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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


Column: The stage is set, now Wildcats need to capitalize on College GameDay exposure


ESPN College GameDay stage on the UA Mall ready for national attention. The No. 9 UCLA Bruins head to Tucson to face No. 16 Arizona Saturday. 

Tucson will be center stage for the college football world for the first time in the Rich Rodriguez era, and it couldn’t have come at a better time for the Wildcats. No. 16 Arizona is under the microscope this week and ESPN’s College GameDay is making its way back to the Old Pueblo for the first time since 2009, when the Wildcats had the chance against Oregon to control their own destiny to the Rose Bowl.

The last time Arizona hosted College GameDay, the crew left a bad taste in Arizona fans’ mouth when Lee Corso put Oregon’s mascot’s headgear on. Granted, Corso was spot on, considering Arizona completely blew the game to the Ducks 44-41 in overtime. 

That was Nick Foles’ debut season for Arizona and it’s unimaginable what the result would have been if Rob Gronkowski wasn’t out for the season with a back injury.

That was then and this is now, which also means this Arizona squad has something up its sleeve as it prepares for the biggest game of the season. 

Arizona isn’t playing for a Rose Bowl birth just yet, but the Wildcats are attempting to separate themselves from the rest of the Pac-12 South. With USC and ASU sitting with one loss, this game against the No. 9 Bruins has the anticipation of a Pac-12 Conference championship.

With GameDay coming to town and Scooby Wright III anticipated to grease the wheels this weekend returning from a lateral meniscus tear, this couldn’t be a better time for Arizona to shine bright on the national stage. 

With the show airing at 6 a.m. live on the UA Mall, the background of the school’s most iconic building, Old Main, will reveal to the rest of the country that Arizona is a destination for student athletes.

Students are scheduled to check in at 3:30 a.m. Saturday and the disrespectful, yet comical, signs will be a treat to see.

This is the best break Arizona has received all season after the team has been plagued with injuries. Wright’s presence will only expose his playmaking ability and demonstrate why he’s the best linebacker in the country.

ESPN is biased toward the SEC and it’s understandable considering every time a game in the Pac-12 airs on primetime, the folks on the East Coast are already counting z’s and preparing for NFL Sunday. The Pac-12 doesn’t receive the correct attention since the SEC is consistently on ESPN.

Now, Arizona is taking on a top-10 team and even players looking to play at the next level should understand that this is a game that could expose them to scouts. If Wright wants to live up to the hype of being a Heisman hopeful, then a remarkable comeback should be in order. 

Another player that should get it done for the Wildcats is Nick Wilson. The sophomore has rushed for over 100 yards in the previous two games and with next season still available for him, he has the opportunity to prove that he is making Ka’Deem Carey a pleasant memory rather than staying drunk off of Carey’s success.

College GameDay is a college football tradition, and this is a great opportunity for not only the team, but the players to show why Arizona is the top college to attend next fall for high school seniors.

Follow Justin Spears on Twitter.

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