Week 11 – Colorado at Arizona

Posted Nov 8, 2012

Week 11 Fearless Prediction & Game Preview – Colorado at Arizona

Colorado (1-8) at Arizona (5-4) Nov. 10, 1:30, FX

Here's The Deal: The first year of a new regime is always rife with uncertainty and rocky moments. Arizona saw it firsthand over the last two weeks.

Two Saturdays ago, the Wildcats were the toast of the Pac-12, upsetting USC, 39-36, to move into South Division contention. Yet, just last weekend, the Cats put their inconsistency on full display with a humbling 66-10 loss to UCLA. Now what? Well, the South is no longer on the table, but a bowl berth is, and Rich Rodriguez is eager to get an additional 15 practices and four quarters to smooth out the wrinkles in his team.

Colorado is everyone's favorite opponent when a victory is absolutely, positively necessary. The Buffs aren't just losing games; they haven't been competitive all season. In fact, they've lost their last five games by no less than four touchdowns, performing like a Big Sky team that isn't even competing for a Big Sky title.

Why Colorado Might Win: It doesn't appear as if the Buffaloes will have to face Arizona starting QB Matt Scott, so there'll be one less thing to worry about in Tucson.

Scott has had a fantastic season under Rodriguez, piloting the nation's tenth-ranked offense. He's also had concussion concerns over the last two games, which means little-used JUCO transfer B.J. Denker will likely be at the controls. The lefty has attempted just 23 passes at this level, which is sure to disrupt the rhythm of the offense. Colorado will ask its veteran on the front seven, ends Chidera Uzo-Diribe and Will Pericak and linebackers Doug Rippy and Derrick Webb, to turn the Cats into a one-dimensional attack.

Why Arizona Might Win: One dimension might be all that's needed to keep Colorado reeling.

The Buffaloes have produced more than 17 points just twice all season, against Sacramento State and Washington State. The offense is among the worst in America, which means it's unlikely to take advantage of the soft spots in the Arizona D. Plus, Colorado ranks last in the Pac-12 in run defense, which means RB Ka'Deem Carey should have a field day as he begins life as a 1,000-yard rusher. Denker's task will be rather elementary—limit his mistakes, and put receivers Austin Hill and Dan Buckner in a position to make things happen after the catch.

What To Watch Out For: Arizona likes to blitz. It'll love turning loose its best athletes on Colorado.

The Buffs rank 119th nationally in sacks allowed, which will be like begging for trouble in Tucson. While the Wildcats haven't been great at generating a pass rush the traditional way, it'll gladly unleash Spur Tra'Mayne Bondurant and linebackers Jake Fischer and Marquis Flowers on unprotected QB Jordan Webb. Arizona yields way too many yards and big plays, but it'll hope to compensate this week by harassing Webb into costly turnovers and errant throws.

What Will Happen: It's homecoming in Tucson, and a chance for Arizona to achieve the sixth win needed to bowl in December.

If the Wildcats had to be without Scott, this is a bearable time to do it. Against Colorado, backup Denker will be just fine. He'll make some things happen with his feet, while getting the ball in the hands of his best playmakers, namely Carey. The Buffaloes have been on auto-pilot for weeks, and don't have the personnel or fight to upset a quality team in its building.

CFN Prediction: Arizona 43 … Colorado 14
ATS Consultants Line (Click for more lines and picks) Arizona -30.5 O/U: 66
Must Watch Rating (5 – Skyfall, 1 – Wreck It Ralph): 2