When the 15th-ranked Arizona Wildcats opened as 4-point favorites I was surprised. I was expecting the spread to be wider given their ranking and WSU’s uneven play this year.
After looking at how each team has performed thus far, the line lowering to 2.5 started to make more sense.
Statistically speaking, these teams are eerily similar -- like Brennan and Dale from Step Brothers, different but cut from the same awesome cloth. I also think Leach and Rich Rod would be perfect as the stars in a remake of Step Brothers.
It's fitting that the two coaches who seem like they are the most fun in the Pac-12 trot out the No. 1 (Arizona, 557 yards per game) and No. 2 (WSU, 534) offenses in the league.
Connor Halliday and Anu Solomon are near identical in YPA (7.63 vs 7.68) and INT % (1.8% vs 1.4%). Zona's offense averages 6.3 yards per play and is converting 43% of their 3rd downs, compared to Wazzu moving the ball at 6.5 yards per play and converting 44% on 3rd down.
The Wildcat defense is 12th in the PAC-12 in YPA allowed and the Cougs 11th. There is only a 2 yard difference in passing yards given up per game between the two squads (Arizona 278 – WSU 280).
Is the thin betting line starting to make sense?
I’m not sure which team the Cougs will see on Saturday; the Wildcat running game hasn't gotten over 4 yards per carry since week three versus Nevada, but given WSU's troubles stopping the pass this year, Arizona may try to replicate their 70+ pass attempts from last week against USC.
Both teams put up chunks of yards and points and likewise give both up. Arizona could well win and not cover or if some bounces go WSU’s way, the field could be filled with dads and students post game celebrating.
How do you see the game playing out and what do you think the Cougs must do to win?