By Erich Hilkert
UCLA at Arizona
It is still early enough in the season to not have the most accurate gauge on a variety of top-25 teams. Sure, a team may look good on paper. Sure, they may have struggled against Northern Illinois. But…
College football fans will gain a better understanding of two such top-25 teams in the same division in the same conference Saturday.
I truly believe Arizona is a dark horse to take the Pac-12 South. UCLA has been decimated by injuries (it happens), most notably with the loss of Myles Jack. Also, they’re starting a true freshman at quarterback—a really good true freshman to be sure, but still a true freshman. USC has a loaded team on paper, but they’ve already fallen to Stanford. Why not Arizona?
The Wildcats went through the growing pains of breaking in a new quarterback last season in Anu Solomon. This season, Solomon should take even bigger strides forward. Plus, Arizona will have the home crowd.
Arizona 35, UCLA 30
Mississippi State at Auburn
It will be interesting to witness Sean White in the spotlight as Auburn’s starting quarterback. The redshirt freshman former Under Armour All-American game MVP is more of a natural quarterback than his predecessor Jeremy Johnson, who is a phenomenal athlete. But the bigger question is: how will White fare when thrown in against tough SEC competition in front of a demanding home crowd while standing 6-feet-tall in the pocket. College football fans will have a better clue following this game.
Meanwhile, Dak Prescott is the most seasoned quarterback in the SEC, but lining up against a talented Auburn defensive line will keep him under pressure most of the game. It’s anyone’s guess really, but I’ll take the Tigers.
Auburn 35, Miss St. 28