Either the Arizona Wildcats will be humbled at home against the ninth-ranked Washington Huskies tomorrow night, or they will make oddsmakers and fans alike think they should not have lost faith in them.
Arizona, which is 0-3 against the spread this season, opened as an 11-point underdog in Vegas against the Huskies. That line reached 14 points as of this afternoon.
Some would say the Wildcats have Washington where they want them, despite the fact that defensive lineman Parker Zellers and linebacker DeAndre’ Miller are out with injuries, the quarterback position is unsettled and Nick Wilson is doubtful with an ankle injury.
Remember when Oregon came to Tucson three years ago as an 18.5-point favorite? The Wildcats entered the game 6-4 after losing consecutive games at Arizona Stadium against UCLA and Washington State. The Ducks were 9-1 and ranked No. 5 nationally. Not only did the Wildcats beat the Ducks, they pummeled them with a 42-16 victory.
That was the game in which Ka’Deem Carey rushed for 206 yards and four touchdowns while becoming the school’s career leading rusher and rushing touchdown record holder. Washington’s heralded defense, with more than six NFL prospects, tomorrow is probably stingier than Oregon’s back then (Oregon State lost to the Ducks 36-35 the following week).
One other factor to consider: B.J. Denker was Arizona’s quarterback when the Wildcats beat the Ducks. He was a slender running quarterback. Brandon Dawkins has more size, arm strength and athleticism. He likely will get the start over Anu Solomon with Solomon an emergency backup if Dawkins either falters or gets hurt.
Also, Washington comes to Tucson after a 7-6 season in 2015 and 3-0 start this season playing Rutgers, Idaho and Portland State, all at home. Not exactly an impressive 16-game stretch.
To wit: Arizona is 13-3-1 against the spread as a home underdog since 2005. That’s an incredible 79.4 percent success rate at home as a dog.
A high-scoring game is to be expected tomorrow night at Arizona Stadium even though the number is at 58 points. The over is 4-1 when Arizona is the home underdog since 2012, Rich Rodriguez’s first season.
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ALLSPORTSTUCSON.com publisher, writer and editor Javier Morales is a former Arizona Press Club award winner. He is a former Arizona Daily Star beat reporter for the Arizona basketball team, including when the Wildcats won the 1996-97 NCAA title. He has also written articles for CollegeAD.com, Bleacher Report, Lindy’s Sports, TucsonCitizen.com, The Arizona Republic, Sporting News and Baseball America, among many other publications. He has also authored the book “The Highest Form of Living”, which is available at Amazon.