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Final Arizona football record predictions

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arizona-wildcats-college-football-2020-record-predictions-pac12-preseason-analysis Photo by Kevin Abele/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

The Arizona Wildcats are less than a week away from finally returning to action, their shortened 2020 season set to begin on Saturday at Utah.

With preseason practice in the books, has anything changed in our staff’s minds when it comes to Arizona’s record? Check out their responses, and make sure to make your own predictions in the comments section.

Ryan Kelapire — 2-4

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

I still think Arizona will go 2-4 in the six games we know of, but I do feel a little better about the team coming out of fall camp. That’s mainly because of the offense. We learned that wide receivers Jamarye Joiner and Boobie Curry are healthy after playing through injury and Grant Gunnell, by all accounts, has taken some major steps forward. But unless the defense and special teams improve drastically—which is hard to see because the personnel is worse than last year—I don’t see how this team can finish .500 or better.

Brian J. Pedersen — 2-4

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

Sticking with the same record as before practice began, mostly because we didn’t get to see enough to notice anything that would change opinions one way or the other. If anything, the two wins I’ve predicted seem more likely, since UCLA looks to be having some issues while Colorado is starting a converted safety at quarterback.

One caveat: if Utah is unable to host the opener due to the state’s COVID-19 search—this is a distinct possibility—Arizona could capitalize on this late change and pull off an upset.

Ronnie Stoffle — 1-5

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

This is really difficult to put in writing but I can’t see better than a 1-5 regular season. In fact, I might be giving this situation the benefit of the doubt with one regular season win. I think UCLA could be an opportunity for victory before Colorado. But then I realize Colorado isn’t even a sure-fire victory.

There is the element of surprise of even under preparation for the opponent. This is very much a scenario where the practice leading up to the season is not a level playing field. The point is this season is so unfair from a preparation perspective. There will be no tune-up games for anyone and some of the conference is really behind in terms of practice.

Focusing on Arizona, they lost arguably their two best defensive players due to the delayed start. Not to mention wide receiver Brenden Schooler who would have been an amazing addition on offensive for the young Grant Gunnell.

I stand by the idea that this offense is not 0-6 bad. However, the defense might be. In order to even sniff a .500 record before week seven, there will be an insane amount of pressure of Gunnell to keep things afloat and I just can’t see it happening.

In the event Arizona beats Colorado on December 5, the second win seems (perhaps) not too far fetched when considering Arizona would be paired with with the 5th or 6th place team from the North in the final weekend.

My advice to Arizona fans: be thankful for what you have and that is Gunnell will not technically lose a year of eligibility and we should have plenty of afternoon games.

Brandon Combs — 3-3

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

This is going to be an interesting year, no doubt. In my opinion, it’s a little difficult to accurately predict this season but we are giving it a go.

I do believe that the first three games of the season are going to be the toughest, with USC being the toughest. For me, Washington is more of an unknown at this point. They had a “down” season last year, however, they also had a decent amount of turnover. The Huskies do have a very talented group of receivers, so that will boost their offense.

Utah is going to be interesting. I can honestly see this game going either way. The Utes have also had a ton of turnover on both sides of the ball, and as of now, I’m not sure how their depth is. Couple that with the possibility the game could move to Tucson and you have a recipe for possible success for the Cats.

In short, I don’t believe UCLA and Colorado will be better than Arizona. As for the T-Cup, having it in Tucson should give Arizona a boost over ASU.

Yes, Arizona’s defense is a huge question mark. The offense, however, is a different story and should be potent.

Adam Green — 3-3

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

Last month we were tasked with providing our initial thoughts on the team’s record and I was the only member of the staff to have Arizona winning three games. Optimistic? Absolutely, but I think there is some reason to be.

In a season that is sure to be interesting (will Arizona even get to play all 6+1 games?), Arizona comes in with an offense that should have little trouble scoring points. The camp reviews of Grant Gunnell have been overwhelmingly positive, and with the team’s stable of skill position players on that side of the ball they figure to be able to keep up in most games.

The defense is a huge question mark, as usual, though the line might be surprisingly solid. If that’s the case, with grad transfers Aaron Blackwell and Roy Lopez leading the group, that side of the ball may not be a lost cause after all.

Now, am I confident in the schedule I just posted above? Not at all. Expecting Arizona to win three straight games after starting the season with three straight losses (which would make for 10 in a row dating back to last season) is a tall order, though that’s just how the schedulemakers set things up.

Maybe the Cats pull the Week 1 upset over a Utah team in transition. Though two-touchdown underdogs, it wouldn’t be the most surprising thing to happen. But as a conservative optimist, getting the Cats to three wins means picking them to beat the teams they will either be favored to beat or expected to be competitive against. So, since they’re better than Colorado and no worse than UCLA, those games must represent two of them. And if Arizona does win those games then a Territorial Cup matchup against ASU will be there for the taking.

Christian Mortensen — 3-3

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

I had initially pegged Arizona to go 2-4 this year, with their two dubs coming at home to end the season against Colorado and ASU — but screw it, I’m going to change course and pick the Cats to go 3-3 after going up to Salt Lake City and beating the Utes to open the 2020 campaign.

My reasoning is simple: Utah isn’t going to be as good as last year, and while games against USC, Washington and UCLA all figure to be losses, something is telling me that this Wildcats team is going to surprise some people.

A 2-3 record going into the ASU game would make that easily the biggest game of Sumlin’s tenure in Tucson.

Win that one and get to .500 and fans will be happy after a “good season”.

Lose it and there will be legitimate calls for a coaching change after three straight losing seasons.