Hawaii Rainbow Warriors at Arizona Wildcats 8/29/20: Early Look College Football GOY free preview, analysis, prediction, odds and pick against the spread.
2020-06-02 16:33:00 EDT
The Hawaii Rainbow Warriors and the Arizona Wildcats meet Saturday, August 29 in college football action from Arizona Stadium.
Hawaii is coming off a 10-5 season in 2019, going 5-3 in the Mountain West and winning the West Division. Though the Warriors lost the conference championship game versus Boise State, they rebounded with a Hawaii Bowl win over BYU. As for Arizona, they had a tougher time of things last season, going 4-8 overall and 2-7 in the Pac-12, leaving them in the basement of the South Division and ineligible for a bowl. Check back all season long for free college football picks and college football predictions at Sports Chat Place.
Let’s take a closer look at both teams and see if we can get an idea of how things might play out when the Warriors meet the Wildcats on August 29.
Hawaii had a nice run last season with that 10-5 mark. The Warriors were tied for first in the West with San Diego State but got the tiebreaker courtesy of a 14-11 head-to-head victory in late November. It was a great improvement after a hectic 4-3 start. New head coach Todd Graham takes over in 2020, and although Hawaii lost QB Cole McDonald to the NFL Draft, Chevan Cordeiro should be able to help pick up the slack along with seven other returning starters. The Warriors should have a pretty solid offense this season.
Over on the Arizona side, they started out well enough last season, falling to Hawaii in the opener (a 45-38 shootout) but then winning their next four games. The wheels fell off for Arizona after that, and they’d close with seven straight losses. In that stretch, the Wildcats gave up 34 or more points six times. 2020 brings the third year of head coach Kevin Sumlin, who will try to get some defensive help from new DC Paul Rhodes. As far as offense, Arizona loses some key rushers but do still have senior Gary Brighwell, who should step in well as the lead back. The Wildcats also have some talented receivers on the roster, namely Jamarye Joiner and Brian Casteel. If the offensive line can stay healthy, Arizona could make a massive improvement with consistent scoring in 2020.
Pick: I like Hawaii to get in there and cover. As an early-look pick, it seems like the Warriors are returning a lot of talent, and should be able to field a good squad. It’ll be difficult adjusting to a new head coach—especially with the crazy offseason—but the experienced key guys shouldn’t take long to figure things out.
As for Arizona, most indications are that they’ll take a step forward this year. The Wildcats play in a pretty rough conference so they’ll take their lumps there, but if all goes well the team could flirt with bowl eligibility—which would be a huge step. That said, I don’t think the Wildcats will come out of the gate strong enough for a double-digit cover so I like Hawaii here.