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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    Trash talk to heat up

    Arizona cornerback Antoine Cason tackles former ASU tight end Zach Miller in last years Territorial Cup game at Arizona Stadium, which ASU won 28-14. Cason has been responding to Sun Devil quarterback Rudy Carpenters preseason trash talk and expects to do more yapping on the field in this Saturdays Cup game in Tempe.
    Arizona cornerback Antoine Cason tackles former ASU tight end Zach Miller in last year’s Territorial Cup game at Arizona Stadium, which ASU won 28-14. Cason has been responding to Sun Devil quarterback Rudy Carpenter’s preseason trash talk and expects to do more ‘yapping’ on the field in this Saturday’s Cup game in Tempe.

    Only one game remains in the Pacific 10 Conference regular season schedule. That means only one thing in the state of Arizona: it’s rivalry week.

    The Wildcats’ matchup with No. 13 ASU in Saturday’s Territorial Cup is being played one week later on the calendar this year, and it’s drawn a surplus of trash talk from players, some sparked by Sun Devil quarterback Rudy Carpenter before the season began.

    For Wildcat players, it’s only added motivation.

    “”To hear Rudy Carpenter before the season say he’s going to throw five touchdown passes on us, that’s just awesome for me,”” said UA cornerback Antoine Cason. “”I like to hear that from him.

    “”He likes to talk. He’s going to say a lot this week and I’m ready for it.””

    Carpenter and the Sun Devils (9-2, 6-2 Pac-10) are coming off a Thanksgiving night game in which they were shellacked at home by No. 8 USC 44-24. The game had tremendous Rose Bowl implications – because USC won, it now sits in the driver’s seat for the Pac-10 championship game.

    Arizona (5-6, 4-4) can not only eliminate ASU’s hopes of making the Rose Bowl, but also possibly gain a bowl bid of their own.

    “”I was watching the game and having a good time watching ASU get spanked,”” Cason said. “”It was good to see that, because they like to talk a lot. That’s just how they are. I was rooting for ‘SC.

    “”I do a lot of talking. You will see me yapping a lot this week. … It gets ugly sometimes. That’s just the beauty of rivalry competitions. … It just heats the game up that much more and makes it a better game.””

    Cason and other players said there will be more trash talk than just spoken words through the media. On the field, the rivalry brings out the fire from both teams.

    “”Last year, I think we were both kind of mediocre teams and so we really didn’t have much to trash talk,”” said linebacker Spencer Larsen. “”This year I think there will probably be more of that. Just watching the USC game, I think their players like getting into that.””

    Larsen recalled a game his freshman season in 2002 when current ASU coach Dennis Erickson was the coach at Oregon State and his players did a lot of on-field trash talk.

    “”They were a nasty group of players,”” Larsen said. “”I don’t think that’s a reflection of Coach Erickson, but I think he lets them go out and play and he’s very good at that.

    “”That Oregon State group was a mean group of kids.””

    Stoops’s attitude different from a month ago

    A month ago today, Arizona’s record was 2-6, and the thought of making a bowl game had been all but thrown out the window. Then the team had a late-game comeback against Washington, sparking the current three-game winning streak and reviving bowl hopes.

    Players claim that UA head coach Mike Stoops has become more relaxed since the Stanford loss on Oct. 20, which has in turn brought a looser environment.

    “”His attitude definitely rubs off on the players,”” Larsen said. “”When we feel him getting pressured and uptight, we definitely do the same.””

    Larsen and other players have said consistently throughout the win streak that they are playing looser and with a new attitude.

    “”We have to go in loose, kind of like we have the last few weeks,”” Stoops said. “”I think our kids are more relaxed. We have nothing to lose in this game.””

    Cason added: “”The whole atmosphere is different. Everyone is having more fun, and that comes with wins.””

    Pac-10 parity draws up ‘what-if’ scenario

    Throughout all the parity in college football this season, there may be no conference with more parity than the Pac-10. So much so, in fact, that UCLA would represent the conference in the Rose Bowl with a 7-5 record should it upset USC this weekend and Arizona upset ASU.

    The situation has allowed teams like Arizona to perhaps enter the bowl picture with six wins due to the bunching in the middle of the conference standings.

    A bit of a shocking scenario: if the Wildcats had one more conference victory, they would be in position to be the Rose Bowl representative with a win over ASU.

    To get to a bowl game, Arizona must win. Then it could be eligible for the Armed Forces Bowl in Fort Worth, Texas, the Las Vegas Bowl or San Francisco’s Emerald Bowl.

    “”We have no chance if we don’t win,”” Stoops said. “”If we win, then you have a lot of opportunities that will present themselves, hopefully. That’s something that’s out of our hands. All we can do is win.””

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