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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    Rose Bowl ready?

    Wildcat tight end Rob Gronkowski races downfield during Arizonas 48-14 win over Washington Saturday night at Arizona Stadium. Gronkowski had three touchdown catches against the Huskies and five scores overall on just eight catches this season.
    Wildcat tight end Rob Gronkowski races downfield during Arizona’s 48-14 win over Washington Saturday night at Arizona Stadium. Gronkowski had three touchdown catches against the Huskies and five scores overall on just eight catches this season.

    CL Keedy strolled about in the Arizona press box Saturday night, dressed in a navy blue blazer with a small Rose Bowl insignia embroidered on his pocket – certainly a new sight in Tucson.

    Keedy, the chairman of the Rose Bowl’s football committee, took in the scene at Arizona Stadium as part of the Rose Bowl’s plan to send representatives to a handful of home games for both Pacific 10 Conference and Big Ten Conference contests, in an effort to familiarize themselves with possible contenders for the annual BCS bowl game on Jan. 1.

    While the stop was nothing more than a routine visit, Keedy, among others, votes on which squads could play in the Rose Bowl at the end of the season.

    Though the Rose Bowl is still a very lofty goal for the Wildcats, a 48-14 thrashing of Washington Saturday night may have left a lasting impression on a Rose Bowl representative.

    “”I think (Arizona) is looking good this year,”” Keedy said. “”I was at the Arizona-UCLA game (when the Wildcats won 31-10) and I liked that one, too.””

    Arizona’s win Saturday keeps the Wildcats at the top of the Pac-10 standings heading into their third conference game next weekend against Stanford in Palo Alto, Calif. Even with seven games remaining on the conference slate – more than enough to throw Arizona off its winning track – the Wildcats are finally starting to earn some recognition.

    It must be nice for Arizona, especially from a man like Keedy.

    “”Last year I was one of four that voted who was going to be in (the Rose Bowl),”” Keedy said. “”We were looking who was going to replace Ohio State and we wanted the Big Ten so we picked Illinois because that was the tradition.

    “”We are a traditional bowl,”” Keedy added. “”We like the Big Ten and Pac-10 matchup, and whenever we can get it we will get it and that’s really what we are about.””

    Rose Bowl aspirations are perceived by most – including members of the Wildcats – as crazy talk this early in the season for a team that has never made the January trip to Pasadena. Still, Arizona’s dominating win over the Huskies Saturday night continues to legitimize a team that so many have been skeptical of the entire season.

    Every member of this year’s Arizona squad – whether they are a freshman or senior – is used to the program being somewhat of an afterthought. But as the wins keep piling up, Arizona is creeping closer and closer to being a centerpiece of the Pac-10 conversation.

    And it comes because of Arizona’s dominance on the field.

    In years past, Arizona found itself in a close game with just about every team it played, regardless of the level of the opposition. This season, the Wildcats aren’t only matching up with every team they face, they are blowing under-matched squads out.

    “”That’s what we are supposed to do,”” said receiver Delashaun Dean. “”We prepare for everyone the same, even not teams that are so good. We prepare for them like they are the best. We just want to come out and do our job every game and that’s what we are doing.””

    In all of Arizona’s wins this season, the Wildcats have won by at least 21 points – including the 70-0 rout of Idaho and 41-16 blowout of Toledo.

    And the increasing recognition is starting to become visible, whether it is in national conference conversation or Arizona receiving five votes in this week’s Associated Press top-25 poll.

    “”We should definitely be in the top 25,”” said reserve quarterback Bryson Beirne, who saw the field against the Huskies. “”It’s nice for all of this hard work to finally pay off for everybody. The first day after the ASU loss last year we just started working and working and it’s nice to finally be like this right now. But then again, we’re not done yet.””

    Certainly not.

    Members of the Wildcats are refusing to succumb to a little added attention, especially with that glaring loss to New Mexico on their record. Theoretically, Arizona could be 5-0 and somewhere in the mid-teens in the polls, but offensive lineman Eben Britton said the loss to the Lobos was a direct result of the team getting too excited about its 2-0 start.

    “”When guys don’t come out ready to play and they are not focused and they think we are just going to win, New Mexico is what happens to us,”” Britton said. “”I think (the New Mexico loss) was the best thing that could have happened to us because we were coming off two big wins and we just thought we were going to go in there and roll over them. If we don’t come out ready to play, that’s not going to happen with this team.””

    Even with all the struggles the Wildcats have experienced under head coach Mike Stoops, do the Wildcats think they are that good?

    “”No, I don’t think so,”” Britton said.

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