2013 Record: 8-5 (4-5)
Bowl Result: 42-19 win vs. Boston College
Offensive Returning Starters: 6
Defensive Returning Starters: 6
Reasons to be Optimistic
Rich Rodriguez has done a great job turning the Arizona program around and he has done it through recruiting, upgrading facilities, and bringing an excitement factor that the Wildcats have generally not had with their football team. Rodriguez brings legitimacy to the Arizona program and that has them trending in a positive direction.
The Wildcats are loaded at the receiver position and that is always important in a Rich Rodriguez style offense. Arizona returns WR's Samajie Grant, Nate Phillips, Garic Wharton, and David Richards.
Arizona returns 4 starters on the O-line and that will help the transition for whoever ends up winning the starting QB job. The offense put up great numbers last season, but the 2014 product might be even more prolific with strengths at WR and OL paired with potential at the QB and RB positions.
Another strength for the Wildcats comes at the safety position and that is an important area to be solid in the pass heavy PAC 12.
Reasons to be Pessimistic
Arizona losses their starting QB BJ Denker and starting RB Ka'Deem Carey and those were the linchpins in the Wildcats' offense a season ago. Arizona has a number of options to choose from in terms of replacements, but it is yet to be seen what the new starters will be able to produce on the field.
Playing in the loaded PAC 12 will make it difficult for Arizona to make a move up the standings, especially with a brand new QB coming under center. At least Arizona is in the more winnable PAC 12 South, but it will still be a tall task for them to get past teams like UCLA, USC, and Arizona State.
The defense has holes to fill up front and that could spell trouble in stopping the run, screen, and short route defense.
Rich Rodriguez team's have been very poor in special teams over his more recent coaching gigs and that is more of a detriment than people might think. Poor starting field position and inability to convert field goals can completely alter a game plan.
Prediction: Arizona has potential and that is all a mid tier PAC 12 program can hope for going into the season. The Wildcats are building for future success and their goals to win a PAC 12 title seem more achievable in the South now more than ever before. I think Arizona is going to be a force on offense, but special teams and defense will hold them back from having a special season.
Record: 8-4 (5-4)