The Arizona Wildcats have clinched bowl eligibility and take a 3-game win streak on the road to face the Colorado Buffaloes.
Colorado (4-5, 1-5 Pac-12) has lost five of six since a 3-0 start, and Arizona (6-3, 4-2) beat the Buffs 43-20 in Tucson last season. The UA’s last trip to Boulder in 2021, though, resulted in a 34-0 shutout loss.
According to DraftKings Sportsbook, Arizona is a 10.5-point favorite. Who takes this matchup? Here’s what our staff thinks.
Kim Doss — Arizona wins 28-14
Just as the pomp, circumstances, and “you didn’t believe in us” bravado of Deion Sanders early in the season rose to a crescendo, it has collapsed with repeated losses. The blame appeared to be laid at OC Sean Lewis’ feet when play-calling was taken off his plate. Things just aren’t going well in Boulder these days, but is the OC the problem?
The old stumbling blocks for the Wildcats—difficulties in road games and defensive collapses—seem to be things of the past. It would be incredibly surprising to see the ‘Cats drop this one.
Ezra Amacher — Arizona wins 38-24
Arizona is catching Colorado at a great time. The Buffs o-line is beat up and their offense is in a moment of upheaval after Deion Sanders maddeningly promoted Pat Shurmur to play calling duties. Colorado scored three offensive points in three quarters against Oregon State last week before finally finding some life in the final quarter. Defensively Colorado is even more of a mess. The Buffs rank last in the Pac-12 in yards allowed (469) and second-to-last in points allowed per game (33.9).
Arizona will have to play its worst game of the season to lose to CU Saturday. That seems highly unlikely given the motivation the team is playing with right now.
Brandon Combs — Arizona wins 42-17
Up front, it’d be foolish to say that Colorado doesn’t have some playmakers. Shedeur Sanders and Xavier Weaver are talents on the offensive side. Travis Hunter is a dynamic player on both sides. Even so, I don’t think they are enough to get the Buffaloes to a win against Arizona’s defense and rolling offense.
The Buff offensive line is not good. Like at all. They have allowed 46 sacks this season, which is second-worst in FBS. Arizona’s defense has been very good this season about getting to the quarterback this season, particularly the edges. I think a lot of pressure will come off the edges, pushing the plays inside. The secondary has also been great in coverage and should have a good day against CU. Overall I think the defense will have a fantastic game.
Offensively, I also believe Arizona will have massive success. Noah Fifita has made solid defenses look mediocre with his decision-making and play. I 100% believe that’ll happen again against CU’s not-so-good defense. The running game should also have a very good game. CU has allowed 4.5 yards per carry but have given up just under 170 yards per game rushing. That’s not good. The match-up I’m excited to see is TMAC versus Travis Hunter. That should provide an afternoon’s worth of entertainment alone.
Adam Green — Arizona wins 31-20
On the surface this has the look of the classic trap game. A surging Arizona team, winners of three straight games over ranked teams and having just clinched bowl eligibility vs. a Colorado team that it destroyed last season and has lost three straight games and five of its last six this season. The Cats are also favored to win by more than a touchdown.
Fortunately this is a Colorado led by the outspoken Deion Sanders, so even if you think you’re better than the Buffaloes you are likely quite motivated to beat them. And while Arizona may be the talk of college football, the Cats are led by a humble group who has proven over the last couple weeks it is capable of not only handling success, but building upon it.
Colorado has some talent, at least offensively. The skill positions are dangerous and QB Shedeur Sanders is certainly capable of lighting up a scoreboard. However the Buffs’ offensive line is bad and their defense is, shall we say, not great. This of course works in Arizona’s favor and if the Cats can generate pressure while stopping the run there’s no reason to think they won’t earn victory number seven Saturday afternoon.
Devin Homer — Arizona wins 38-17
Colorado does have playmakers on their offense but Arizona is rolling coming off of three straight wins against ranked opponents and becoming eligible for the first time since 2017.
Noah Fifita and UA’s offense will continue to roll and put up points against Colorado’s defense. Colorado has had problem with their protection all season and UA’s improved defense will put Shedeur Sanders under pressure early and often.
Brian J. Pedersen — Arizona wins 33-24
Arizona is bowl-eligible, winners of three in a row against ranked teams and playing an unranked opponent for the first time since Sept. 16. Combine that with all the celebrating that was done the past two weekends, field stormings and all, and a matchup with Utah at home on Nov. 18, and this has all the makings of letdown/look ahead.
And it probably will be for a little bit, with the Wildcats apt to get off to a shaky start. But the combination of its defensive depth and Colorado’s many flaws, they’ll right the ship early enough to avoid a setback in Boulder.
Odds/lines subject to change. T&Cs apply. See draftkings.com/sportsbook for details.