Arizona's 2020 football schedule: Fast start a must

Grant Gunnell is set to be the full-time starting QB in 2020.

Anthony Gimino

The Arizona Wildcats released their 2020 football schedule on Thursday. First thought: Brace for October.

We've known the nonconference opponents for a while -- Hawaii, FCS opponent Portland State and at Texas Tech -- but know we have dates to save, including two Friday night games.

The schedule is not unlike 2019 in that it offers chance for a fast start, with the tougher games back-loaded onto the schedule. That kind of played out last season. Arizona surprisingly lost at Hawaii in the opener, before climbing to 4-1 -- and offering, for a week, hope that the season could turn out OK.

Then, the Wildcats lost their last seven games.

But enough about that.

In 2020, where do you see the wins?

The season starts with a "Week 0" game against Hawaii on Saturday, Aug. 29, before the bulk of the college season starts a week later. A 3-0 start against the Warriors, Portland State and Stanford -- all at home -- isn't out of the question.

The Cardinal is coming off a 4-8 season (3-6 in Pac-12) and is underdoing quite the roster churn, although it has two potential All-Americans in LT Walker Little (who is returning as a senior after missing most of last season with an injury) and cornerback Paulson Adebo, who somewhat struggled after a brilliant sophomore year.

Then, it gets tougher, especially in October after the first of two byes.

The brutal stretch that everyone is focusing on is USC, at Washington, Oregon, at Utah.

After the second bye, the Cats finish at improving Oregon State and home to Arizona State, which is popping up in some early Top 25 rankings.

A 3-0 start seems to be a must, and Arizona needs to find three more wins to get bowl eligible.

Don't know about you, but I don't see it right now.

(For what it's worth, DraftKings Sportsbook lists Arizona at +2500 to win the Pac-12, meaning that is what you would win for a $100 bet. That's better odds than only Colorado (+8000) among Pac-12 South teams, but my guess is that the Cats will widely be predicted to finish sixth in the division.)

Here is the full schedule (what could be better than Oregon on Homecoming on Halloween?):

Saturday, Aug. 29 -- HAWAII, Tucson

Saturday, Sept. 5 -- PORTLAND STATE, Tucson

Saturday, Sept. 12 -- STANFORD, Tucson

Saturday, Sept. 19 -- @ Texas Tech, Lubbock, Texas

Saturday, Sept. 26 -- Bye

Saturday, Oct. 3-- @ UCLA, Pasadena, Calif.

Friday, Oct. 9 -- COLORADO, Tucson

Saturday, Oct. 17 -- USC, Tucson (Family Weekend)

Friday, Oct. 23 -- @ Washington, Seattle

Saturday, Oct. 31 -- OREGON, Tucson (Homecoming)

Saturday, Nov. 7 -- @ Utah, Salt Lake City

Saturday, Nov. 14 -- Bye

Saturday, Nov. 21 -- @ Oregon State, Corvallis, Ore.

Saturday, Nov. 28 -- ARIZONA STATE, Tucson


Comments (3)
No. 1-3

Maybe we can manage with what we have, and forget what's on paper. But it's not looking good at this stage...

Gary Randazzo
Gary Randazzo


Right now, I don't see any wins beyond the first two games. Arizona should be able to handle a rebuilding Stanford at home, but I can't see the Wildcats winning at Texas Tech (at least not right now). Beyond that, it's difficult to consider Arizona a favorite against any of the remaining Pac-12 teams. As of today, Arizona's incoming recruiting class will finish 11th or 12th among conference schools. Hard to get better when all of your opponents are getting better talent (at least on paper).

Of course, the X Factor is a new defensive coaching staff. If the new staff can somehow get Arizona playing motivated football, then things may actually improve and the Cats can get to a bowl game for the first time in the Sumlin Era.


I have not had this sense of forbidding when looking at an AZ schedule since Mackovic was coach.