2015-2016 Football Previews (Pac-12) – Wildcats
Arizona Wildcats fans have undoubtedly felt confidence since Rich Rodriguez made his move to the program. And rightfully so.
In just his third season with the team, Rodriguez and Arizona went to the Pac-12 title game in the program’s first 10-win season (and the first ranked campaign since 1998).
NCAA Football Gambling Lines
Pac-12 2015-2016 College Football Preview – Arizona
Head Coach: Rich Rodriguez
2014 Record: 10-4
Odds to Win College Football Championship (from Bovada): 100/1
Odds to win Pac-12 (from GTbets): 14/1
Season Win Total (from 5Dimes): 7
At this point in the offseason, with spring camp behind us, the Wildcats are a top-30 team in terms of 2016 National Championship odds.
They’re 29th at 100/1 odds, placing them between the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets (100/1) — 30th — and the Wisconsin Badgers (75/1) — 28th.
Could Arizona be a contender once again? With Rich Rod leading the way, it certainly seems possible.
First on the list of strengths is the team’s speed (not to mention depth) at receiver. All but one of the team’s receiving core is coming back, as DaVonte’ Neal has been moved to cornerback.
Not only are the Wildcats deep at receiver, but they’re diverse as well. Cayleb Jones and David Richards represent the big, physical wideouts. If you’re looking for speed, Samajie Grant, Trey Griffey and Nate Phillips are your guys. Each of these guys will be targets for Anu Solomon in different situations.
And by the way, Solomon was excellent as a redshirt freshman last season.
The Wildcats will also have two solid running backs, including Nick Wilson. Wilson tallied 1,375 yards and 16 touchdowns in 2014, and he’ll be complemented by senior Jared Baker.
Special teams also deserves recognition here. Punter Drew Riggleman was fourth in yardage in 2014, and kicker Casey Skowron is reliable when Arizona comes up short in the red zone.
Finally, we’d be remiss not to mention Scooby Wright. The junior is a Bednarik, Lombardi and Nagurski award winner, and he was the nation’s leader in tackles last season.
As solid as Wright is, and will continue to be, the junior isn’t a one-man show — nobody is on defense. That was clear on occasion in 2014, as his statistics couldn’t keep the Arizona from allowing too many big plays. The concerns start up front. There needs to be more of a prominent pass rush, as there wasn’t enough production from the DL, allowing opposing quarterbacks to target deep options.
The Wildcats’ best defensive segment was their secondary in 2014, but they can only do so much without support up front.
Back on offense, red-zone efficiency is where this team must improve — emphasis on must.
This team was 80 percent when it came to success in that area. The rate of only scoring TDs on 33 of 60 trips was just 86th in the country.
Arizona is hoping to address this by getting the most out of their skill players, including showing more love to tight end.
Arizona Wildcats 2015-2016 Prediction: 9-4
The Wildcats have found success since Rodriguez took over. The team has won 26 contests in his first three seasons, which just so happens to be the most of any three-year stretch in program history history.
Regardless of how many wins this team earns this season, fans should be excited that the team is certainly in contention for a Pac-12 South title.
The problem here is that going 12 weeks without a bye is hardly a recipe for success. That’s part of the reason we’re going single-digit wins in 2015.
The good news is that nine victories seems to be a worst-case scenario here. Ten or 11 wins isn’t out of the question, but a slight step back down to earth could be in order for this program this season.
Arizona Wildcats 2015 Football Schedule
- Thu, Sept 3 vs. UTSA
- Sat, Sept. 12 @ Nevada
- Sat, Sept. 19 vs. N Arizona
- Sat, Sept. 26 vs. UCLA
- Sat, Oct. 3 @ Stanford
- Sat, Oct. 10 vs. Oregon State
- Sat, Oct. 17 @ Colorado
- Sat, Oct. 24 vs. Washington State
- Sat, Oct. 31 @ Washington
- Sat, Nov. 7 @ USC
- Sat, Nov. 14 vs. Utah
- Fri, Nov. 21 @ Arizona State
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The 2015 College futures betting season is here in full force! If you like to bet on NCAA football, you are in the best possible place for online betting. CappersPicks.com has NCAAF odds up on a ton of futures, and you will also find College football lines up for early games as well.