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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

More than a game at the Alamo Bowl

There is no “”Ctrl + Z”” in sports. No undo button to swiftly wipe away the failures of the last game. No ways to suddenly make the plays, the calls, the feeling of defeat magically disappear.

The announcement that the Valero Alamo Bowl selected the Arizona Wildcats as the representative of the Pacific 10 Conference certainly wasn’t expected, considering the four-game meltdown that closed the regular season.

But that’s where the Wildcats landed. And now, they have a way to move forward from the shadow of their conference season slide.

The Wildcats have almost a month to work toward the Alamo Bowl — a matchup with No. 14 Oklahoma State that could not only clear the air surrounding the end of this season, but also grab a little momentum toward 2011.

“”We’ve got to prove something,”” quarterback Nick Foles said. “”We’re on a four-game skid and everybody, a lot of people, are probably thinking Arizona is going to tank, this and that, but we’re not.””

Regardless of the perception around the nation, Arizona can take comfort in the fact that with this bowl game comes opportunities for next season.

What awaits the Wildcats in San Antonio, Texas, is the chance to redeem the clearly frustrated program.

Stated simply, Arizona is the underdog — Oklahoma State ranks first in total offense, second in passing offense and third in scoring offense among FBS teams.

So where does this opportunity come from? Beside the unlikelihood of a shocker win, Arizona has a chance to present itself to the state of Texas.

The Wildcats don’t have to win the game, but they do need to show up.

The last time Arizona played in a bowl game was simply an embarrassment. The Wildcats left San Diego with a painful lasting image of Nebraska scoring 33 unanswered points and being outplayed in every sense of the word.

That team is reminiscent of what Arizona brought to the table in the past month.

But even showing up to the Alamodome as a cohesive team instead of the disjointed, out-of-sync Wildcats squad that has existed since late November would be considered a victory and a small piece of redemption for last year’s performance.

Challenging Oklahoma State is imperative because there’s more at stake than just the potential of another bowl game blowout.

There’s recruiting too.

A huge pipeline exists between Texas and Arizona when it comes to recruiting — 15 players on the Wildcats’ roster are from Texas.

Giving locals a good show would go far for Stoops and Co. to secure more players for the future, especially since a large chunk of the offensive and defensive lines will no longer be Wildcats after this season.

Head coach Mike Stoops said that the only thing the team could do after its double-overtime loss to ASU was to move forward. At this point, saving the perception of the program is more important than the scoreboard.

While Wildcats can’t escape the losses already on their schedule, they can move forward from the what-ifs and could-have-beens of 2010, starting on Dec. 29.

— Nicole Dimtsios is a journalism junior. She can be reached at sports@wildcat.arizona.edu

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