Kevin Sumlin went 5-7 overall in his first season as the coach of the Arizona Wildcats football team.
He went 4-8 overall in his second season in Tucson.
How will Arizona fare in Sumlin’s third season at the helm?
Now that the Pac-12 has unveiled its new 10-game conference-only football schedule for 2020, we can venture a guess.
Here’s an early game-by-game look at Arizona’s slate of matchups next season, with extremely early predictions (assuming the games get played as scheduled).
Sept. 26 – Arizona State
Can Sumlin avoid moving to 0-3 against Herm Edwards and the Sun Devils? You never know what will happen in this rivalry game, but the guess here is that ASU will open its regular season with a big victory over Arizona in Tucson despite some impressive moments from quarterback Grant Gunnell. Prediction: ASU 42, Arizona 28. Arizona record: 0-1.
Oct. 3 – at Washington
The Wildcats travel to Seattle to face the Huskies. Washington has a new head coach and lost some key players a year ago, but is expected to make some noise in the Pac-12 North. Its defense will leave the Wildcats searching for answers after this one. Prediction: Washington 38, Arizona 14. Arizona record: 0-2.
Oct. 10 – Colorado
Arizona opened the season 4-1 a year ago and the fourth win was a 35-30 win over Colorado in Boulder. This season, the Wildcats also will take down the Buffaloes at home. Look for a big game from Gunnell, who will feast on Colorado’s defense. Prediction: Arizona 27, Colorado 20. Arizona record: 1-2.
Oct. 17 – bye
Oct. 24 – USC
Arizona’s schedule gets very difficult with the Trojans coming to Tucson. USC destroyed the Wildcats 41-14 a year ago in Los Angeles. Arizona will keep it closer at home, but the result will be the same. Another loss for Arizona. Prediction: USC 45, Arizona 28. Arizona record: 1-3.
Oct. 31 – at Utah
The Wildcats will struggle in Salt Lake City against the Utes, whose defense will still be strong after a stellar season in 2019. Gunnell will show a lot of fight, but Arizona won’t be able to match Utah. Prediction: Utah 31, Arizona 17. Arizona record: 1-4.
Nov. 7 – at Oregon State
Arizona will enter this game determined to show some fight against the Beavers. They’ll show some fight and a whole lot more in getting a big victory on the road in Corvallis to keep its slim hopes of achieving bowl eligibility alive. Prediction: Arizona 35, Oregon State 27. Arizona record: 2-4.
Nov. 14 – Cal
The Bears weren’t originally on Arizona’s schedule in 2020, but are the Wildcats’ extra Pac-12 game. This could be the most important game of the year for the Wildcats. Cal is a program on the rise and will hold off Arizona in a thriller. Prediction: Cal 48, Arizona 45. Arizona record: 2-5.
Nov. 20 – Oregon (Friday)
The schedule just doesn’t get any easier for Arizona. Oregon is the favorite in the Pac-12 for 2020 and could be in the national title picture once again if a couple of things fall into place. One of those things will be a big win in Tucson. Arizona won’t be able to stop the Ducks’ vaunted offense. Prediction: Oregon 48, Arizona 20. Arizona record: 2-6.
Nov. 28 – at UCLA
Sumlin’s team beat UCLA 20-17 last season in Tucson in the fourth game of the season. We could be in for another tight contest this season, but playing at home will give Chip Kelly and his offense the edge and give the Wildcats another loss. Prediction: UCLA 31, Arizona 24. Arizona record: 2-7.
Dec. 5 – at Stanford
The Wildcats end the season playing with a lot of pride to defeat Stanford on the road. Will it be enough to keep Kevin Sumlin’s job in Tucson or will he be out after another rough season? Prediction: Arizona 28, Stanford 17. Arizona record: 3-7.