Arizona's 2020 football schedule: Fast start a must
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
KICKOFF TIMES AND TELEVISION NETWORKS TBA