Week 12 – Arizona at Utah

Posted Nov 15, 2012

Week 12 Fearless Prediction & Game Preview – Arizona at Utah

Arizona (6-4) at Utah (4-6) Nov. 17, 10:00, ESPNU

Here's The Deal: With a win over Colorado last week, Arizona joined the pool of bowl-eligible schools. Utah is still hoping to join the Cats in the postseason.

The Utes' bowl push hit a detour in Seattle last week with a 34-15 loss to Washington. They had won two straight games before making the trip to the Pacific Northwest. Utah will need to snap back in a hurry, because it did more than simply drop a game a week ago. By the coaching staff's estimation, it likely delivered its worst performance of the 2012 season.

Arizona proved that it can without QB Matt Scott, who was concussed a week earlier. Okay, so the opponent was Colorado, but it was still an important statement for the offense going forward under rookie head coach Rich Rodriguez. With two regular season games left, the Wildcats will use these remaining weekends to improve their postseason fate and continue working on the play of the defense.

Why Arizona Might Win: Scott may return. Scott may sit. Either way, it shouldn't matter.

Yes, the Wildcats are better with their senior taking snaps, but the offense hardly skipped a beat a week ago. Hard-running Ka'Deem Carey shed what was left of his anonymity, smashing a Pac-12 record by rushing for 366 yards and five touchdowns. Reserve QB B.J. Denker was also crisp in his starting debut, hitting on 12-of-14 passes for 136 yards, two touchdowns and no picks. Plus, Arizona is very talented on the outside, led by Dan Buckner and Biletnikoff Award semifinalist Austin Hill. The offense has reached a point where it feels as if it can score on anyone and under any circumstances.

Why Utah Might Win: Arizona can score, but can it stop anyone?

When the Wildcats have struggled this fall, the D has been the culprit. 49 points to Oregon. 38 points to Oregon State. 54 points to Stanford. And 66 points to UCLA. The Utes may not be as good as any of those teams, but it'll still challenge their visitor, especially between the tackles. RB John White has located a second wind late in the season by rushing for 100 yards and two scores in each of the last three games. If the senior is successful in controlling the clock and picking up chunks of yards on first and second downs, it's going to keep the prolific Cats offense on the sidelines.

What To Watch Out For: Budding star, meet Star.

Carey is a special player, who didn't need to smash records in order to convince the folks in Tucson of his potential. This week, the young superstar gets introduced to Utah's veteran star, Star Lotulelei. The Utes can be tough to solve on the ground, in large part because of the presence of powerful No. 92 at the nose. If Utah is able to create congestion in the running lanes, and Scott is again a scratch, it could force Denker to loosen up his left arm more than he had to last Saturday.

What Will Happen: It'll be a study of contrasts at Rice-Eccles Stadium this weekend.

Utah wants to slow things down and turn the game into an alley fight. Arizona prefers to speed up the tempo, dragging the Utes into a track meet it can't win. The Wildcats will survive the battle of clashing philosophies, but not without breaking a sweat. Utah is always tough in Salt Lake City, and Arizona has yet to win outside Tucson. Still, the Cats will have the best unit on the field. And when Carey and the passing attack do break through, it won't be easy for Utah and rookie QB Travis Wilson to mount an adequate challenge.

CFN Prediction: Arizona 33 … Utah 28
ATS Consultants Line (Click for more lines and picks) Arizona -8 O/U: 55
Must Watch Rating (5 – Killing Them Softly, 1 – The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part 2): 2.5