A (Really) Early Look at Arizona’s 2014 Schedule


Nov 23, 2013; Tucson, AZ, USA; Arizona Wildcats receiver Nate Phillips (6) jogs onto the field with his teammates during the fourth quarter against the Oregon Ducks at Arizona Stadium. Arizona beat Oregon 42-16. Mandatory Credit: Casey Sapio-USA TODAY Sports

Now that the 2013 football season is in the books, why not start talking about next season? Next season may have a large question mark looming over it. Who will play quarterback? Who will replace the school’s most productive running back ever? The questions can go on and on. Although Arizona has these shoes to fill and questions to be answered, the 2014 Arizona football season could very well be another winning season. Let’s take a look at each game and break it down:

August 30th- UNLV Rebels

Arizona handled the Rebels last year with a 58-13 thrashing in Las Vegas. Now its the Rebels turn to travel to Arizona Stadium for the season opener. Junior quarterback Nick Sherry will most likely take over for the graduating Caleb Herring. Sherry did start the game last season against the Wildcats but put up miserable numbers, throwing for 2 interceptions and earning a quarterback rating of just 66.5. Although UNLV did make it to a bowl game this past season (lost to North Texas 36-14 in the Heart of Dallas Bowl), they probably won’t match up well with Arizona at home. An inexperienced quarterback, a lackluster running game, and a very young team just won’t get it done in Tucson.

September 6th- at Texas-San Antonio

The Wildcats played host to the Roadrunners last season and ended up pulling away to win 38-13. This time, Arizona will travel to the Alamodome to take on a team that will play its 3rd full season as a Division I FBS school. Quarterback Eric Soza (2719 yards, 12 touchdowns, and 11 interceptions), will not be retuning next fall so the quarterback situation is uncertain. Running back David Glasco had a productive game last year against the Wildcats and will be retuning for his senior season for coach Larry Coker. UTSA is still a young team, trying to hang around with the bigger programs. Although next season’s game could be more competitive, the Wildcats should be able to walk away with a victory.

September 13th- Nevada

The Wolfpack will be hungry for revenge from their meltdown in the 2012 New Mexico Bowl. We all remembered what happened there. The Wolfpack might be angry, but a win at Arizona Stadium is highly unlikely. A new coach this past year meant a ‘rebuilding’ year for Nevada and ultimately ended up with a 4-8 record. Unless there is some Kaepernick magic in the air next season, Arizona should run away with this one.

September 20- California

Fans up in Berkeley would like to forget everything about the 2013 season. With a dismal 1-11 record, it can only go up for Sonny Dykes and his staff. Expect Cal to be a little more competitive next season thanks to their recruiting class and experience. True freshman Jared Goff was a small bright spot for the Golden Bears this past season and will look to improve his numbers (3505 yds, 18 TD, 10 INT) in 2014. Goff will most likely have the starting spot next season unless incoming freshman Luke Rubenzer can beat him out. The PAC-12 home opener for the ‘Cats should go Arizona’s way.

October 2nd- at Oregon

Marcus Mariotta retuning to Eugene already makes Oregon extremely dangerous offensively. The Ducks will be armed and dangerous and ready to show Arizona that the 42-16 win last season in Tucson was a fluke. Oregon’s high-flying offense, ranked 6th overall in the country last season, will be too much for Arizona. In last year’s win, Ka’deem Carey stole the show and scored 4 touchdowns. With no dominant run game this coming season, the Wildcats could be in deep trouble. Hopefully a decent passing offense will keep them close. Oregon will win this one at home.

October 11th- USC

With Steve Sarkisian at the helm, the Trojans should be back on track. USC has a top 25 recruiting class coming this fall and will have offensive weapon Nelson Agholor catching passes from Cody Kessler, who is improving his numbers. Agholor will take a bigger leadership role next season since record-breaking receiver, Marqise Lee declared for the NFL Draft. It’s too early to tell, but this USC team could be potent come the beginning of next season. The Wildcats will make it a game early, but the Trojans will most likely win this one in the desert.

October 25th- at Washington St.

The Cougars came into Tucson last season and walked all over the Wildcats with a 24-17 victory. The Wildcats failed to score on the last play of the game. This time, its Arizona’s turn to disappoint the home crowd in Pullman. Last season was a confidence booster for Mike Leach and his staff. The Cougs posted a 6-7 record and became bowl eligible. However, a complete meltdown in the New Mexico Bowl against Colorado State had fans’ confidence drop. Quarterback Connor Halliday, who threw for 4597 yards and 34 touchdowns last season, will be retuning for his senior year. His leadership and poise make the Cougars a team that can compete with the big boys (I’m looking at you, USC). If the Wildcats can find a way to contain Halliday’s passing game, a win is possible.

November 1st- at UCLA

The Wildcats were in the game the whole time this past season, but late game heroics by the do-it-all freshman, Myles Jack and a late interception by BJ Denker sealed it for UCLA. This year, quarterback Brett Hundley will be a Heisman contender and will only get better. He is a outstanding quarterback with tremendous size and athleticism. Speedy receiver, Shaq Evans is always a threat to any defense. Put those two players together and you have one great offense. UCLA will only get better and although start linebacker Anthony Barr is gone, expect Jim Mora to have a lethal team come fall. The Bruins will win this game in Pasedena thanks to Brett Hundley.

November 8th- Colorado

The Wildcats had no problem in Boulder last year, winning 44-20 in a game that never really was close. The 2014 season doesn’t look any better for The Buffs. Star receiver, Paul Richardson is gone to the NFL, so Colorado will rely heavily on quarterbacks Sefo Liafau or Connor Wood. Look for the Buffaloes to use a two quarterback system towards the beginning of the season. It is too early to tell whether or not Colorado will be a threat but a 4-8 season in 2013 was an improvement from 2012. Coach Mike McIntyre has his Buffs going in the right direction. With another young Pac-12 team still trying to solidify positions, Arizona will win this one in front of their home crown.

November 15th- Washington

Last year’s outing in the Rainy City was disappointing  on both sides of the ball. The Wildcats were unable to stop Bishop Sankey on the ground and never found a rhythm on offense. Sankey declared for the draft this spring and will not be returning. The Huskies’ star quarterback, Keith Price was phenomenal during his time in Seattle and will leave a big hole to fill for next season. With a not as dominant run game in place for next season, Washington could be looking more at a passing attack. Who knows what new coach Chris Petersen has planned? Playing at home will be a key factor in deciding this game and Arizona could very well end up winning.

November 22nd- at Utah

The Utes had a disappointing 2013 season under head coach Kyle Whittingham. 2014 looks to be a little better with most of the offense returning. Travis Wilson will most likely carry the workload at quarterback after showing some signs of consistency last season. The Utes’ leading rusher in 2013, Bubba Poole, will be returning to lead the ground game. The Wildcats were able to handle Utah at home last season thanks to 232 yards rushing from Ka’Deem Carey. This next year, Arizona will need to utilize its air attack if they want to win in Salt Lake. This game could go either way and Kyle Whittingham is a quality coach that knows how to win. Expect this one to be a shootout.

November 28th- That School Up North

Let’s be honest here: last year’s 58-21 drubbing in Tempe was embarrassing. The Wildcats never seemed to find a rhythm on offense and couldn’t get many stops defensively. The 2014 season for the Sun Devils looks to be no different than last year. The good news for Arizona is the defensive run-stopper, Will Sutton, will be gone to the NFL and leading rusher, Marion Grice, will also be gone. That should relieve some anxiety. However, the Devils’ offense looks to be very dangerous. Returning quarterback, Taylor Kelly threw for 3635 yards and 28 touchdowns in 2013. Kelly played a large part in the Devils’ Pac-12 South title. Also on the offensive side of the ball is leading receiver, Jalen Strong, who be entering his Junior year in Tempe. Strong has the speed and hands to be an NFL receiver. We should expect to see him play on Sundays in the future. DJ Foster is a speed demon and many Pac-12 defenses had a large amount of trouble stopping him. He can do it all. His speed torched Arizona’s defense last season and will be in a bigger leadership role come next season. The Sun Devils are too explosive offensively and the Wildcats will have a tough time keeping up. Although a usually sold-out crown in Tucson will help, I can’t really see Arizona walking away with a win. Let’s end this with some good news though: The Wildcats’ 2014 recruiting class is ranked 20th nationally, only three spots behind That School Up North.