NCAAF · Fri (12/16) @ 11:35am ET
|Allegiant Stadium, Las Vegas, NV|
Our Pick: BYU BYU at 10.5 (-108). Claim a risk free bet worth a max of $5000 from Caesars today!
Arizona and BYU have something in common heading into the 2021 college football season. Both programs are looking to usher in a new era of success. The difference, however, is that BYU is looking to continue their recent run of winning while the Wildcats are hoping to end a 12-game losing streak.
Their Week One game will be played at Allegiant Stadium in Las Vegas, NV, as part of the Vegas Kickoff Classic. If the oddsmakers are right about this one, the Wildcats may be in for a long night against the Cougars:
Arizona Wildcats Preview
It is a season of new beginnings for the Wildcats. After leading the team to an 0-5 record last season, the university decided to fire head coach Kevin Sumlin. But rather than go out and get a head coach from a smaller school or a coordinator from another program, the University of Arizona made an interesting hire.
They hired the quarterbacks coach for the New England Patriots, Jedd Fisch—and the Patriots QBs did not exactly have a good year in 2020. But his success with Josh Rosen at UCLA in 2017 must be what attracted Arizona.
But none of the quarterbacks on his roster are half as talented as Rosen was in college. His best option will likely be one of two transfer quarterbacks, Gunner Cruz (Washington State) or Jordan McCloud (USF).
However, with an offensive line that struggled to pass block and a lack of talent at wide receiver, the outlook for the passing game is bleak. The run game does not look much better. But the outlook on offense is not as grim as it is for the defense.
Last season saw the Wildcat defense rank amongst the worst in the nation in several statistical categories. Former Michigan defensive coordinator Don Brown will make the most out of the talent and experience he has, but there is precious little of both.
BYU Cougars Preview
BYU fans may come into the 2021 season riding a high because the team went 11-1 last season. But this year’s Cougars are going to pale in comparison to last year’s.
Zach Wilson and most of the team’s best players have moved on. While some good players are still on the roster, none will measure up to the lost talent.
Jaren Hall is not going to make anyone forget about Wilson. However, it is unclear how much help he is going to get. There is a lot of potential in the wide receiver’s room, but he will need someone to step up their game.
The offensive line will need to be rebuilt with only two starters coming back. But Hall will have a good running back in the backfield with him in Tyler Allgeier.
On the defensive side of the ball, last season’s unit was one of the best in the country. But most of it has moved on. They will need some new defensive linemen to step up; the ones they did have were not strong pass rushers, anyway.
There is some experience coming back at linebacker and in the secondary. But with the holes in the roster and a tougher schedule, the defense will probably not resemble last season’s unit too much.
Sports Betting Preview and Recommendation
It would be nice to say that the Wildcats have a chance, that they might be able to cover the spread. But that would not be true. Arizona looks like a less talented version of the 2019 Cleveland Browns. It may be more accurate to compare them to the 2016-17 Browns that went 1-31.
The talent is not there, and it does not look like the coaching is there to make Arizona look respectable. While BYU will not be the force that it was last season, the Cougars will be good enough to dominate the Wildcats.
Take BYU to win against the spread and via the moneyline. As for the total, take the under. BYU will put up some points but not enough to cover the over on their own—and it would be foolish to count on the Arizona offense for much.