Week 1 Game Matchup: Central Michigan Chippewas VS. Arizona Wildcats
Central Michigan Chippewas (0-0) vs. Arizona Wildcats (0-0)
Saturday, September 5, 6:00 PM PST
Las Vegas Favorite: Arizona -13.5
Sam’s Take (0 – 0):
Word of warning to Wildcat fans… don’t sleep on the Chippewas. Central Michigan is a very good offensive football team that ranked 12th nationally in passing offense last season and features one of the best quarterbacks in the country in dual-threat senior Dan LeFevour.
While UA is the better overall team, this is a game that could be uncomfortably close for the ‘Cats if they don’t execute. QB’s Matt Scott and Nick Foles will continue to battle it out for the starting job on Saturday, and it is important that the rhythm of the offense is not negatively affected by the rotation. I am most excited to see the battle between a stingy UA defense and CMU’s seasoned spread attack that LeFevour runs so well.
Ultimately, I believe the superior UA defensive backs will be too much for the Chippewas receivers, and the explosive running combo of Nic Grigsby and Keola Antolin will take the pressure off of Scott and Foles.
I don’t foresee a blowout at the Old Pueblo, but the ‘Cats should start the season with a solid win against a good non-conference opponent.
Prediction: Arizona 38 – Central Michigan 24
Central Michigan Player to Keep an Eye On: WR Antonio Brown - Besides LeFevour, Brown is probably the best player on the team. He is a phenomenal overall playmaker, possessing elite speed and great open field skills. He will be used as a receiver and on kick and punt returns, so UA must account for him at all times.
Arizona Player to Keep an Eye On: QBs Matt Scott and Nick Foles - Until someone wins the starting job I will probably highlight these two every week. It is very important that a number one emerges before the Iowa road trip because the passing offense will need to be sharp for UA to have a shot against the Hawkeyes.
Dave’s Take (0 – 0):
Seven of the teams in the Pac-10 enter Saturday’s action as double-digit Las Vegas favorites, and no underdog scares me more this week than the Central Michigan Chippewas.
This game should be a great test for the Arizona defense. Few quarterbacks Arizona faces this season will be as dangerous as dual-threat Dan LeFevour. LeFevour single-handedly keeps defenses honest with both his scrambling and passing ability, punishing the opposition if they cheat one way or the other.
Another interesting matchup for the Wildcats will be WR Bryan Anderson. At 6-5, 201 pounds, Anderson will force Arizona to get creative in figuring out how to cover him. WR Antonio Brown doesn’t have Anderson’s size, but he does have an excellent skill set and gives Arizona yet another thing to worry about.
Offensively, I’m not too worried, as I think Arizona will control the line and have a good day on the ground, which should make life easier for Matt Scott and Nick Foles under center. But if this game ends up turning into a shootout, I’d be nervous putting either QB up against a seasoned veteran leader like LeFevour.
In the end, I think Arizona’s defense gets the job done, and the Wildcats pick up the win. But how convincing of a win it ends up being will tell us a lot about this team; assuming, of course, that it IS a win.
Prediction: Arizona 31 – Central Michigan 21