Pamela Maldonado gives her best preseason win total for the Pac-12 conference for the 2022 season.
- With the 2022 college football season quickly approaching, I am sharing my favorite predictions for each conference. I'm Pam Maldonado with a look into the Pac 12.
The play, the Arizona Wildcats, under 2 and 1/2 games at plus 135. You're talking about a team that has gone 1-23 since October of 2019, 1 win, 11 losses last year under second year head coach in Jedd Fish.
Looking at the defense, the Wildcats are ranked 130th in takeaways. There's only 130 teams in the FBS. Just 4 interceptions and 5 forced fumbles the entire 12 game season. That's just on defense.
Looking at the offense, the Wildcats were 126th in points per play, and have had 20 straight losses before defeating Cal in November at home last year.
Now, let's jump ahead to the 2022 season. Right out of the gate, the Wildcats could start out 0-3, playing San Diego State, which is looking to return just as strong of a defense, Mississippi State, which is known for its air raid offense, and potentially, oh look, they're playing an FCS team, maybe they'll catch a break? Not quite. The FCS squad the Wildcats will be facing, North Dakota State, 9 national titles in 11 seasons, plus games at Utah and at UCLA.
So now I'm really digging hard to find the wins for the Wildcats. There's three potential opportunities, and I consider coin flip games, starting first with at Cal. Cal is also returning an entirely brand new team, but does get a transfer quarterback in Jack Plummer of Purdue. The Wildcats then have a home game against Colorado, a team they lost last year 34-0, and is looking to be also a young team similar to that of the Wildcats.
Arizona then travels to Washington, a team they lost 21-16 last year, which is one of the few games that they had that was a one score loss. But Washington and does get Indiana quarterback transfer in Michael Penix, Jr, a very capable quarterback. So then looking at the upcoming season, yes the Wildcats are getting a complete overhaul of its team, including in Washington State transfer quarterback Jayden Deloria, very capable, 2,800 passing yards, 23 touchdowns to just 9 interceptions.
The problem for me is if I am taking an over on a season win total at really heavy juice, then I really want to look at that defense. And there is definitely some question marks for me. The Wildcats, top 20 in passing defense last year, does lose its defensive coordinator in Don Brown. Bottom 50 with that pass rush, you've got to be able to apply more pressure, and you have to improve on that turnover margin.
So if there's only a few coin flip games and everything else is looking to be a loss, then I am taking the under 2 and 1/2 games for the Arizona Wildcats at plus money, plus 135.
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