In one of the most important games on the college football schedule Saturday, a pair of 3-0 teams will meet in Tucson as the No. 9 UCLA Bruins will face off with the No. 16 Arizona Wildcats.
Who will win this crucial early Pac-12 South matchup? ABC15 Sports' Tom Zenner and Shane Dale make their predictions for Saturday's matchup beginning at 5 p.m. on ABC15.
Rich Rodriguez seems to me like he doesn't like when another man gets the better of him –and up to this point, Jim Mora owns him on the sidelines. RichRod is 0 for 3 against Mora, and for that reason alone, I like the Cats in this game.
There are a few other reasons, too, including home-field advantage, a true freshman QB for the Bruins and the fact that UA players don't even want to consider showing up for practice Monday if they don't finally get their coach a win over Mora.
Saturday will be an epic day in Tucson even if the game stinks, because the UA student body will have had a full week to work on their signs for ESPN's College GameDay show. That alone should be interesting. Keep it classy, Wildcat fans. Push the envelope, by all means, but don't go getting expelled over a funny sign. You might have to enroll at ASU if you did.
Arizona 43, UCLA 38
The Wildcats have been strong in home games against ranked opponents under Rich Rodriguez: They boast a 4-2 record against top-25 teams, including a 2-0 mark against top-10 opponents since 2012.
That’s the good news for UA. The bad news is the Bruins seem to have the Wildcats’ number. UCLA has won three straight games against UA, making the Bruins the only Pac-12 South team RichRod hasn’t beaten at Arizona. (UCLA has outscored UA 114-43 in those three games.)
QB Brett Hundley isn’t around anymore, but running back and fellow Chandler High School grad Paul Perkins is a handful. The Bruins have injury concerns, including the season-ending injury to linebacker Myles Jack, but the Wildcats have problems of their own on that front, as linebacker Scooby Wright and wide receivers Cayleb Jones and Samajie Grant are all questionable to play.
Expect the Bruins to make it four in a row against RichRod despite what should be an electric atmosphere in Tucson in front of a national TV audience.
UCLA 31, Arizona 24