Posting college football point spreads in June isn’t very instructive, but there are more than 11 weeks before kickoff, so we have to look at something to keep us busy.
The Golden Nugget sportsbook in Las Vegas has posted the lines for 111 games this season, including three involving the Arizona Wildcats.
The Cats are:
–9.5-point underdogs at home against Oklahoma State on Sept. 8.
–14-point underdogs at home against USC on Oct. 27.
–5.5-point favorites at home against Arizona State on Nov. 23.
The game against the Cowboys is UA’s marquee non-conference game, and the Wildcats might have a fighting chance against Oklahoma State this time around after being stomped in Stillwater 37-14 last season and out-classed in the 2010 Alamo Bowl in San Antonio 36-10.
Arizona is thrilled to see OSU quarterback Brandon Weeden and receiver Justin Blackmon move on to the NFL, but the Cowboys still have talented running back Joseph Randle (121 yards rushing, 99 receiving vs. UA last season) and a turnover-producing defense, led by linebacker Shaun Lewis and a dynamite pair of cornerbacks — Brodrick Brown and Justin Gilbert. Quinn Sharp is the best kickoff man in the country and might also be the best punter or placekicker … or both.
Better to get OSU early in the season, though, because of the inexperience at quarterback. The Cowboys ended spring with true freshman Wes Lunt holding the starting job. The Arizona game would be his second career start, first on the road.
Oklahoma State is ranked 12th in the preseason by Phil Steele, 16th by Lindy’s and 19th in Athlon.
(Disclosure: As the senior editor of Lindy’s, I am responsible for the national rankings. The sportsbook’s point spread of the Arizona-Arizona State game validates our Lindy’s rankings that, from a preseason distance, the Cats are the slightly better team. Lindy’s has Arizona ninth overall in the Pac-12 and 59th nationally; ASU is 10th and 63rd.)