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The Countdown

A bottom-to-top assessment of the F.B.S. landscape heading into the 2012 season.

The Countdown

No. 46: Arizona

The Arizona desert can be unforgiving. It's still more hospitable than the Holiday Bowl.

Before touching on Arizona’s season after Dec. 5, a quick recap of what occurred during the regular season: eight wins, six in conference play; a Rose Bowl run; a win over U.S.C.; the finest season of the Mike Stoops era. Then came the Holiday Bowl. Mother of God. With little exaggeration, it could not have gone much worse. Offense? Check. Or the opposite of check, if you get my meaning: Arizona mounted 109 yards of total offense, nearly all coming with the game already decided. Special teams? Not pretty. Defense? You don’t want to know. Is it possible that an entire season’s worth of good could have been erased in 60 minutes? We’ll see in September.


Tucson, Ariz.


Returning starters
14 (10 offense, 4 defense)

Last year’s ranking
No. 45

2009 record
(8-5, 6-3)

Last year’s

No. 22

2010 schedule

  • Sept. 3
    at Toledo
  • Sept. 11
    The Citadel
  • Sept. 18
  • Sept. 25
  • Oct. 9
    Oregon St.
  • Oct. 16
    at Washington St.
  • Oct. 23
  • Oct. 30
    at U.C.L.A.
  • Nov. 6
    at Stanford
  • Nov. 13
  • Nov. 26
    at Oregon
  • Dec. 2
    Arizona St.

Last year’s prediction

The Wildcats showed me a lot last fall. Enough, in fact, that despite losing two of its top offensive performers in school history, I believe Arizona will reach bowl play for the second consecutive year. Most impressive was how an overlooked group of defenders gelled into a top-three unit in the Pac-10. With seven of those starters returning, and talented youngsters prepared to take over starting roles in the secondary and at linebacker, I believe the Arizona defense will again rank among the best in the conference. All told, I predict the Wildcats to match last fall’s regular-season win total with seven victories, and with an upset in Pac-10 play — of which the team is certainly capable — to be right alongside Oregon State for the fourth spot in the conference.

2009 recap

In a nutshell Arizona continues to improve. One year after breaking into bowl play for the first time under Mike Stoops, the Wildcats spent last fall making a run for the Rose Bowl. The team fell short, thanks to a narrow home loss to the eventual conference champion, but gained some national recognition for its eight-win finish. Six of those victories came in Pac-10 play: against rival Arizona State, high-powered Stanford and mighty U.S.C., among others. Then there’s that bowl loss. It left a sour taste in the mouths of many, this depressing conclusion to an otherwise laudable campaign. The Wildcats cannot afford a similar misstep in 2010.

High point Winning at U.S.C., a feat Arizona had not accomplished since 2000. (Arizona actually has more wins at the Coliseum, four, than it does in Tucson, three.) The four-point win allowed Arizona to clinch a second-place finish in the Pac-10, sending it to the Holiday Bowl. With disastrous results.

Low point In terms of pure ugliness, no loss can hold a candle to a 33-0 Holiday Bowl loss to Nebraska; that game was old-school, both in terms of Nebraska’s domination and Arizona’s poor performance. How things have changed. In terms of a loss making you cry in your sleep, nothing comes close to a 44-41 overtime loss to Oregon in Tucson. That gave the Ducks the head-to-head tiebreaker in the race for the Rose Bowl. Not to mention the fact that Arizona – its fans, specifically – thought the game was in the bag late in regulation. Let the circumstances that followed serve as a lesson to college-aged fans everywhere: wait until the final whistle to rush the field. Those goal posts aren’t going anywhere.

Tidbit Stoops is now the third-longest tenured coach in the Pac-10, trailing only Jeff Tedford (eight years at California) and Mike Riley (seven years at Oregon State). What did the Pac-10 look like in 2004, when Stoops took over in Tucson? Tedford was entering his third season, Riley his second. Dirk Koetter was at Arizona State, about to post the finest season of his six-year tenure. Mike Bellotti was at Oregon, of course, though about to post the only losing season of his coaching career. And Pete Carroll was at U.S.C., Buddy Teevens at Stanford, Karl Dorell at U.C.L.A., Keith Gilbertson at Washington and Bill Doba at Washington State. Only Riley, Tedford and Stoops remain.

Tidbit (100-word preview edition) Today’s guest writer is loyal reader Zaboo, whose correct answer to a quiz in the Southern Mississippi preview earned him the opportunity to write a 100-word preview of his favorite team. His team? Arizona. Take it away, Zaboo:

After coming within one win of the Pac-10 title in 2009, Arizona seeks its first Rose Bowl berth this year. Despite a disappointing performance in the Holiday Bowl, the offense should provide plenty of firepower with QB Nick Foles and a healthy Nic Grigsby at RB. Its the defense, with 7 lost starters, that will determine how far this team can go. There is reason for optimism—Arizona’s tandem of Ends should be the best in the conference—but the depleted linebacking corps is concerning. This unit could determine whether Arizona finishes first or eighth in what should be a tightly contested Pac-10.

Former players in the N.F.L.

24 RB Mike Bell (Philadelphia), LB Lance Briggs (Chicago), OT Eben Britton (Jacksonville), DE Copeland Bryan (Detroit), CB Antoine Cason (San Diego), DE Lionel Dotson (Miami), K Nick Folk (New York Jets), CB Wilrey Fontenot (Arizona), TE Rob Gronkowski (New England), FB Chris Gronkowski (Dallas), RB Chris Henry (Houston), RB Chris Jennings (Cleveland), S Michael Johnson (New York Giants), FB Spencer Larsen (Denver), TE Brandon Manumaleuna (Chicago), DT Earl Mitchell (Houston), S Nate Ness (Miami), WR Dennis Northcutt (Detroit), CB Devin Ross (Philadelphia), DE Marcus Smith (Buffalo), WR Syndric Steptoe (Cleveland), WR Mike Thomas (Jacksonville), LB Vuna Tuihalakama (Indianapolis), WR Bobby Wade (Washington).

Arbitrary top five list

Natural wonders of the world
1. Grand Canyon.
2. Great Barrier Reef.
3. Victoria Falls.
4. Mount Everest.
5. Serengeti Migration.


Mike Stoops (Iowa ’86), 33-39 after six seasons in Tucson. His Wildcats have won eight games in each of the last two seasons, with 11 of those victories coming in Pac-10 play. Last fall marked another step forward for Arizona, which was well within the Rose Bowl hunt heading into mid-November. One cannot overstate how big the 2008 season was for Stoops and the Arizona program. After being unable to get over the hump in his first four seasons, Stoops led the Wildcats to an eight-win finish, returning the program to bowl play for the first time in a decade. It took Stoops some time to get Arizona to this point. His teams went a combined 6-16 in 2004 and 2005, his first two seasons in charge, before coming very close to bowl play in both 2006 (6-6) and 2007 (5-7). After taking a slight step back in 2007, Stoops entered 2008 on the hot seat. After leading Arizona to 16 wins over the past two years — a program high since winning 18 games from 1998-99  – he has the program heading in the right direction. This is where the university pictured itself being when it hired Stoops away from Oklahoma late in 2003. He had played an important part in rebuilding that historic program, as the Sooners went 55-11 In his five seasons in Norman, time spent as the associate head coach and defensive coordinator, winning the 2000 national championship. In the five years prior, the Sooners had gone 23-33-1. and through three coaches: Gary Gibbs, Howard Schnellenberger and John Blake. Over all, through three stops as an assistant (Iowa and Kansas State before Oklahoma), Stoops compiled a record of 168-48-2 with 15 bowl appearances and the one national title. He’s come a long way since 2007, when Stoops found himself firmly upon the hot seat.

Tidbit (coaching edition) Stoops and Arizona will move forward without both of last season’s coordinators. Former offensive coordinator Sonny Dykes, whose three-year stint in Tucson went splendidly, is the new coach at Louisiana Tech. Mark Stoops, the younger brother, took the same position at Florida State. So who’s stepping in? Linebackers coach Tim Kish and new defensive backs coach Greg Brown, formerly of Colorado, will share co-defensive coordinator duties. Further, line coach Bill Bedenbaugh and running backs and tight ends coach Seth Litrell will share coordinator duties on offense. For the first time in my experience, a B.C.S. conference program has co-coordinators on both sides of the ball. That’s great. Unfortunately, it’s hard not to view the Wildcats as weaker at both offensive and defensive coordinator.

Players to watch

No Pac-10 team returns as much experience on offense. This starts under center, where the Wildcats return two quarterbacks with starting experience. The first, of course, is junior Nick Foles, an honorable mention all-conference pick in 2009. He started the last 10 games of the year, throwing for 2,486 yards and 19 touchdowns against only nine interceptions. His development, particularly under new quarterbacks coach Frank Scelfo, will be an interesting storyline to watch. While Foles continues to polish his passing skills, fellow junior Matt Scott grants the Wildcats a running option at the quarterback position. He started the first three games of the year, actually putting together some solid numbers as a passer in the season’s first two games before struggles against Iowa allowed Foles to grab the starting nod. As a runner, Scott is dangerous: he rushed for 309 yards on 7.5 yards per carry last fall. He remains a valuable asset in that regard.

If the Wildcats wished, they could very easily rely upon a bruising ground game to carry the offense. Both of last season’s top rushers return: senior Nic Grigsby’s been through the Pac-10 fire, bringing 28 career starts into his final season; while junior Keola Antolin led Arizona in rushing last fall. Only an injury to Grigsby, however, gave Antolin the opportunity to land significant carries last fall. Prior to being injured four games into the year, Grigsby was well on his way to duplicating his 1,000-yard total of 2008. His injury provided Antolin with an opportunity, and the junior should earn plenty of action even with Grigsby back at full health. The Wildcats also return sophomore Greg Nwoko (273 yards rushing, 3 scores), giving them three capable options. Keep an eye on Grigsby: all he does is produce — when healthy.

The wide receiver corps will be tested by the loss of senior Delashaun Dean, recently dismissed from the program for a violation of team rules. It’s a good thing the Wildcats are deep at the position, even if Dean, one of four receivers to make at least 42 grabs last fall, was projected to play a key role. Look for junior Juron Criner to help pick up the slack. He was Arizona’s most prolific receiving option in 2009, leading the team in receiving yards (582) and touchdowns (nine). Fellow juniors Dave Roberts (43 receptions for 410 yards) and David Douglas (31 for 320) will also hold starting roles in Arizona’s multiple-receiver base set, while another junior, Bug Wright, chipped in with 23 catches last season. The Wildcats will miss Dean, as it will miss departed starter Terrell Turner. There remains enough depth here to keep the passing game rolling.

What a difference a year makes. Last year’s offensive line was a question mark heading into the season, due to a trio of new, relatively inexperienced starters. Now, as Arizona prepares for 2010, only one starter must be replaced: left tackle Mike Diaz. He’ll be replaced by fifth-year senior Adam Grant, who will move over to the weak side from right tackle. His old tackle spot will be filled by senior Phillip Garcia, a two-game starter on the left side in 2009. The rest of the line is intact, with senior center Colin Baxter — a second-team all-conference pick last fall — an all-American contender in his final season. Baxter will be flanked by senior Conan Amituanai and junior Vaughn Dotsy. Additional depth will come from seniors Jovon Hayes and Jack Julsing, giving the Wildcats a deep, senior-laden offensive front.

There’s no doubt that Arizona faces a rebuilding job on the interior of its defensive line. It will help to have two experienced ends, as the Wildcats have with Ricky Elmore and Brooks Reed, both seniors. While Reed was hampered by injuries last fall, Elmore broke out: he finished second on the team in tackles for loss (11.5) while pacing the Wildcats in sacks (10.5), earning all-conference accolades in the process. Should Reed return to full health, watch out. He was extremely effective as a pass rusher in 2008, and could give Arizona a premier pass-rushing duo off the edge.

The interior of the line is a question mark, to be sure. Experience is enough of a concern, in fact, that a redshirt freshman, Sione Tuihalakama — of the football-playing Tuihalakamas — entered the summer atop the depth chart at tackle. Will that stand? Maybe, maybe not. It’s not as if the pair running behind Tuihalakama, juniors Dominique Austin and Jonathan Hollins, bring much more game experience to the table. Arizona does have a past starter to insert at nose tackle, senior Lolmana Mikaele, which will help matters. As a reserve last fall, Mikaele made 12 stops, 2.5 for loss.

The secondary is in good shape, despite losing starters Devin Ross and Cam Nelson, and should be the strength of the Arizona defense. This is largely due to junior cornerback Trevin Wade, a reigning second-team all-conference selection. Were Wade’s numbers (nine pass breakups, five interceptions) due to Ross lining up on the opposite side? Let’s give Wade some credit: the answer is no, and Wade is good enough to dissuade most Pac-10 quarterbacks from taking many chances by throwing in his direction. It will be vital, in this case, that former JUCO transfer Marcus Benjamin step up his game. He’s certainly able: Benjamin, who signed with L.S.U. out of high school before academics forced him to the JUCO route, earned solid feedback during the spring. Should he stumble, Arizona can turn to senior Mike Turner or junior Lyle Brown.

Junior Robert Golden has found a home. I won’t say “finally,” but it was nice to see this gifted athlete make plays at strong safety in 2009, his first season of extensive action. He was penciled in at cornerback heading into last season, but a move to safety allowed Golden to serve in the starting lineup. Now a year wiser, Golden will be a leader at safety. There is a hole at free safety, but senior Joe Perkins (25 tackles, 1 interception) is expected to step into the starting lineup.

Position battles to watch

Linebacker On a defense facing rebuilding jobs on each level, no group is a larger question mark than the Arizona linebackers. The entire corps brings zero career starts into the 2010 season. Perhaps the starting lineup was decided during the spring; until the new starting trio steps on the field, the Wildcats cannot feel confident about what they’re going to get from linebacker. An unsettled roster — and a group of unproven returning contributors — has allowed a pair of JUCO transfers to make claims to starting roles. The first is middle linebacker Derek Earls, a certain starter come September. The other is Paul Vassallo, who spent the spring mired in a competitive battle with sophomore R.J. Young on the weak side. That leaves the strong side to sophomore Jake FIscher, who is as equally inexperienced as the rest. What do we know about the Arizona linebacker corps? Absolutely nothing. No proven track record, no meaningful experience, nothing more than work on the practice field. Sometimes an open two-deep becomes an opportunity, however. Maybe Earls and Vassallo are immediately productive; Fischer takes to the strong side; or players like Young, Trevor Emo, Cordarius Golston and C.J. Parrish step up. It remains to be seen.

Game(s) to watch

The three most important Pac-10 games, in ascending order: U.C.L.A., Oregon State, Oregon. And that list doesn’t include hated Arizona State; the Wildcats have taken two straight in the series. The entire conference schedule is littered with must-see action, to be honest. The September rematch with Iowa — the Hawkeyes won by 10 points last fall — this time in Tucson, is one of the better non-conference games of the year.

Season breakdown & prediction

In a nutshell What would this offense be capable of if Dykes had returned, joining a depth chart littered with experience on this side of the ball? It doesn’t help to consider such scenarios, of course: Arizona has what it has, which despite losses among the coaching staff and on defense remains enough to propel the Wildcats to a third consecutive bowl appearance. Before going any further, a question: Can Arizona win six games in Pac-10 play, as it did a year ago? The Wildcats would have to so in order to post another eight-win finish. I’m not sure if this team can do so. Part of this is due to a stacked conference, one that might not have a viable national title contender — no offense to Oregon, of course — but has eight very clear bowl teams. Where does Arizona figure in that mix? Quite easily ahead of Washington State, Arizona State and Washington, in my opinion. This program has turned a corner, and doesn’t deserve to have its bowl chances even questioned. However, I don’t think the Wildcats have what it takes to play with Oregon or U.S.C. — I’m still including the Trojans in the conversation — and even lags behind Oregon State, whose final record, due to a tough non-conference slate, won’t reflect how good it can be. Instead, Arizona is stuck in a logjam in the middle of the Pac-10, whose denizens include the Wildcats, U.C.L.A, California and Stanford. I’ll hedge my bets by saying Arizona is certainly capable of finishing ahead of that latter trio; even as high as third, should the defense round into form. With their questions, however, this is a logical spot.

Dream season The improvement continues: 10-2, 8-1 in the Pac-10, in the Rose Bowl.

Nightmare season Call it a Holiday Bowl hangover. The Wildcats are unable to recapture last season’s momentum, and slide below .500 for the first time since 2007.

In case you were wondering

Where do Arizona fans congregate? Take a trip to GoAZCats.com and Wildcat Scoop, the two big boys among Arizona fan sites. Don’t sleep on UASports.net, a fine independent Web site. For a blog’s take, check out Arizona Desert Swarm and Wildcat Sports Report.

Up Next

Who is No. 45? Our next university’s home state is site of the nation’s first round courthouse. I heard another one was built in the 1960s in Ohio, but I can’t get any confirmation.

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  1. katster says:

    oh yeah, all the way to Reno…

    I thought Nevada had been done, but looking at the list, I’m wrong. That’s who’s next.

  2. Jim Narby says:

    Nebraska is up next

  3. 6hearts says:

    “For the first time in my experience, a B.C.S. conference program has co-coordinators on both sides of the ball.”

    With the amount of research you do, Paul, I would have figured you would have known Rutgers has Kyle Flood and Kirk Ciarrocca as co-offensive coordinators and Bob Fraser and Ed Pinckham co-coordinating the D for the past two years.

    Paul: Damn. Nice job by you. Far more common outside the B.C.S.

  4. Different Stoops says:

    Mark left for FSU. Mike is still there. I get them confused.

  5. dc4azcats says:

    You’re way off with Arizona at 46?

    As for the question can Arizona win 6 pac 10 games again TY? Lets see, they have 5 conference home games where they’ve gone 14-5 the last 3 years at home with a 5-1 record LY (only loss was to Oregon in OT). We also play Wazzu on the road. That’s 6 wins right there. Look at the rest of the conference and tell me who has a better conference home schedule?

    I’m sure you also noticed that Arizona has a bye before the Oregon State game. I’m also guessing that you know the odds increase significantly when the home team as a bye and the opposing team does not? Did you even bother to look at who we play at home? Did you look at what the other schools have at home and on the road?

    You have Stanford, and ucla ranked ahead of Arizona? Stanford is 6 and 17 on the road the last 4 years and all of those wins have either been in the state of Washington or at SC.

    ucla is 6-16 on the road the last 4 seasons.

    What would this offense be capable of if Dykes returned? We would score plus 30 with or with-out dykes because this offense is a system and the system is in it’s 4th year which means the vast majority of these guys have been running it since they stepped foot on campus.

    You do know that the co-coordinators were promoted from within don’t you? They understand the offense with both coaches having been at Arizona for the last 2 and 3 years recpectively and they both coached at Texas Tech under Leach? What else do you want them to know as it relates to what Arizona does on offense?

    In the 3 years that Arizona has run this offense they averaged 27.4, 36.6, and 28 points per season. With what Arizona has returning it certainly is not out of the question that this offense will put close to 30 points or more on the board per game.

    Defensively, please tell me the last time Mike Stoops fielded a team that had a crapppy defense? You know one that couldn’t stop the run or the pass? Seriously?
    It doesn’t matter whether we return 3 guys or 9 guys – you can count on Stoops D to be good.

    You butchered this prediction big time.

  6. You can't really butcher a prediction says:

    You can butcher the facts of what has happened, but a prediction cannot be butchered until the event has com to pass.

  7. MDSmith says:

    Washington returns as much or more on offense than Arizona….better quarterback, better running back(s)and much better receivers. And, Washington returns 9 starters on defense and has a much deeper and better secondary and linebackers. Sorry, you analysis sucks.

  8. dc4azcats says:

    Washington? What did Polk gain against Arizona LY? Was it 34 or 35 yards?

    Returning 9 starters from what was a horrible defense is not good news. Wazzu was the only pac 10 team that had a defense worse that UW. I wouldn’t be so quick to rave about a defense that gave up more points than it’s offense scored.

    “Washington returns as much or more on than Arizona”? Really? That would be the UW offense that scored 26 points a game LY versus a UA offense that scored close to 30 points a game LY. How does that work?

    UW plays at SC, at Arizona, at Oregon and at Cal. That’s 4 tough road games for a team that hasn’t won on the road in forever.

    Nice effort.

  9. Jeff says:

    Arizona preseason rankings:

    Pre-Snap Read 46th
    SportingNews 35th
    Rivals 48th

    They’re really pretty much in-line with everyone else.

  10. dc4azcats says:

    Phil Steele 25th. Did you miss that one?

    Phil Steele was also the only person outside of Ted Miller who had Arizona finishing in the top half of the conference last year.

  11. your mom says:

    most CATS fans get their info from Pointguardu.com, you know the sight that doesn’t charge people for up to the minute news.

  12. Jeff says:

    I didn’t see Phil Steele’s rankings since I just read the unit rankings and previews. Pretty sure he’s the only one with Arizona in the top 25. That’s hardly the consensus.

  13. Jim Narby says:

    dc4azcats sounds like a disgruntled nebraska fan.

  14. dc4azcats says:

    My point is that I would put Phil Steeles knowledge way past the other guys as he goes in depth and actually looks at things like depth, home and away schedule.

    As for Sporting News – Jon Wilner (San Jose Mercury News) did the write up on the Pac 10 and I know that he had Arizona ranked pretty high. Problem was – the TSN editors decided on the rankings not the guys who actually wrote the write-ups. So who would you believe? Somebody who actually lives in the Pac 10 footprint or a group of guys who know SC and next to nothing else?

    Do I think Arizona should be ranked in the 40′s? No, I would be more inclined to put Arizona anywhere between #25 and #35.

  15. dc4azcats says:

    What bothers me is people who don’t do their homework or take the easy way out. It’s easy to put Arizona at 40 something.

    Do a little work and look at how the schedule lines up in Arizona’s favor. Look at the co-coordintaors and realize that the 2 guys on Offense know this offense and the Arizona personnel as well as anybody including Sonny Dykes and that we won’t have a drop off.

    Know enough that Mike Stoops always has a good defense regardless of number of returnees.

    That’s the difference between a guy who writes for Rivals and say Phil Steele.

    I like what Paul does here and I’ve been following it closely this year as I was very interested as to where he would have Arizona. My guess was somewhere in the 30′s.

  16. Jeff says:

    “My point is that I would put Phil Steeles knowledge way past the other guys as he goes in depth and actually looks at things like depth, home and away schedule.”

    I dont really care who has Arizona where. All that matters to me is that every publication has us out of the 80′s and 90′s, and we’re at least 44th on Pre-Snap Read. Phil Steele has us 31st, by the way.

  17. Zaboo says:

    You could put the Pac-10 top 8 in any order and you won’t get laughed out of the room. Do I think this is too low? Yes. But the Pac-10 will be so tightly competitive, almost any prediction is viable.

    That said, Stanford and UCLA have both lasted too long on the countdown, IMO. My guess is both finish below UW and UA.

  18. dc4azcats says:

    My Phil Steele – 2010 edition has us 25th in his top 40 rankings. Page #29

  19. Chaddogg says:

    Personally? I’m just thrilled that Northwestern still hasn’t appeared on the countdown. Top 44 or better? Awesome.

    I’m sure Fitz and the Wildcats are coming up soon, but I hope it’s not until AFTER Michigan (who I firmly believe will be worse than Northwestern this year)….

  20. Jeff says:

    “My Phil Steele – 2010 edition has us 25th in his top 40 rankings. Page #29″

    I could see how my post was confusing, but I’m not an Arizona fan, I’m a Temple fan.

  21. dc4azcats says:

    So Jeff, do you agree with Phil Steele as it relates to where he has Temple ranked? If so would you be upset if somebody else has them ranked 50th?

  22. TresselBall says:

    Chaddogg, no question the purples are better then that state up north. I mean, please.

    And wow, the hate from the PAC10 fans all the time is something…

  23. Burnt Orange says:

    Arizona will be ambushed at Toledo Week 1 !

  24. OskiGoDumb says:

    “5 conference home games where they’ve gone 14-5 the last 3 years at home with a 5-1 record LY (only loss was to Oregon in OT). We also play Wazzu on the road. That’s 6 wins right there.”

    dc4azcats , you’ve penciled in six conference wins already!? Good to know, I guess I can make other plans for 9/25. Seriously, you’ve just chalked up victories against Oregon St., Cal, UW and USC? And your rivalry game?

    Let’s see:
    OSU – you’ve lost four straight at home
    Cal – you’ve lost five of the last seven in the series
    UW – lost two of last three at home vs. some of the worst UW teams ever
    USC – again, you’ve lost four straight at home

    3-2 would be a very good Pac-10 home record for Arizona this year. Better than that will be VERY difficult.

  25. george howley says:

    New mexico has not been reported on? Have difficulty believing this but the original legislative building was converted to a courthouse.

  26. dc4azcats says:

    oskigodumb – did I say that we would win all 5 conference home games? I said we had 5 conference home games not that we would win 5. That being said – I’ll certainly take our chances that we have another good season at home.

    Let’s see

    OSU – we beat them LY in Corvallis and we have a bye week before we play them this year. While Arizona has a bye – the beavs play assu. Arizona held Quizz to 85 yards rushing LY – how about you guys? 159 on 18 carries and 2 TD’s.

    Cal – You do know that we’ve beat Cal 2 straight at home right? Both times Cal was ranked 8th and 25th respectively.

    UW – You return 9 starters from one of the worse D’s in the conference. UW hasn’t won a road game in over 2 years. You also won’t have the home town refs in the review booth either. I wonder if that will get any hype before our game? Arizona plays Wazzu the week before and UW plays Oregon State. Just saying.

    SC – we beat them at SC LY. The last time SC came to Tucson it was a 17-10 game and a guy named Sanchez was the QB.

    Assu – you left them out? We’ve won 2 straight.

  27. dc4azcats says:

    Burnt Orange – Toledo gave up 38 points a game LY and 404 yards of offense. When you give up 38 and only score 30 – you’re in trouble.

    Stoops is from Ohio and this will be a huge game for him personally – I seriously doubt that Arizona will be looking past Toledo.

  28. dc4azcats says:

    I guess I did say 6 wins. I honestly meant to say a possible 6 wins but I’ll stand behind my original statement. Its a favorable schedule for Arizona and the Zona Zoo will be rocking!!!

    Paul: No doubt about the latter. Was very impressed by the home field crowd last fall. And impressed by your dedication.

  29. Burnt Orange says:

    dc4azcats- just going with the hard count to slow the fierce Wildcat rush on here. I really do not see it happening either though your AD has violated one of my cardinal rules of life – “if you are a BSC conference school, do not schedule away games at Troy, MTSU, Toledo or Louisiana- Lafayette. (or New Mexico I might add) It’s right there between “do not get involved in land wars in Asia” and “do not date a woman who sends her food back at restaurants or owns a horse.” Bear down.

  30. OskiGoDumb says:

    “UW – You return 9 starters from one of the worse D’s in the conference. UW hasn’t won a road game in over 2 years. You also won’t have the home town refs in the review booth either”

    Now I’m just offended, dc4azcats! How did you get U-Dub fan from “I guess I can make other plans for 9/25″? Or my name?

  31. Jeff says:

    “So Jeff, do you agree with Phil Steele as it relates to where he has Temple ranked? If so would you be upset if somebody else has them ranked 50th?”

    I dont know if we’re #31 good, but I think we’re top 40 good, and certainly top 50. I was upset that Rivals had us 58th, but it’s not a big deal. I wouldn’t complain about top 50 right now, considering we’ve hovered around 117-120/120 for almost the entire last 10 years.

  32. dc4azcats says:

    Oskigodumb – my bad, I guess I’m getting old as I saw the ‘ski and immediately went purple as I thought about the hose job Arizona received LY in Seattle.

    Look forward to the game on 9/25 as it always seems to be a very intense game.

  33. dc4azcats says:

    Oski – I would also add as it relates to the schedule that we face Cal on the back end of back to back roadies.

    The game with Cal will be a big one as we will have played Iowa the week before which is a huge game then you guys are the first conference game. Huge couple of weeks.

    The plus for us is that it’s still a little warm in September – bring lots of water and leave the long sleeve clothing at home.

  34. [...] Paul Myerberg is getting you ready for the upcoming college football season over at Pre-Snap Read. The Quad will also feature a daily look at each of Paul’s top 50 teams in the country heading into the season opener. Today’s team, No. 46, is Arizona. You can a larger Arizona preview here. [...]

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