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After a busy offseason, what does the media expect from Arizona football in Jedd Fisch’s first year?

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Megan Ewing | The Daily Wildcat Arizona plays in the Spring Game on Saturday, April 24 in Tucson, Ariz. Gronkowski and Bruschi served as coaches for the Spring Game.

After a winless season last year under former head coach Kevin Sumlin, the media has not been kind to Arizona football. Many expect Arizona to disappoint in Jedd Fisch’s first year as the new head coach. 

When looking at some of the projections from ESPN, Arizona is ranked No. 98 out of 130 college football teams. ESPN also projects the team to have an overall record of 3-9. 

Not only that, but Arizona is predicted to have a 3.1% chance to win six games and a 0% chance to win the conference or division. With every other team in the Pac-12 projected to have at least a 20% chance or higher to win six games, ESPN’s expectations for Arizona are very low.

The Pac-12 media voted Arizona to finish last in the division and conference as well, receiving only 41 votes from the media poll. That is 24 votes away from the projected second to last team, Washington State University. 

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CBS Sports followed the trend and projected Arizona to finish last in their division and has them ranked No. 94 out of 130 teams. CBS Sports also ranked Fisch as the second to worst coach in their rankings of all 65 coaches in the Power Five conferences. 

While citing Fisch’s lack of head coaching experience in college football as a reason for the low ranking, CBS Sports did say his experience as an offensive coach in the NFL and college football gives him an advantage over the No. 65 coach, Shane Beamer. 

The Arizona Desert Swarm was more optimistic with their season predictions. While none of the reporters predicted Arizona to win more than five games, none picked a record lower than 4-8.

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Nick J. Lee, a reporter for Vanquish the Foe, a BYU sports newsroom, predicted Arizona losing by a score of 24-20. Lee cited defensive struggles from Arizona last season, where Arizona ranked No. 114 in team defense and No. 120 in points allowed. This was the main reason he predicted BYU will be able to move the ball well against Arizona and ultimately win.

In an article by the Associated Press, they wrote the opposite in their analysis of Arizona’s offseason. One of the changes mentioned right away was the hiring of Don “Dr. Blitz” Brown as the new defensive coordinator. 

The AP reasoned that Brown brings 45 years of coaching experience, most recently at the University of Michigan from 2016 to 2020. They also noted his blitz-heavy style of defensive play that should be a stark contrast to the less aggressive defensive play in years past. 

On the offensive side of the ball, the Associated Press predicts that Fisch will have the quarterback under center more and could shift from a typically fast-paced offense to a scheme that expands the role of the running game. Arizona’s offensive line was predicted to be a strong unit with the team also having playmakers at both the receiver and running back position 

The team has a chance to start the season strong and break a 12-game losing streak dating back to 2019. Arizona football has a chance to show improvement by winning even one game this season. With a new coaching staff in Arizona, the team seemingly can only go upwards after hitting rock bottom last season.


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Updated September 21, 2021