Week 8 - Washington at Arizona

Posted Oct 18, 2012

Week 8 Fearless Prediction - Washington at Arizona

Washington (3-3) at Arizona (3-3) Oct. 20, 10:00, Pac-12 Networks

Here's The Deal: When Washington travels to Tucson for this Saturday night's game, some struggling program is going to cop a much-needed victory … and the loser will move further away from bowl eligibility. The Huskies have been the victim of costly mistakes and a wicked schedule that's had them face LSU, Stanford, Oregon and USC over the last five games. U-Dub can hang its hat on the upset of the Cardinal for only so long, because a third straight loss could send it into full free-fall mode as the second half begins. Remember when Arizona was making waves in the Pac-12? Yup, that was a long time ago. In fact, since shocking Oklahoma State on Sept. 8, the Wildcats have beaten an FCS opponent and lost three league games in a row. While it's true that they're not quite ready for contention, there's still plenty at stake, such as bowling in a year that it looked as if it might be unattainable.

Why Washington Might Win: The Huskies will get a crack at an Arizona defense that's just plain horrible. The Cats have yielded at least 38 points to their last four FBS opponents, allow a ton of big plays and don't harbor a single consistent pass rusher on the roster. Finally, an opponent the Washington O-line can manage. With time to operate, QB Keith Price will get a chance to become the player many figured he'd become this fall, surveying the field to find TE Austin Seferian-Jenkins or WR Kasen Williams. RB Bishop Sankey, too, ought to get more room to make things happen in the open field. The Huskies have talent at the skill positions, but it's been difficult to unlock it against the defenses on the first-half schedule.

Why Arizona Might Win: With the Oregon game being the lone exception, the Wildcats offense has been a constant in Rich Rodriguez's first year on campus. Using the speed, inventiveness and spread formations that were so successful in Morgantown for years, RichRod has pieced together an attack that ranks fourth nationally in total offense. They'll run the ball with Ka'Deem Carey, who has flourished with 890 yards and 11 scores from scrimmage, or chuck it around with QB Matt Scott. Scott has been erratic, but when he's on target, receivers Dan Buckner and Austin Hill become incendiary devices. Diverse offenses will give Washington fits.

What To Watch Out For: This is an important game for Price, who needs to get right for U-Dub to have hopes for the postseason. He's been plagued by all kinds of problems, some self-inflicted and others that are out of his control. His tight end, Seferian-Jenkins, figures to manhandle the back eight of an Arizona defense that has just single player bigger than 215 pounds. One of Price's biggest impediments will be avoiding the rush of Spur Tra'Mayne Bondurant, a frenetic defender with the range and instincts to wreak havoc on the blitz.

What Will Happen: As long as Arizona is involved, you can bank on a high-scoring game. The offense will make sure of it, as will the defense. Rodriguez has done a terrific job with the attack, getting it up to speed practically overnight. The fact that the Cats have scored the most points on Stanford and Oregon State this season says plenty about their potency. Oh, the Huskies will score, too, in a game that promises to devolve into a track meet, but the Wildcats are on the verge of finally breaking through by winning a close game for a change.

CFN Prediction: Arizona 39 … Washington 37
ATS Consultants Line (Click for more lines and picks) Arizona -7.5 O/U: 61.5
Must Watch Rating (5 – Seven Psychopaths, 1 – Here Comes the Boom): 3