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The Daily Wildcat

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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    Staff picks

    How will Arizona finish?

    It’s hard to imagine another mediocre season under Mike Stoops. The team has taken steps the last few years, but now it finally appears to be headed in the right direction. The defense is already sound, and the addition of Sonny Dykes just might be what the doctor ordered to cure the anemic Wildcat offense. It really is now or never. So start saving up your money, because on Dec. 22 you’re gonna be staying at the Palms in Vegas.

    8-4, Las Vegas Bowl

    Mike Ritter
    assistant sports editor

    This year is all or nothing for the Wildcats. With 19 returning starters on the roster, they better take advantage of the experienced players they have, because next year they’ll have waved goodbye to most of them. Instead of worrying about bowling, which maybe could have been a distraction last year, it may be a good idea to concentrate on football.

    Arizona 9-3, Sun Bowl

    Ari Wasserman
    sports writer

    Sure, it’s been nine long years for Arizona football fans, but it will all be worth it for one long weekend in December when fans can watch the Wildcats in the Las Vegas Bowl on the 22nd. After coming oh so close a year ago, the squad can taste blood in terms of reaching a bowl. Expect a field rushing around the time of the Oregon game Nov. 15 if not the UCLA Homecoming game to celebrate an elusive bowl berth.

    7-5, Las Vegas Bowl

    Michael Schwartz
    assistant sports editor

    Call me critical, but I just don’t see it. I don’t see myself spending my winter holiday watching the Arizona football team in its first bowl appearance since 1998. Not that I have psychic powers, but you can’t deny a woman’s instinct. Expect a season much like last year: Lose early, win too late.

    6-6, No bowl

    Melissa Krueger
    sports editor


    Team MVP

    He’s the poster boy for Arizona football for a reason. He’s a playmaker, a game-changer and a damn good cornerback. He did all he needed to do in a college uniform before this season, and there’s no reason why he can’t continue that success. The new offense is the talk of the town, but Antoine Cason is still the best player on the team.

    Antoine Cason

    Mike Ritter
    assistant sports editor

    We already know the defense is good. We already know Antoine Cason is a lights-out corner, and we already know that Louis Holmes is going to have more sacks than a potato farm. What has been under the radar is the wide receivers. But in this year’s new spread offense, expect the receivers to step up. Expect Mike Thomas to be on the receiving end of more bullets than 50 Cent.

    Mike Thomas

    Ari Wasserman
    sports writer

    This is a no-brainer, because as long as quarterback Willie Tuitama’s brain remains intact this season he will lead the Wildcats to the promised land. In seven years as an assistant coach at Texas Tech, new offensive coordinator Sonny Dykes never fielded quarterback who missed a start. If that’s the case with Tuitama, he will live up to the hype his name has generated since he stepped foot on campus.

    Willie Tuitama

    Michael Schwartz
    assistant sports editor

    Not really into hype – couldn’t even get on the Beckham bandwagon – so that cancels out Antoine Cason. And picking the quarterback for MVP is just too clichǸ. So I’m pulling for the underdog – well, an underdog who lead the team last year with 89 tackles, one interception and three recovered fumbles.

    Spencer Larsen

    Melissa Krueger
    sports editor


    Upset

    At this point in the Mike Stoops era, there are no upsets on Homecoming, not even if the Wildcats beat the San Diego Chargers. It’s almost expected of them now, no matter who they play. This year should bring a plethora of upsets, although the biggest one will come at the expense of Heisman Trophy candidate DeSean Jackson and the California Golden Bears.

    California

    Mike Ritter
    assistant sports editor

    I don’t know what I’m thinking, but I can’t go against this urge. I have a funny feeling about USC this year. The Wildcats played them tough last year, and with this team’s experience, I don’t think it would be that unreasonable. Heck, if Oregon State can do it, the Wildcats can do it … they are Beavers, for goodness sake.

    USC

    Ari Wasserman
    sports writer

    Remember, remember, the fifth of November. Every Wildcat upperclassman remembers what happened on that day in 2005, a Homecoming afternoon impressive enough to inspire hope in even the most pessimistic Arizona fans. Fans rushed the field, and for one day it felt like Arizona stood atop the football world. Welcome to Homecoming 2007, Bruins. Care for seconds?

    UCLA

    Michael Schwartz
    assistant sports editor

    Picking UCLA would be just too easy. The chances of Arizona beating Cal for the second year in a row are more slim, and it’s actually an upset. So the Wildcats win, but Cason gets burned by DeSean Jackson at least twice.

    California

    Melissa Krueger
    sports editor


    X-factor

    Arizona’s opponents certainly know who he is. But do they know how good he might be? Mike Stoops doesn’t like talking about him, because he doesn’t want to give away too much information about him. He’ll be one of the few true freshmen to play this season.He’s the secret weapon of an offense that might utilize the tight end position for more passing this season.

    Rob Gronkowski

    Mike Ritter
    assistant sports editor

    Every year there is something new to get excited about in the Arizona football program. Last year was the emergence of Willie Tuitama as the starting quarterback. This year, it is the hiring of Texas Tech offensive coordinator Sonny Dykes. Arizona’s new spread offense, implemented by Dykes, should be filled with a bunch of tricks, and they aren’t just for kids.

    The spread offense

    Ari Wasserman
    sports writer

    No motor can run without an engine. If Dykes’ high-powered attack is to work, it will need Jennings to pull the load. Dykes’ Texas Tech running backs averaged more than five yards per carry the past four years, including at least 5.9 three of the last four years. Jennings averaged 4.3 yards per carry last season, which he needs to increase. If he can run through them, this offense may be – believe it or not – fairly dangerous.

    Chris Jennings

    Michael Schwartz
    assistant sports editor

    The unknown for the past few years has been, well, constant: the offensive line. And the only starting senior on that line is Peter Graniello. You can’t run a successful football program with a quarterback that’s eating grass every other play, but I’m sure Sonny Dykes is aware of that.

    Peter Graniello

    Melissa Krueger
    sports editor

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