ESPN’s Football Power Index (FPI) sees four wins for the Wildcats in 2022.

That would be an improvement over 2021, but after the offseason Arizona had, such a season might be met with some tempered disappointment. Arizona head coach Jedd Fisch has called this the first year of their rebuild in Tucson, but a top-25 signing class and impact transfers from players like quarterback Jayden de Laura, wideout Jacob Cowing, and edge rusher Hunter Echols have significantly raised the talent level of this team.

FPI — a predictive model based on 20,000 season simulations — sees just an 8.8% chance of Arizona making it to a bowl game. Perhaps six wins are too much to ask of such a young team so soon. The schedule does the UA no favors either. FPI ranks it as the fifth-toughest in the Pac-12.

And it views Arizona as a favorite in only three of its 12 games. Here’s how FPI views Arizona’s chances of winning each week:

  • Sept. 3 at San Diego State — 32.9% chance to win
  • Sept. 10 vs. Mississippi State — 18.9% chance to win
  • Sept. 17 vs. North Dakota State — 53.2% chance to win
  • Sept. 24 at Cal — 27.9% chance to win
  • Oct. 1 vs. Colorado — 53.6% chance to win
  • Oct. 8 vs. Oregon — 18.2% chance to win
  • Oct. 15 at Washington — 15.9% chance to win
  • Oct. 29 vs. USC — 22.6% chance to win
  • Nov. 5 at Utah — 6.7% chance to win
  • Nov. 12 at UCLA — 13.8% chance to win
  • Nov. 19 vs. Washington State — 50.9% chance to win
  • Nov. 26 vs. Arizona State — 31.1% chance to win

The season starts off with quite the test. San Diego State went 12-2 a year ago, beating the Wildcats 38-14 in Tucson and then turning around and beating Utah in triple-overtime the following week.

Mississippi State also currently sits just inside the FPI Top 25. Mike Leach should once again have another high-powered, led by quarterback Will Rogers (4,739 yards, 36 touchdowns, 73.9% completion rate).

Arizona could catch some teams sleeping on them, though.

“We’re better. We’re a better football team,” Fisch said at Pac-12 Media Day. “The players that were on our roster last year that are on our roster this year have improved. They’ve committed to being better in the weight room. They’ve committed to being better in film study. They’ve committed to being better fundamentally.

“The players that we’ve been able to bring in… we brought in some good football players. What it looks like come Saturday, Sept. 3, is very different than how I feel right now. We’ll have to see. We’ll have to see if our team can come together in this training camp and how well we can play as a team. If we can do that, then I think we’ll be a better football team as well.”