Wildcats Looking For Breakthrough Football Season In 2023

Wildcats Looking For Breakthrough Football Season In 2023
Fact Checked by Michael Peters

The Arizona Wildcats enter Year Three of the Jedd Fisch era in Tucson looking to continue the program’s ascent towards a bowl game.

After a four-game improvement in wins from one to five in 2022, the biggest question involving the Wildcats is where they can go with a team full of experienced players.

It appears Arizona sportsbooks have little belief the Wildcats are capable of reaching the program’s first Pac-12 title game since 2014.

BetMGM AZ gives UA +50000 odds of winning a national title, while Caesars Sportsbook Arizona gives the Wildcats +5000 odds of capturing a Pac-12 crown.

That puts the Wildcats in eighth overall in the conference behind USC (+190), Oregon (+280), Washington (+350), Oregon State (+550), Utah (+600), UCLA (+1600) and Washington State (+2500).

If Arizona can rally and win the Pac-12 in 2023, it’d be the program’s first outright title since joining the conference in 1978, though the Wildcats did share the then-Pac-10 with UCLA in 1998.

In advance of the Arizona spring football game April 15, we break down where the Wildcats stand heading into the 2023 season.

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Arizona Rankings

  • Recruiting Ranking (247 Sports): 7th in Pac-12 (25 commits)/39th nationally
  • Pac 12 Odds (Caesars Sportsbook Arizona): +5000 (8th)
  • National Title Odds (BetMGM Sportsbook Arizona): +50000

Where Wildcats Stand Entering 2023 Season

The Wildcats enter 2023 with a bit of momentum at their backs, having signed consecutive top-40 recruiting classes (per 247 Sports) for the first time since 2010, including 2022’s record-breaking 22nd-ranked group.

The team’s continuing turnaround should rest on the right shoulder of quarterback Jayden de Laura, who threw for 3,685 yards and 25 touchdowns (to 13 interceptions) in 2022.

De Laura will likely target do-it-all wideout Jacob Cowing, who returned to Tucson for a second season after catching 85 balls for 1,034 yards and seven touchdowns.

Cowing could play an even larger role in Arizona’s offense, with leading receiver Dorian Singer transferring to USC.

Rising sophomore wideout Tetairoa McMillan will look to build on his strong first college campaign where he had 702 yards and eight scores. If McMillan can do that, then the Wildcats may have one of the most dynamic offenses in college football.

That success may rest on the ground game, however, with last year’s leading rusher (Michael Wiley) returning to Tucson after running for 771 yards and eight scores.

All of Arizona’s skill position players will be joined by a cavalcade of three-star recruits, such as Corona Centennial wideout Malachi Riley and Palmdale Highland running back Brandon Johnson.

If those players can pick up where they left off and Arizona can gain ground defensively, then the sky’s the limit.

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Breaking Down Arizona’s 2023 Schedule

One main stumbling block for Arizona’s quest for it first bowl game since 2017 is the quality of teams on the schedule.

With four games against teams that won 10 or more times in 2022 and a non-conference clash against SEC squad Mississippi State (which went 9-4), scratching out six wins could be daunting.

Arizona will likely have little (if any) room for error, starting with its non-conference slate of Northern Arizona and UTEP at home and the showdown in Starkville against the Bulldogs.

From there, the Wildcats get a 3-9 Stanford team on the road, before returning to Arizona Stadium to play Washington on Sept. 30.  

With the right mixture of luck and skill, Arizona can qualify for the school’s first bowl game since the 2017 Foster Farms Bowl. And for those wanting to wager on the Wildcats, BetArizona.com has the best Arizona sports betting promos.

Arizona 2023 Football Schedule

  • Sept. 2: Northern Arizona (3-8 in FCS in 2022)
  • Sept. 9: at Mississippi State (9-4 in SEC)
  • Sept 16: UTEP (5-7 in C-USA)
  • Sept. 23: at Stanford (3-9 in Pac-12)
  • Sept. 30: Washington (11-2 in Pac-12)
  • Oct. 7: at USC (11-3 in Pac-12)
  • Oct. 14: at Washington State (7-6 in Pac-12)
  • Oct. 28: Oregon State (10-3 in Pac-12)
  • Nov. 4: UCLA (9-4 in Pac-12)
  • Nov. 11: at Colorado (1-11 in Pac-12)
  • Nov. 18: Utah (10-4 in Pac-12)
  • Nov. 25: at Arizona State (3-9 in Pac-12)
  • Total Record: 82-70 (.539)
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Author

Christopher Boan

Christopher Boan is the lead writer at BetArizona.com after covering sports and sports betting in Arizona for more than seven years, including stops at ArizonaSports.com, the Tucson Weekly and the Green Valley News.

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