First, the overrated Arizona Wildcats were knocked from the ranks of the unbeaten by USC and now they can fall from the rankings entirely with a loss at Washington State.
The home underdogs could have a great chance to knock the currently ranked road favorites completely out of the rankings Saturday evening when the 15th ranked Arizona Wildcats (5-1, 2-4 ATS) pay a visit to the Washington State Cougars (2-5, 3-4 ATS) at Martin Stadium in Pullman, WA at 6:00 ET in a game available on the Pac-12 Network.
The posted line at Bet365 is Washington State +2½ for this contest at current odds of -110.
Was Weak Top-10 Team
We felt that the Arizona Wildcats were one of the weakest Top-10 ranked college football teams in a long time, and that feeling was validated when they lost for the first time this season 28-26 at home to USC after a 5-0 start. They have now had two weeks to think about that defeat with a bye last week, a defeat that we still think leaves them overrated at 15th in the polls.
Washington State is always an entertaining college football pick under its pass-happy coach Mike Leach, but more importantly the Cougars have been competitive this season and their one-dimensional passing approach should work just fine vs. this Arizona defense. And the Cougars are also coming off of a bye week, taking away any advantage that would have had for either team, with Washington State actually having one more day to prepare after a Friday game.
Defense vs. Oregon an Anomaly
Arizona moved up to 10th in the rankings after an almost inexplicable 31-24 upset of the then second ranked Oregon Ducks in Eugene, marking the second straight season that the Wildcats have upset the Ducks, this time as 21½-point road underdogs. The biggest surprise in that contest though was the fact that Arizona held one of the best offenses in the country to just 24 points.
The reason we were and actually still are down on the Wildcats given their relatively lofty ranking is because we felt that was a one-game anomaly for a defense that has not performed well in the rest of its games. Arizona is still ranked a dismal 92nd in the country allowing 432.0 yards per game, and more relevant to this contest the Wildcats are 109th in passing defense surrendering 278.0 yards per game through the air on an ungodly 8.1 yards per pass attempt!
Pass, Pass and Pass Some More
That weakness takes on exponential proportions here vs. a Washington State offense that barely even pretends to attempt to keep opposing defenses honest, averaging a miniscule 44.7 rushing yards per game on an almost non-existent 2.4 yards per carry. That is because as is Coach Leach’s wont, the Cougars lead the entire nation with 490.0 passing yards per game, and they lead by a wide margin too with Western Kentucky second at 416.7 passing yards!
And yet even with opposing defenses knowing what is coming, the Cougars have been in practically every game this season with three of their five losses being by seven points or less, one being by 11 points at Nevada the second week of the season and the fifth loss coming at Stanford 34-17 last game in a contest where the Cougars actually hung in, as Connor Halliday throw for 292 yards on the second ranked passing defense in the country.
Moreover that contest vs. the best defense that Washington State has faced all year was actually closer than the score as Stanford scored a touchdown with 1:38 remaining when it possible could have simply run out the clock with a 27-17 lead. After battling that staunch defensive unit, going up against the poor Arizona pass defense may seem like a walk in the park for Halliday.
Cougars Upset at Tucson Last Year
Now one thing that Arizona may have on its side is revenge after the Cougars went into Tucson last year and upset the Wildcats 34-17. However, that revenge will not mean much if Arizona did not figure out a way to fix the leaky pass defense during the bye week.
And frankly, that does not seem possible so we are calling for Washington State to pull the outright upset at home and probably knock Arizona out of the rankings on Saturday.
College Football Pick: Washington State +2½ (-110)