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Arizona Wildcats 2013 NCAA Football Gambling Odds & Predictions

2013-14 Football Previews – (Pac 12) – Wildcats

Second-year head coach Rich Rodriguez is coming off a season that saw him go 8-5 with the Arizona Wildcats. That campaign was the first time he had put together a winning record in a season debut, as well as the first time his team went to a bowl game in a debut.

2013 Preview: Arizona Wildcats (Team Link)
Coach: Rich Rodriguez
2012 Record: 8-5 (4-5)
Arizona Gambling Odds from Bovada.lv to win BCS: 250-1

The eight wins tied Jim Young for the most wins in a debut season in Arizona history, and there has to be a sense of optimism in Tucson. That said, losing a guy like quarterback Matt Scott is going to hurt, especially considering this team was all offense and no defense.

As well as Arizona played last season, it’s going to be tough to build upon that. Rodriguez has to deal with question marks all over the roster, which will make it tough to compete late in the year if those questions have yet to be answered.

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The biggest question entering the season is: Who will replace Scott at quarterback? In a traditional Rodriguez offense, this would be less of a proble, as his run-heavy mentality would alleviate any concerns. The problem is that in 2012, he ran the ball just 47 percent of his plays, which is the first time in his career he’s been below 54 percent in that category (he’s been above 70 percent six times).

Team Strengths:

The team has a number of players who can scramble and make a difference; however, the issue is that we don’t know who will be starting. Expect more runs this season, especially considering Austin Hill’s spring injury at the receiver position. The top receiver from 2012 (81 REC, 11 TD, 1364 YDS) is out indefinitely with a torn ACL.

With the offense looking to potentially struggle, you’d like to see the defense step up. Unfortunately, that’s an area where this team isn’t likely to provide much optimism. The 3-3-5 scheme doesn’t cater to the conference, as the Pac-12 is constantly adding spread offenses.

The good news is that while it doesn’t fit the conference, it does fit the team. Arizona doesn’t have depth up front, but it has an experienced secondary, which makes it possible that they hone in and learn how to take advantage of their strengths. They had big wins last year against No. 18 Oklahoma State and No. 9 USC, and while nobody will claim defense was the reason, it’s fair to say that a willingness to rush the quarterback certainly helped.

If the Wildcats have anything truly going for them, it’s their schedule. After years of drawing the short stick, the team finally has something to look forward to. [soliloquy id=”82219″]

In years past, Arizona has been hit with brutal streaks throughout their schedules. In 2010 they had Stanford, USC, Oregon and rival ASU to close out the season. In 2011, it was Oklahoma State, Stanford Oregon and USC four weeks in a row. Then in 2012, they were slated to face Oregon, a ranked Oregon State team and Stanford in games four through six.

Now the team has a chance to capitalize on having no true contenders in back-to-back contests anywhere on the schedule. Arizona will open up against Northern Arizona, UNLV and the University of Texas-San Antonio. Once conference play begins, there’s scattered challenges throughout—the team also avoided a matchup with Stanford and Oregon State.

The big question is: Does the schedule alleviate all concerns? The answer: not a chance. This group should avoid massive losing streaks as a result of their schedule, but don’t expect them to challenge for a title.

Replacing Scott at quarterback is the No. 1 issue, and unless someone comes out of the woodworks, expect that category to take a huge drop. A solid schedule may cancel that out to start the year, but by the end, don’t be surprised if they’re exposed as having taken a step back from their success in 2012.

2013 Arizona Schedule

Fri, Aug. 30 vs. N Arizona
Sat, Sept. 7 @ UNLV
Sat, Sept. 14 vs. UTSA
Sat, Sept. 28 @ Washington
Thurs, Oct. 10 @ USC
Sat, Oct. 19 vs. Utah
Sat, Oct. 26 @ Colorado
Sat, Nov. 2 vs. California
Sat, Nov. 9 vs. UCLA
Sat, Nov. 16 vs. Washington State
Sat, Nov. 23 vs. Oregon
Sat, Nov. 30 @ Arizona St.

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