Will this be the week Arizona finally snaps its historic 13-game losing streak? The oddsmakers think so, listing the Wildcats as slight favorites for their home opener against San Diego State on Saturday.
Do our staff members agree? They made their score predictions. Be sure to leave yours in the comment section below.
Brian J. Pedersen — Arizona wins 16-14
Is the long (Wildcat) national nightmare about to be over? Based on the Week 1 results and the oddsmakers, it’s hard to think this isn’t the time that Arizona finally gets back in the win column.
Then again, basing so much off one game is foolish. After all, Arizona nearly beat USC to open the 2020 season, and a week later it trailed 37-0 at Washington.
Still, the promise shown against BYU is more than enough to make a win in the home opener feasible. San Diego State has traditionally been a nightmare for Pac-12 schools, but that was under Rocky Long and the jury is still out on Brady Hoke’s second go-around with the Aztecs.
Gabe Encinas — Arizona wins 27-21
I believe in the staff and think they can clean up the mistakes from week one and get ready for week two. I would like to think Arizona Stadium brings a slight home-field advantage, where I’d be a lot more nervous if this game was in San Diego.
Quarterback play has to improve. Throws need to be made sooner and the pass rush needs to be detected earlier too. I think Drake Anderson needs to be getting more touches as well.
Defensively I think Brown will make the right adjustments necessary to keep the offense in the game. Get Jaydin Young more reps.
This is a bad SDSU team that looked bad against a bad New Mexico State team. If Arizona doesn’t pull this one out we’re in trouble. It’ll be a close game but Arizona gets the job done and finally breaks the streak.
Adam Green — Arizona wins 31-20
Wait, what did I predict as the score? I kinda blacked out while typing and woah, I have Arizona winning? Crazy.
But not really.
One of the lesser-discussed details of Arizona’s losing streak is that the Cats were underdogs in all but one of the games, the home loss to Oregon State. Looking at it through that lens does not make the 13 consecutive defeats any easier to stomach, but it does make it slightly easier to explain.
At the time of this prediction, Arizona is favored to beat San Diego State. I don’t know much about the Aztecs, but I have to think if the people who make the lines think the Wildcats will win, Saturday’s opponent can’t be too good.
The question is how good or, really, how much better Arizona is. The Cats put forth a solid effort against BYU last weekend featuring plenty of things that, hopefully, can be repeated. As long as the Wildcats play a relatively clean game I expect them to turn the yards into points, with enough being scored to win relatively comfortably.
Kim Doss — Arizona wins 21-17
Going into the season, I expected this to be a loss for Arizona. San Diego State hasn’t had a losing season since 2009. They have gone 4-8 against the Pac-12 over that period with three of those wins occurring since 2016. Based on last week, these Aztecs don’t look like the teams that have beaten California, ASU and UCLA in the past few years.
I don’t expect either team to score a lot. I definitely don’t expect Arizona to rely on field goal kicking. The Wildcats should score at least one more touchdown than they did last week especially if the Arizona QBs have their eyes out for the tight ends.
SDSU quarterback Jordon Brookshire hasn’t put up a lot of yardage through the air since he arrived from the JuCo ranks, so the Aztecs will rely on the run from him and Greg Bell. I don’t think that will be enough for them to overcome the motivated Wildcats.
Ryan Kelapire — Arizona wins 24-20
Part of me wants to be the contrarian here and pick San Diego State, but I think Arizona pulls it out. They need to. They were playing with house money against BYU in Vegas, but there’s a lot more on the line in the home opener. Fair or not, for some people this will be Fisch’s shot to impress them and want them coming back to Arizona Stadium for more.
That said, I don’t expect this to be a pretty game by any means. Both teams have issues at the quarterback position and have aggressive defenses. That could be a dangerous pairing. SDSU’s running game and pass rush could exploit two of Arizona’s biggest weaknesses, but I’m not sure that matters if Brookshire is only going complete one-third of his passes like he did last week against a bad New Mexico State team.
In the end, I think these teams are fairly even, but I give the edge to Arizona simply because they are at home and should have an electric atmosphere to break in the Jedd Fisch era.
Ronnie Stoffle — Arizona wins 31-14
Arizona gave me just about everything I wanted to see to pick them to win. What I didn’t expect was for SDSU to be shut out in the first half at home against New Mexico State.
For those of you who haven’t been following NM State over the years, here’s a quick summary. They are technically an FBS school but operate as an independent in football.
Since the beginning of 2018, they are 6-22 with wins over UTEP (2018), Liberty (pre-Hugh Freeze; 2018), Alcorn State (2018), Incarnate Word (2019), UTEP (2019) and Dixie State (2020). They have also played and lost to three Power Five schools over that time (Minnesota 2018, Washington State 2019, Alabama 2019) with an average margin of defeat of 47 points.
NM State has been one of the absolute worst performing teams in the FBS over that time. I understand Arizona is riding a 13-game losing streak and is 9-21 over the same period. However, the Wildcats have played a much more difficult schedule and have seven wins over Power 5 teams.
It could have been first game jitters for SDSU as they clearly corrected course in the second half by scoring 28 unanswered points to cruise to victory. I’m just really pleased with what I saw from Arizona last week. They are coached very well and I think there’s going to be some serious energy in the stadium for this matchup.
I expect it to be relatively close for the first half but I think the Aztecs will overall struggle with finding rhythm offensively. If Arizona plays another solid game in terms of penalties and giveaways, they will ride their running game to a convincing win and end the longest active losing streak in the FBS.