The Arizona football team begins its 2013 season against Northern Arizona at Arizona Stadium on Aug. 30, which is 55 days away. From now until then, this Web site will count down the days with facts about the Wildcats, their players, coaching staff and opponents. This is not a ranking, only a list of 100 facts and observances related to the 2013 Arizona football team and coach Rich Rodriguez.
2013 ARIZONA SCHEDULE
[table “” not found /]
In the dead of summer, with no football and basketball for bettors, and a lack of tourists because of the blazing heat, Las Vegas has nothing better to do than set odds on Arizona’s Week Eight game against Utah at Arizona Stadium on Oct. 19.
In case you are interested, the Wildcats are listed as 12-point favorites by the Golden Nugget Casino Sportsbook. That casino and others produced pointspreads last month for the entire college football season.
The Golden Nugget lines suggest Arizona will finish 5-4 in the Pac-12 Southern Division and 6-4 overall in games that have pointspreads. The Wildcats’ games against FCS school NAU and fledgling FBS program Texas-San Antonio are not listed. Arizona will be favored to win those games, so Las Vegas is predicting an 8-4 Arizona record.
The Wildcats are in a precarious position as double-digit favorites in five games in 2013 — against UNLV, Utah, California, Colorado and Washington State. In the last four years (since 2009), the Wildcats are 6-11 against the spread (12-5 straight-up) when favored by double digits. They are 6-5 straight-up when favored by double digits against conference foes.
CBSSports.com is not a believer in the Wildcats winning eight games in Rich Rodriguez’s second season. CBSSports.com college football writer Chris Huston predicts Arizona to fall under the projected win total of 7.5.
“Arizona will need to pull off a road win at either Washington, USC or California to have a chance at this total,” Huston writes. “With the uncertainty at quarterback and the loss of all-star receiver Austin Hill to a knee injury, it looks like a tall task.”
A victory at Cal, with first-year coach Sonny Dykes (formerly an offensive coordinator at Arizona), is not a tall task. The Golden Bears should be improved from last year’s 3-9 record, but the Wildcats have a realistic chance of winning that game Nov. 2.
Golden Nugget has Arizona as a 10-point favorite in that game. At that point, if the Wildcats perform to their Las Vegas projections, they should be 6-2 with three consecutive home games to follow against UCLA, Washington State and Oregon.
The Wildcats are favored by a field goal against a UCLA program that has lost in Tucson four consecutive times by an average score of 40.3 to 14. Arizona is also smelling blood after an embarrassing 66-10 last year at UCLA.
Arizona is favored by 17 points against Washington State on Nov. 16. If these projections hold true, the UA would be 8-2 overall and 5-2 in the Pac-12 Southern Division heading into its games against Oregon and ASU to conclude the regular season.
The Wildcats are 12-point underdogs against the Ducks and five-point underdogs against the Sun Devils.
People who are placing bets on these games already are showing a lack of confidence in the Wildcats, most likely because of the uncertainty at quarterback and concerns with the defense despite all starters returning.
Seven of the lines have shifted against Arizona since the pointspreads were first released by Golden Nugget on June 7. Among the biggest moves:
— Arizona going from a 17-point favorite against UNLV to a 15-point favorite
— Arizona going from a 20-point favorite against Colorado to a 17.5-point favorite
— Arizona going from a 19-point favorite against Washington State to a 17-point favorite
One believer in Arizona this season is ESPN analyst Mark May, a significant proponent of Rodriguez. In an interview last December with Phoenix sports radio station Arizona Sports 620, May forecast a potential 10-game win season.
Keep in mind, that was before Hill suffered his potential season-ending injury.
“I think, depending on the quarterback they get to replace Matt Scott,” May said when asked if Arizona can improve upon its 8-5 record in Rodriguez’s first season. “Looking at their schedule and the players that they have returning (including All-American running back Ka’Deem Carey and a mostly veteran offensive line), you should expect this team to get to double-digit victories or close to that no matter who the quarterback is.”
PAC-12 VEGAS POINTSPREADS
Source: DonBest.com Lines updated as of July 3. Opening lines posted June 7.
Washington State +12 at Auburn
Cal +8 vs. Northwestern
UCLA -17 vs. Nevada
Washington -3 vs. Boise State
Colorado +2.5 vs. Colorado State
NAU at Arizona, not listed
Washington State +21 at USC
Oregon -22.5 at Virginia
Arizona -15 at UNLV (opened at Arizona -17)
Arizona State -3 vs. Wisconsin
California +19.5 vs. Ohio State
USC -21.5 vs. Boston College
UCLA +6.5 vs. Nebraska
Oregon State +6 at Utah
Washington -12 vs. Illinois
Oregon -23.5 vs. Tennessee
Texas-San Antonio at Arizona, not listed
Oregon State -6.5 at San Diego State
Arizona State +9 at Stanford
Utah +7 at BYU
USC +1 at Arizona State
Colorado +22 at Oregon State
Arizona +5.5 at Washington (opened at Arizona +5)
Stanford -18.5 at Washington State
California +34 at Oregon
UCLA -5 at Utah (Thu.)
Washington +11.5 at Stanford
Oregon -34 at Colorado
Arizona State +3.5 vs. Notre Dame
Arizona +8 at USC (Thu.) (opened at Arizona +7)
Colorado +27 at Arizona State
California +16.5 at UCLA
Stanford -13 at Utah
Oregon -13 at Washington
Oregon State -13 at Washington State
Washington +5 at Arizona State
Utah +12 at Arizona
UCLA +10 at Stanford
Oregon State -13 at California
USC +5 at Notre Dame
Washington State +35.5 at Oregon
Utah +19.5 at USC
Arizona -17.5 at Colorado (opened at Arizona -20)
Stanford -3.5 at Oregon State
California +17 at Washington
UCLA +20 at Oregon
Arizona State -14 at Washington State
USC +1.5 at Oregon State (Fri.)
Arizona -10 at California (opened at Arizona -11)
Colorado +22 at UCLA
Oregon -3 at Stanford (Thu.)
UCLA +3 at Arizona (opened Arizona -4)
USC -17 at California
Washington +4 at UCLA (Fri.)
Oregon State +4.5 at Arizona State
Washington State +17 at Arizona (opened Arizona -19)
Stanford +2 at USC
Utah +28.5 at Oregon
Oregon -12 at Arizona
Cal +22 at Stanford
Arizona State +2 at UCLA
USC -24.5 at Colorado
Washington +6 at Oregon State
Washington State +13 at Washington
Oregon State +16 at Oregon
Arizona +5 at Arizona State
Notre Dame +5.5 at Stanford
UCLA +7 at USC
The best No. 55 to wear the Arizona jersey, according to TucsonCitizen.com’s Anthony Gimino is running back Bronko Smiland (1936-38). Smiland was an All-Border Conference player inducted into the Arizona Sports Hall of Fame in 1980.
WILDABOUTAZCATS.net publisher, writer and editor Javier Morales is a former Arizona Press Club award winner. He also writes blogs for Lindy’s College Sports, TucsonCitizen.com and Sports Illustrated-sponsored site ZonaZealots.com.