Washington State Cougars vs. Arizona Wildcats
Date and Time: Saturday, October 28, 2017, 9:30 p.m. ET
Location: Arizona Stadium, Tucson, AZ
Opening College Football Odds: Washington State -3
Washington State vs. Arizona TV Coverage: FOX Sports 1
Let's tip our cap to Arizona for a moment. The Wildcats have won three straight games, scoring at least 45 points in all three games. Sure, two overtimes helped against Cal, but the fact of the matter is that Rich Rodriguez finally has his offense operating like a Rich Rod offense should.
In those three wins, Khalil Tate has run the ball more times than he has thrown it, and the Wildcats have averaged 49 rushing attempts per game. If Arizona can have a 3:1 run to pass ratio, it's going to win a slew of games in this conference.
Washington State is the polar opposite of Arizona, yet it's having similar results. The Cougars have to throw the ball at a high rate to beat teams in the Pac-12, and that means that Luke Falk's arm has to be on point.
It hasn't been lately.
Falk was sufficient in a 28-0 win over Colorado last week, throwing for 197 yards and three touchdowns. But in his last two games, Falk has completed just 58 percent of his passes and has been picked off five times in that span. We'd say that Wazzu's defense isn't good enough to withstand that many mistakes, but last week against Colorado clearly didn't prove that sentiment to be accurate. This game against Arizona would surely have different results if Falk plays down to that same standard.
The Last Meeting
If you happen to be reading this, Rich Rod, go ahead and skip over this section.
There's nothing good that came from last year's game in Pullman for the Wildcats. They were down 24-0 at the end of the first quarter and were almost a bit fortunate to not be beaten worse than 69-7.
Falk went 32-for-35 for 311 yards with four touchdowns before he got the hook, but backup Tyler Hillinski came in right behind him and went 15-for-17 for 163 yards and two touchdowns.
Arizona possessed the ball for just 22:32, a shocking stat for a team that runs the heck out of the football versus a team that throws it a ton. However, when you go just 2-for-10 on third downs and turn the ball over three times, you're going to be in that position no matter who you play against.
Washington State vs. Arizona Free Picks
The good news is that Arizona should have used last season as a learning experience. The team has played against a similar UCLA team this season and had much better results. Josh Rosen, the Pac-12's best quarterback, went just 20-for-34 for 219 yards, and he was picked off three times.
The Arizona defense has been much-improved, and its offense with Tate under center isn't missing much in the way of beats at the moment. For as good as Washington State is and for as much as it needs this game to save some face for the rest of the Pac-12, we don't feel good about this one. Going on the road and playing against an improving team that is hungry avenge last season's 62-point shellacking on the road isn't a good sign.
Go with the Wildcats to pull off this upset and add further misery to the rest of the conference.
College Football ATS Pick: Arizona +3 at BookMaker.eu
College Football Score Prediction: Arizona 38, Washington State 31