The Arizona Wildcats found out where they will play their first bowl game since 2017 on Sunday, with Jedd Fisch’s team heading to the Riverwalk later this month.
The 9-3 Wildcats landed in the Valero Alamo Bowl, squaring off against Oklahoma of the Big 12 Conference in San Antonio on Dec. 28 in a game that should drive quite a bit of Arizona sports betting holiday interest.
The Alamo Bowl represents Arizona’s first bowl game since the 2017 Foster Farms Bowl, when the Wildcats lost to Purdue to cap off a 7-6 campaign in the final game under then coach Rich Rodriguez.
It’s been eight years since the Wildcats last won a bowl game, but oddsmakers think that might change this year. ESPN BET Arizona lists the Wildcats as a 3.5-point favorite with a moneyline of -145.
The tide of Arizona’s 2023 football season turned on Fisch’s decision to play freshman quarterback Noah Fifita over veteran Jayden De Laura in late September. Since then, the Wildcats have gone 6-2 with the program’s lone losses coming against College Football Playoff participant Washington and a double-overtime defeat against USC.
The Sooners enter the Alamo Bowl with a 10-2 record, having won their last three games (against West Virginia, BYU and TCU) after losing Bedlam to Oklahoma State and falling to Kansas in successive weeks. Oklahoma enters its final game as a member of the Big 12 as the betting underdog, perhaps based on uncertainty at quarterback after starter Dillon Gabriel entered the NCAA’s transfer portal Monday.
One thing that seems certain come Dec. 28 is both the Wildcats and Sooners will light up the scoreboard, as Arizona betting apps have the game’s over-under at 62.5 total points.
The Wildcats paved the way for a bright future this fall, with the program setting a high bar by pulling off the most wins in Tucson since 2014.
Arizona fans can expect the team’s offense to only grow from here, with Fifita entering 2024 as the unquestioned starting quarterback after throwing for 2,515 yards and 23 touchdowns (to five interceptions) as a freshman.
Other returnees that should guide the Wildcats in 2024 include superstar wideout Tetairoa McMillan, who finished his sophomore season with 80 catches for 1,242 yards and 10 touchdowns and figures to be Arizona’s first top round draft pick since Antoine Cason in 2008 when he becomes eligible in 2025.
Aside from those two, Arizona leading tackler on defense (Jacob Manu) will be back in 2024 as a true junior after finishing the year with 97 tackles, 6.5 sacks and an interception. Throw in the Wildcats currently having the 46th-ranked recruiting class in the nation (per 247 Sports) and you have the recipe for gridiron success that Arizona fans haven’t seen since the Dick Tomey days of the 1990s in Tucson.
Arizona takes on Oklahoma in the Valero Alamo Bowl in San Antonio on Dec. 28. The game kicks off at 7:15 p.m. and will be broadcast by ESPN.
The Arizona Wildcats haven't competed in a college football bowl game since Dec. 27, 2017 in the Foster Farms Bowl. Arizona would end up dropping a close one to the Purdue Boilermakers, 38-35. Their last win in a bowl game came in the Gildan New Mexico Bowl where they beat New Mexico 45-37.
The Arizona Wildcats have a 9-11-1 bowl record as of 2023. Their first bowl game came way back in 1921, a 38-0 loss to Centre (KY). Their first bowl game win didn't come until the 1986 Aloha Bowl vs. North Carolina, a 30-21 victory for the Wildcats.
Cited by leading media organizations, such as: