Oct. 20, 2012; Tempe, AZ, USA; Arizona Wildcats running back (25) Ka

Pac-12 Football Preview: South No. 4 Arizona Wildcats

November 10, 2012; Tucson, AZ, USA; Arizona Wildcats linebacker Jake Fischer (33) in the first half against the Colorado Buffaloes at Arizona Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Rick Scuteri-USA TODAY Sports

Pac-12 Season Preview Series


5. Utah

6. Colorado


2012 record: 8-5 (4-5 Pac-12)

Key returnees: RB Ka’Deem Carey, LB Jake Fischer, LB Marquis Flowers, DT Tevin Hood

Key departures: WR Dan Buckner, WR Austin Hill (torn ACL), OL Kyle Quinn, QB Matt Scott

Key additions: QB Jesse Scroggins (El Camino College/Lakewood, Calif.), CB Derek Babiash (Poway HS/Poway, Calif.), WR/CB Samajie Grant (Colony HS/Ontario, Calif.)

2012 season recap:

Offense. Lots of offense. Can I stop there? No? Ok. The Wildcats had an up-and-down 2012 season. Except their win in the Gilden New Mexico Bowl, the Wildcats never won just one game at a time. They started off the season 3-0, then faltered when they hit the tough stretch of the schedule that included three top-25 teams. They bounced back quickly and strongly, however, as the Huskies went down to Tucson the next week and got pounded, 52-17. The only losses after that came to the hands of UCLA and bitter rival Arizona State in the Territorial Cup.

Matt Scott and Ka’Deem Carey led the team to an eight-win season and a bowl victory. Arizona ranked in the top-25 of the three major offensive categories – passing yards (298.4, 23rd), rushing yards (227.8, 15th) and points scored per game (38.2, 15th). If the Wildcats had even an average defense, there are three more potential wins on the schedule. That would have given them 11 wins, for all you mathematicians out there. Unfortunately for Rich Rodriguez and the Wildcats, they didn’t. They had a defense that ranked 105th in the nation in points allowed per game at 35.3.

2013 season preview:

This season, Arizona returns a preseason All-American running back in Carey and much of its defensive core. Even after losing Scott to the NFL, the Wildcats had potential to be a surprise team in 2013. But the injury bug had other plans. Arizona’s leading pass catcher from a year ago, Austin Hill tore his ACL in Spring Practice and is expected to miss all of the 2013 season.

Without Hill, the Wildcats are short at receiver and may have to lean on inexperienced underclassmen. If Rodriguez had planned on using two-way recruit Samajie Grant as a cornerback, he may have to change his plans and have him get snaps at receiver instead.

Though they will be without two key components to their offense last year, I still think the Wildcats are bowl bound – just not as much of a lock as previously thought. The hope is that former USC quarterback Jesse Scroggins will be able to come in and make a smooth transition from Scott, but even then, it’s unlikely they improve upon last season.

2013 predicted finish: 7-5 (4-5 Pac-12), fourth in the Pac-12 South


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