The college football bowl season kicks off Saturday with a doubleheader led off by the Gildan New Mexico Bowl pitting the Mountain West Conference’s Nevada Wolfpack against the Arizona Wildcats of the Pac-12.
There figure to be fireworks aplenty in Albuquerque as these two teams possess among the best offenses—and worse defenses—in the nation.
Arizona (7-5, 4-5) started off strong this season under first-year head coach Rich Rodriguez, but once conference play started it became apparent the Wildcats weren’t quite among the elite of the Pac-12. Utilizing Rodriguez’s spread offense, the Wildcats can move the ball through the air behind the right arm of senior quarterback Matt Scott (3,238 yards, 24 TD’s); and on the ground with the nation’s leading rusher, Ka’Deem Carey. The sophomore running back ran for an FBS-best 1,757 rushing yards and scored 20 touchdowns during the regular season.
Nevada counters with an elite rushing attack of its own led by Stefphon Jefferson. The junior running back ran for 1,703 yards and 22 touchdowns for this season. The Wolf Pack will be facing an Arizona defense that is allowing an average of 34.3 points a game, which ranks 107th in the FBS, and has allowed a whopping 485.3 total yards a game.
Nevada’s defense hasn’t been much better. The Wolf Pack gave up 32.5 points a game during the regular season. They were particularly bad against the run, allowing 213.2 yards a game on the ground. Carey could have another huge game Saturday considering those numbers.
If you plan to use the Wildcats in your college football picks this week you will be giving up to 10 points, depending on the betting shop. The over/under is listed as high as 76.5 points.
This game figures to turn into a track meet early and it could come down to which defense is able to get at least one or two stops. Arizona is from the more prestigious conference, but laying 10 points with a team that can’t stop anybody seems worrisome. Look for the Wolfpack to keep this one close in a high-scoring affair.