The home games you need to watch this season

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Zi Yang Lai | The Daily Wildcat

The Wildcats enter the field before playing against Washington State in a half full Arizona Stadium on Oct. 24.

BYU at Arizona

Why to watch: First regular season game at Univ. of Phoenix Stadium

Though it’s technically not a home game, this matchup against the Cougars will take place in Glendale, Arizona. Led by fifth-year senior Taysom Hill at quarterback, the Cougars are coming off a 9-4 record that ended with a loss to in-state rival Utah in the Las Vegas Bowl. While Hill is experienced, he has never consistently wowed as the starter in his past four years, but he is still an effective dual-threat quarterback. Playing at University of Phoenix Stadium is an event in itself. This is just the first time since 1965 that Arizona has played a regular season game in the valley against an opponent not named ASU.

Grambling at Arizona

Why to watch: THE BAND

Grambling State opens the season on the road and will look for the upset when the Tigers travel to Tucson on Sept. 10. Grambling State is coming off a 9-3 record, including a perfect 9-0 in conference play. This FCS team should not be taken lightly. Head coach and former Grambling State running back Broderick Fobbs has gone 16-7 in his two season at the helm of his alma mater. If you don’t know about Grambling State’s band, well, you better get ready, because it is famous as one of the more creative and fun marching bands in the country. The Tiger Marching Band will perform at halftime.

Hawaii at Arizona

Why to watch: Last season of Hawaii football?

Hawaii opened the season last Friday with a 51-31 loss to the California Golden Bears in Sydney, Australia. Just like the Cal game, this contest promises to be a shootout; Hawaii gained 482 yards against the Cal defense, but was done in by turnovers. Hawaii has had a reputation for being a pass-happy offense, but they ran 38 times for 248 yards and three touchdowns against the Golden Bears. If Arizona cannot stop the run, the middle of the field could be wide open on play-action passes. Sadly, this may be one of Hawaii’s last seasons competing in college football, as budget cuts and financial uncertainty are threatening to cancel the program.

Washington at Arizona

Why to watch: Pac-12 Opener

Hawaii opened the season last Friday with a 51-31 loss to the California Golden Bears in Sydney, Australia. Just like the Cal game, this contest promises to be a shootout; Hawaii gained 482 yards against the Cal defense, but was done in by turnovers. Hawaii has had a reputation for being a pass-happy offense, but they ran 38 times for 248 yards and three touchdowns against the Golden Bears. If Arizona cannot stop the run, the middle of the field could be wide open on play-action passes. Sadly, this may be one of Hawaii’s last seasons competing in college football, as budget cuts and financial uncertainty are threatening to cancel the program.

USC at Arizona

Why to watch: Adoree Jackson and JuJu Smith-Schuster

While Arizona will likely be the underdog this game, the Wildcats’ last few games against the Trojans have been close. They lost 28-26 in 2014 and 38-30 in 2015, so they have no reason to fear the Trojans this year. All eyes will be on the offense, as they have senior star receiver Juju Smith-Schuster to headline what should be a strong passing game under interim-turned-head-coach Clay Helton. Smith had 89 catches for 1,454 yards and 10 touchdowns last year, so Arizona’s defensive backs must account for him at all times. Defensive back and receiver Adoree’ Jackson is one of the more dynamic athletes in the country in more than just football, falling short of qualifying for the Rio Olympics in the long jump.

Stanford at Arizona

Why to watch: Christian McCaffrey, Heisman candidate

This will be Arizona’s biggest home test of the season as superstar Christian McCaffrey leads the Cardinal into this matchup. Stanford ran for a staggering 314 yards in a 55-17 win last year, and they will lead the running game again this season. Kevin Hogan graduated last spring, but a steady dose of runs on first and second down will help quarterback Ryan Burns run the offense efficiently. McCaffrey is quite possibly the best player in the country. Even if Arizona was without a win to this point, he would still be a reason to sell out Arizona Stadium.

Colorado at Arizona

Why to watch: Offensive shootout

Coach Mike MacIntyre has led the Buffaloes to three straight last-place finishes in the Pac-12 South. Last year, he guaranteed a win over Arizona for Colorado’s homecoming, despite being in the cellar. Believe it or not, that did not happen. The Buffaloes’ offense is led by senior quarterback Sefo Liufau who had over 2,400 yards and nine touchdowns last season. If the ‘Cats show up, that won’t matter. If not, this could be quite the ugly game.

ASU at Arizona

Why to watch: It's the rivalry game, you don't need a reason

Last year’s loss to the Sun Devils made ASU bowl-eligible, so Arizona will be looking for revenge. Most of an offensive line that gave up 39 sacks is being replaced, along with any quarterback with experience, so ASU might be in rebuilding mode. Redshirt senior slot receiver Tim White is the team’s leading receiver, so whomever is behind center will mostly likely be throwing the ball to his side of the field quite a bit. This game could once again determine a bowl berth. ASU is projected to be worse than Arizona, but it’s really a toss-up at this point.


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