Tate thrust himself into the spotlight – and briefly into the Heisman conversation – as he burst onto the scene last year so all eyes will be on him. After the coaching chance, Tate will be operating an offense under Sumlin and Noel Mazzone – an offense that should suit his skillset very well. The Wildcats did show some improvement on defense in 2018 and if they take another step forward, 2018 could be exciting as well.
Wildcats 2018 regular season win total
Over 7 (-115)
Under 7 (-115)
Odds courtesy of BetDSI Sportsbook.
What Happened Last Year
The Wildcats got off to a shaky 2-2 start before Tate took over the offense early in the Colorado game. Tate led the team to four straight wins, including a 20-point victory over Washington State. However, that momentum couldn’t be sustained as Arizona lost three of its final four to close the regular season and then fell to Purdue in the Foster Farms Bowl.
What Will Change This Year
There will be changes across the board for Arizona in 2018. Not only are the Wildcats getting a new coaching staff – the most obvious of the changes for 2018 – but they have to replace several other aspects of the offense.
The Wildcats rushed for 309.3 yards per game last season, but two of its top backs, Nick Wilson and Zach Green, have graduated. J.J. Taylor rushed for five touchdowns and 826 yards on 136 carries, so the cupboard isn’t empty, but it’s certainly something to keep an eye on.
And who will protect Tate? The Wildcats will have a new-look offensive line in 2018 and have a few question marks in the position group heading into the season. However, line play was a strength for Sumlin at Texas A&M so perhaps that won’t end up being a concern.
Outlook & Prediction
Seven wins seems like a possibility, but six appears to be more likely than eight. The Wildcats went 2-1 in non-conference last season with wins over Northern Arizona and UTEP. This season they host BYU, travel to Houston and host Southern Utah. The Wildcats also travel to Utah on a short week and don’t have a bye week until late November. Speaking of that bye week, the Wildcats get their bye before a November road trip to Washington State – never an easy place to play late in the season. Take the under.
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