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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

Arizona Wildcats football becomes bowl eligible

Photo courtesy of Michael Tao/The Daily Californian
Michael W. Tao
Photo courtesy of Michael Tao/The Daily Californian

BERKELEY, Calif. — With Arizona’s 33-28 victory over California Saturday afternoon, the Wildcats captured their sixth win on the season and are now bowl eligible for the second consecutive season.

There are six bowl games that Arizona is eligible for, not including the Rose Bowl or National Championship game. However, just being bowl eligible has never been a goal for the Arizona football team.

“Today was a good win and one closer to reaching the Pac-12 [Conference] championship game,” said running back Ka’Deem Carey after Saturday’s victory at California.

In order for the Wildcats to reach the conference championship game, they will need to finish in first place in the Pac-12 South division. After Saturday’s win, the UA improves its conference record to 3-2 and is tied for second with USC and UCLA in the division.

ASU sits atop the South with a 4-1 conference record. The Sun Devils still have a game against UCLA on Nov. 23. ASU plays the Wildcats the following week in Tempe, Ariz., in their final game of the season.

The Trojans have a tougher schedule. USC has a Nov. 16 home game against No. 5 Stanford and finishes the season two weeks later at home against its rival UCLA.

The Bruins travel to Tucson Saturday. The loser of that game will most likely be eliminated from conference championship contention. UCLA hosts Washington and ASU before traveling to USC. All three of those games are in consecutive weeks and all are potential losses for the Bruins.

Arizona head coach Rich Rodriguez said he still wants to take it one snap at a time.

“We control our own destiny,” Rodriguez said after capturing the sixth win on Saturday. “We’ve got a lot of big games coming up.”

With four weeks left, the season is finally coming down the home stretch. UCLA will be a tough first opponent for the Wildcats. The Bruins have struggled to replace all-time leading rusher Johnathan Franklin but has a quarterback in Brett Hundley who had Heisman Trophy potential to start the season.

UCLA also hosts a defense that will realistically be looking to contain Carey to fewer than 100 rushing yards — something no school has done for the past 11 straight games. While this past Saturday’s road win was over a struggling Golden Bears team, it does bring the UA closer to the ultimate goal of reaching the conference championship game.

“Any road win is good,” Rodriguez said. “We get a chance to come back home with some big games in front of us.”

A trip and win in the potential conference games is the only way this 6-2 Arizona could reach the school’s first ever Rose Bowl, but the Pac-12 has six other bowl games under contract, so the Wildcats have a lot to play for even if they miss out on the Pac-12 Championship Game.

Pac-12 Bowl games:
-Royal Purple Las Vegas, Dec. 21 (vs. MWC)
-Gildan New Mexico in Albuquerque, N.M., Dec. 21 (MWC)
-Kraft Fight Hunger in San Francisco, Dec. 27 (BYU)
-Valero Alamo in San Antonio, Dec. 30 (Big 12)
-National University Holiday in San Diego, Dec. 30 (Big 12)
-Hyundai Sun Bowl in El Paso, Texas (ACC) Dec. 31
-Rose Bowl in Pasadena, Calif., Jan. 1, 2014 (Big Ten)

—Follow Luke Della @LukeDella

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