Wildcat Insider Game Predictions: UA/USC

Arizona will look to snap their five-game losing streak to USC on Saturday. Things won't be easy as the Trojans are smarting after their shocking loss to Stanford a week ago. Arizona, like USC, still has a lot to prove on the field as their seasons thus far can be described as being nothing more than disappointing. Whichever team snaps out of their funk first will have a distinct advantage.



If Arizona was playing well, I would ponder picking the upset. They aren't and I won't. The Cats are scuffling and USC is probably a little mad right now. If the Arizona defense was playing well, I might think they can rattle Mark Sanchez if he gets the call, but they failed to rattle any quarterbacks this year. USC has issues, but they have more overall talent and a desire to prove the pollsters that they belong in the national title hunt. Add to that a lack of confidence and propensity for slow starts and I just can't like the Wildcats' chances.

- Brad Allis, Editor-in-Chief

Final Score:  USC  44  UA  24




From what I've seen from Arizona this season, it's impossible for me to pick them to win.  Even with Sanchez replacing Booty at QB for USC, and even with a banged up USC offensive line, Arizona's history this season tells me that the team will somehow find a way to mess things up.    From holding penalties that negate touchdowns and dropped passes in the end zone to missed assignments and uncharacteristically poor tackling, Arizona is just not good enough yet to have to beat an opponent AND themselves in the same game.


That said a win is not outside the realm of possibility.  USC has its own problems with dropped passes, penalties and injuries.  Arizona must find a way to stop USC's rushing attack.  With Stafon Johnson back in the line up, that won't be an easy task though.  I expect to see the Trojans try and run the ball 30-40 times.  If they do so effectively, USC will eventually wear down Arizona and win going away.  If Arizona's front seven can hold their ground, then their offense is capable of scoring enough points to make it close and possibly win.


Sadly, hoping for the best for Arizona this season has been pretty hopeless and knowing what they have to do to win and then watching them do the complete opposite en route to another loss has been difficult to stomach.  Once again, the players and coaches have said all the right things to the media this week but the question remains, when will their words be backed up by actions? 


- Gary Randazzo, Basketball Editor

Final Score:  USC  37  UA  20




Wow, my Cardinal and Navy colored glasses are really failing me so far this year.  I see a lot of talent on the field, more than I have seen in a long time, but they just aren't getting the job done.  Anyway, once a Wildcat, always a Wildcat.


Offense:  For once I can say the two offenses are pretty evenly matched.  If Sonny is allowed to open it up, maybe even more than he has so far, we can pretty much score at will.  The keys for Arizona are getting Grigsby and Gronk involved early and often.  Sticking to the short pass and marching down field are critical with strategic strikes deep in the secondary every now and again to keep USC's defenders honest.  Can we do it?  YES!  Will we?  My glasses say yes, my heart begs, "Please!" 


Defense:  Talent level is fairly evenly matched here.  I am giving the edge in heart to my Wildcats, but USC is more likely to use a scheme that works in the PAC-10, while we will probably (God, I hope not) stick with bend until you break zone.  At least Booty is out and can't go picking us apart.


Special Teams:  Bondzio and Crier are the best kicking combo at Arizona since. . .  Folk and Folk.  Here is hoping Crier gets a lot of rest in the land of Troy and Bondzio only has PAT's in his Saturday agenda.  Ross or Thomas finally get the monkey off Arizona's back and have the first kickoff return for a touchdown in over a decade.  (And yes, I will predict this until it happens.)



- Blake Phillips, UA Homer

Final Score:  UA  38  OSU  24




On offense the Wildcats finally had another very down week against Oregon State last Saturday.  Willie Tuitama threw three interceptions and was sacked 8 times.  The OL really struggled for the first time all year as they were badly confused by the blitzes they were facing from a good, quick and aggressive Beaver defense.  The USC Trojans will not blitz as much as the Beavers because they don't have to.  The Cats OL still has to play aggressive and smart football as USC has maybe the most talented DL in the country and most likely the best LB corps in the nation.


Defensively the Cats simply need to wake up and make plays.  Without blitzing the D has trouble getting to opposing quarterbacks which has allowed opponents to eat up the cover-2 zone with relative ease.  Antoine Cason is a legit All-American but even All-Americans can't cover Pac-10 caliber receivers all day long.  Aggressive Pac-10 defense must be played by the Cats this week.  Stopping the run is the most important part and the Cats LB's and DT's better be ready.  The USC OL is down and injured but they are still very talented.


In the end the Cats can pull off the upset if they can pull their heads out.  At this point there is no reason to believe they will do that so my prediction is Trojans win by 10 points.


- Chris Bonney, Football Editor

Final Score:  USC  27  UA  17

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