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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    Could there be a ‘moral victory’ vs. USC?

    By Ari Wasserman

    In UA head football coach Mike Stoops’ weekly press conference on Monday, he said the Wildcats will certainly be loose before they square off against No. 6 USC on Saturday.

    Stoops said he doesn’t see why UA would be under any more pressure than a usual game.

    “”Nobody thinks we aren’t going to win,”” Stoops said. “”We have nothing to lose.””

    Not so fast, coach.

    The Wildcats do have something to lose – their dignity. While the talk around town is the Wildcats have finally arrived on the scene as a team to be reckoned with in the Pacific 10 Conference, a blowout to the Trojans could be detrimental to a squad still in the thick of the conference race.

    If Arizona has any hopes of competing for a conference title – and it surely does – there is something to be gained by keeping the game close with one of the nation’s best teams.

    That being said, it is obvious the Wildcats want to knock off the Trojans and give Stoops yet another tremendous upset to his already thick resumé in the category, but not all is lost with a 7- or 10-point loss.

    With a challenging schedule still remaining for Arizona after the USC game, it is important to maintain the confidence needed to stay in contest like the one against Oregon in Autzen Stadium after the meeting with the Trojans.

    What could be even more important is maintaining interest in the program. If Arizona loses 48-0, the same optimism surrounding the team would be non-existent. So if Arizona loses by four points, the Wildcats still have the momentum to compete with any team in the country.

    With the Homecoming game being the most exciting game the Wildcats compete in every year, it would certainly be in the best interest for Arizona to keep the game from being uninteresting for the fans who traveled to see it.

    In front of the sold-out home crowd, the only way the Wildcats can continue to surge with the optimism fed by the public is keeping it close.

    Nothing good comes from a blowout loss.

    If Arizona keeps the game close, the fans may walk out of the stadium disappointed with the loss, but the optimism for the season will surely remain.

    By Brian Kimball

    There’s no such thing as a moral victory, and those tied to the Arizona football team will be quick to point that out.

    If the Wildcats were able to pull off the biggest win in head coach Mike Stoops’ tenure and topple the mighty Trojans on Saturday, Arizona would be in primo position for – now read this carefully – the Pacific 10 Conference’s bid to the Rose Bowl.

    A loss would drop Arizona to 5-3 and back into the middle of the Pac-10, fighting for the remaining bowl berths. While the chances of Arizona breaking out of its bowl drought are high whether it wins or loses to No. 6 USC, a mediocre holiday destination is not what the Wildcats are looking for.

    For a program trying to establish itself as a year-in-year-out contender in one of the six Bowl Championship Series conferences, Arizona needs to continue that Homecoming magic somehow to show that this is actually going to be the year it announces it’s back.

    The early success this season has already resulted in recruits. Glendale Cactus high school commitment Chris Putton has given his word, unlike last year when four-star athlete Gerell Robinson spurned Arizona for rival ASU at the season’s end.

    Heck, Arizona even snagged a four-star recruit from Lakewood, Calif., this year in linebacker Trevor Erno – a player USC was interested in.

    Arizona hasn’t been able to crack the top 25 yet this season, but the win over then-No. 25 California was enough for the Wildcats to receive 11 votes in the Coaches Poll and six votes in the Associated Press Poll. A close loss wouldn’t help those numbers any but a win would undoubtedly vault them into at least the top-20, if not top-15.

    For people around the country to see Arizona with a national ranking would be huge, but there’s only one way that can happen: Beat USC.

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