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The Daily Wildcat

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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    CatScratch

    PRO

    Win or stay home

    Is the football season over for Arizona if the Wildcats lose Saturday to Washington State and thus drop four straight games to Division I-A opponents to start the season?

    The better question to ask would be if the season ended back on Sept. 15 when Arizona lost a home game to New Mexico, a defeat that made the Wildcats need a 5-4 Pacific 10 Conference record just to be bowl-eligible and a 6-3 mark to guarantee a spot.

    Although the answer to that question could be that Arizona still has an outside shot if it pulls a couple upsets and gets in at 6-6, the winning absolutely must start Saturday at Arizona Stadium.

    The Wildcats have already thrown away two winnable games at Brigham Young and against the Lobos, and games stop getting so winnable when the schedule shifts to No. 1 USC, No. 11 Oregon, No. 23 ASU and UCLA. Arizona certainly learned that last week in spotting No. 6 California a 28-3 first-quarter lead.

    If the Wildcats cannot beat Washington State at home, it’s hard to believe they would go into Oregon State and pull off an upset. That would leave them 1-6 after losing to the Trojans and needing a couple upsets to avoid John Mackovic and Mike Hankwitz’s 2-10 season from 2003.

    A win, however, would provide momentum for the Oregon State game, in which a victory would put the Wildcats at 3-3. That is not where they would want to be at this point but would still make a bowl game a possibility, even if by a long shot.

    At that point they would need to beat Stanford at home, and split at Washington and ASU and at home against UCLA and
    Oregon.

    A loss, on the other hand, would drop head coach Mike Stoops’ Arizona record to 13-26, which is two losses for every win and a .333 winning percentage.

    Even Mackovic (.357) had a better winning percentage than that, and we all know what happened to him.

    -Michael Schwartz,
    assistant sports editor

    CON

    Crazier stuff has happened

    If the Wildcats do end up with a record of 1-4 after this weekend, their season still wouldn’t be over. The coaches and players would be the first to say so.

    Yes, there were high expectations heading into this year based on last year’s 6-6 record, but fans should be realistic when looking at the task that awaited the Wildcats this year. The road to a successful season would be much more difficult than last year based solely on the schedule.

    No, Arizona won’t play LSU this year, but it had a home game against a Division 1-AA team (Stephen F. Austin) and a Mountain West team (BYU) just like this year, only last year yielded better results.

    After last year’s nonconference games wrapped up, the Wildcats played their three biggest games at home: USC, California, and ASU. This year, all of those games are on the road.

    Arizona was able to have a decent season last year because it came up with some huge road wins at Washington State and Oregon, both ranked teams at the time. There’s not a road game that looks winnable at this point in the season, unless Arizona can improve on both sides of the ball or catch Washington or Oregon State on an off-night.

    Pac-10 victories won’t be easy to come by this season, especially on the road – as Arizona learned in Berkeley. Every team in the Pac-10 – yes, even Stanford – is greatly improved in regard to athleticism and experience when compared to last year. Very few Pac-10 teams lost important players to the NFL draft.

    Having said all that, I have seen crazier stuff happen in college football with my own eyes. Nobody expected the Wildcats to come back against California last year, but I saw Antoine Cason take an interception to the house to win the game. Nobody thought Boise State would beat Oklahoma in the Fiesta Bowl, but I saw the hook-and-ladder to tie the game with less than 20 seconds left, and I saw the winning Statue of Liberty play on the two-point conversion.

    I’m not saying that Arizona will pull out a Hail Mary to beat USC or flea-flicker its way to an upset of ASU, but it could happen.

    The outlook would be bleak if the Wildcats lost to the Cougars on Saturday, but the season would most definitely not be over. They would have to play at least seven more games to make it official.

    -Brian Kimball,
    sports writer

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