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Early 2021 Arizona football record predictions

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NCAA Football: Oregon State at Arizona Casey Sapio-USA TODAY Sports

The Arizona Wildcats began fall camp on Friday, officially kicking off Jedd Fisch’s first season as head coach.

While Fisch has injected a lot of energy into the program locally, the Wildcats—who have lost 12 games in a row dating back to 2019—were still picked to finish last in the Pac-12 in the preseason media poll.

How do we think the 2021 season will go? Our staff made some early record predictions. Be sure to submit yours in the comment section below. (We will make some more after fall camp).

Ryan Kelapire — 4-8

  • vs. BYU (in Las Vegas) — L
  • vs. San Diego State — W
  • vs NAU — W
  • at Oregon — L
  • vs. UCLA — W
  • at Colorado — L
  • vs. Washington — L
  • at USC — L
  • vs. California — W
  • vs. Utah — L
  • at Washington State — L
  • at Arizona State — L

What would constitute a successful season to you? At least three wins and no more than one or two blowout losses. The Wildcats need to show improvement and that they are no longer a doormat in the Pac-12. I’m not sure they have bowl game-level talent (yet), but with the right coaching, execution and play-hard attitude, they can be a competitive team that the fan base can rally behind.

What are your keys to pulling off a successful season? If Don Brown’s blitz-heavy defense can cause some chaos and Arizona’s pro-style offense can gradually improve and avoid negative plays, the Wildcats should be able to keep most games close and maybe steal a game or two if some breaks go their way. The schedule doesn’t seem that difficult.

I’m a big believer in the importance of a strong start, so beating BYU and San Diego State would be massive. With a road game at Oregon leading off Arizona’s conference schedule, falling to BYU and SDSU—which is very possible, as both are quality Group of 5 teams—would put the Wildcats in an early hole that could set the tone for Fisch’s first season. On the flip side, a 3-0 start could fuel a surprise run through the Pac-12.

Adam Green — 4-8

  • vs. BYU (in Las Vegas) — L
  • vs. San Diego State — W
  • vs NAU — W
  • at Oregon — L
  • vs. UCLA — W
  • at Colorado — L
  • vs. Washington — L
  • at USC — L
  • vs. California — W
  • vs. Utah — L
  • at Washington State — L
  • at Arizona State — L

What would constitute a successful season to you? It’s not even about wins and losses so much as it is about showing tangible improvement. Is the talent level improved? Is the coaching better? Are the games competitive? If Arizona can answer “yes” to those questions then chances are they’ll steal a few wins, building off the momentum created this offseason toward a better future.

What are your keys to pulling off a successful season? QB play is of course essential, and as of now we don’t know who will be the guy and how well he will play. Besides that, improved coaching and game planning could lead to the talent already on hand performing better than it has in the past.

Kim Doss 4-8

  • vs. BYU (in Las Vegas) — W
  • vs. San Diego State — L
  • vs NAU — W
  • at Oregon — L
  • vs. UCLA — W
  • at Colorado — L
  • vs. Washington — L
  • at USC — L
  • vs. California — W
  • vs. Utah — L
  • at Washington State — L
  • at Arizona State — L

What would constitute a successful season to you? Arizona needs to show improvement from game to game. I want to see a team that’s better in game 12 than it was in its opening game. I am confident that Jedd Fisch and company will be able to keep the team engaged throughout the season in a way that they haven’t been in years.

I am so confident that this team and its staff will be able to improve over the course of the season that I had to talk myself out of predicting a huge upset over Arizona State. At the very least, the Wildcats will be prideful and dedicated enough to make that game competitive after the debacle of last year and perhaps with the help of the Sun Devils being in disarray this season. Showing that kind of heart should be enough to make Arizona fans look forward to 2022.

What are your keys to pulling off a successful season? On the field, the Wildcats must have an effective offensive line—or at least an improved one. With the questions surrounding the quarterback position and the need to have an effective run game to take the heat off the quarterback(s), the line needs to hold its own.

Intangibles are going to be critical this year, as well. Cohesion. Dedication. Focus. A desire to compete.

Arizona is going to have a deficit in the talent column against most opponents for at least a year or two. The Wildcats are going to have to make up for that with all-out effort and a kind of dedication to each other that they didn’t always appear to have last year.

Brian J. Pedersen — 4-8

  • vs. BYU (in Las Vegas) — L
  • vs. San Diego State — W
  • vs NAU — W
  • at Oregon — L
  • vs. UCLA — W
  • at Colorado — L
  • vs. Washington — L
  • at USC — L
  • vs. California — W
  • vs. Utah — L
  • at Washington State — L
  • at Arizona State — L

What would constitute a successful season to you? Just being competitive in most games. Arizona is going to be at a talent disadvantage against nearly every opponent, but if it can avoid falling into big holes and at least having a shot to win in the second half would be a sign of things moving in the right direction.

What are your keys to pulling off a successful season? A defense that can make stops more often than not. The offense is going to take a lot longer to get going, so this team will probably need to win lower-scoring games.

Brandon Combs — 5-7

  • vs. BYU (in Las Vegas) — W
  • vs. San Diego State — W
  • vs NAU — W
  • at Oregon — L
  • vs. UCLA — L
  • at Colorado — W
  • vs. Washington — L
  • at USC — L
  • vs. California — L
  • vs. Utah — L
  • at Washington State — L
  • at Arizona State — W

What would constitute a successful season to you? Obtaining four wins, or at the very least, beating Arizona State. The biggest key to success is showing improvement and being competitive. Arizona was competitive during the USC game last season but that was about it. Now there were a wide array of contributing factors to that, but I honestly believe most of those have been remedied. If UA can show that they are a competitive team, and continue to improve throughout the season, the fan base will be happy.

What are your keys to pulling off a successful season? Starting the Jedd Fisch era with a well-coached game is a great way to pull off the successful season. The last staff made so many head-scratching calls during games that it really sucked the wind out of the sails of any momentum Arizona obtained. The fan base will be paying attention to the decisions made on game day and that can’t be overlooked.

Another key is an improved, aggressive defense. Arizona has lacked an aggressive defense since approximately 2014 when Scooby Wright won every award under the sun, minus the Heisman. I do not feel that’ll be a problem, though, with Dr. Blitz calling the shots.

One final key will be winning against BYU. That’ll set the precedent for the entire season, and get the new era of Arizona Football off on the right foot. It is worth noting that even if UA doesn’t beat the Cougars, if they are competitive and the loss wasn’t the result of poor coaching decisions, the staff should still have the support of the fans.