possibly with a winning record) and head into 2021 on a real high note.

Overall, I see Arizona winning anywhere from zero to three games not including the seventh game since we don’t know who the opponent will be.

Really, though, the most important thing this season isn’t winning. It’s being competitive and proving that the program is actually heading in the right direction.