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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

Really pac-12? Come on!

When Pac-12 Commissioner Larry Scott announced the division alignments for the conference last spring, hope was instilled in Wildcat football fans when Arizona was pegged in the South Division, far away from the powerhouses of Stanford and Oregon.

But that was when fans were unsure how the schedule was going to be constructed. The general thought was that Arizona would simply have to beat the teams in its division — taking a break from either Stanford or Oregon — and by doing so, earn a slot in the Pac-12 Championship game.

If this format were in fact, reality, it wouldn’t look so daunting for the Wildcats this season.

UCLA football hasn’t been a problem for the Wildcats in years, and Colorado will be battling Washington State for the title of the Pac-12 bottom feeders. This leaves ASU and Utah as the only other contenders for the Pac-12 South title.

Arizona would still have to take on head coach Lane Kiffin and his USC Trojans in Los Angeles, but with the Trojans still in their second year of a postseason ban, even second place would be good enough to play in the Pac-12 Championship.

OK, so ASU and Utah — the Wildcats could handle that, right?
Not so fast.

Arizona couldn’t ask for a rougher start to the season after NAU.
First, it’s preseason No. 9 Oklahoma State in Stillwater, Okla., then No. 7 Stanford and No. 3 Oregon at home. And following that, the Wildcats travel to No. 25 USC. That’s a four-week buzzsaw against top-25 teams.

While UA’s schedule is brutal, the Utah Utes aren’t scheduled to play either of Stanford or Oregon — the Wildcats and the Buffaloes of Colorado have to play both. It just doesn’t make sense. If the goal of a championship game is to have the two best teams in the conference playing each other, then it seems ill-planned to have a team that won’t even play the two best teams in the conference.

What’s done is done. Now all the Wildcats have to do is play their game.

Arizona’s been emphasizing a “No Looking Back” theme throughout camp so far, and for this first month of regular season play, the Wildcats will have to play with blinders on.

Even if they glance back, even if they blink too long, they could be 1-4 midway through the season.

From there, the schedule starts to taper down a little, so if the Wildcats can come out of the stretch still breathing, it will be considered a victory.

That’s a big if.

And on a different note, just a little advice for the powers behind scheduling Arizona football; don’t schedule a Thanksgiving weekend game against maybe one of the most random opponents ever.

Nothing says irrelevance like a visit from the Louisiana-Lafayette Ragin’ Cajuns to close out the season.

— Dan Kohler is a journalism senior. He can be reached at sports@wildcat.arizona.edu.

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