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Posts Tagged ‘Dan Buckner’

No. 71: Arizona

This time, Rich Rodriguez isn’t tiptoeing through the front door. There was never a comfort level at Michigan, where Rodriguez was pressured by the idea that he had to prove himself not just on Saturday but from Sunday to Friday, living up to the standard expected from the Wolverines’ head coach. Unlike Michigan, which warily accepted Rodriguez late in 2007 and held him at arm’s length throughout his three-year tenure, Arizona has rolled out the red carpet — come on in, make yourself comfortable, make yourself at home — what do you need? The Wildcats see in their new head coach what everyone else has forgotten: Rodriguez is unorthodox; his offense needs time to develop; he needs a steady, proven, experienced defensive coordinator to control that side of the ball; but when the pieces are in place, there aren’t many better head coaches in college football. That’s what Arizona is banking on, this idea that Rodriguez’s turn in Ann Arbor was the exception to the rule, not the rule itself. Smart move: This is going to be exciting.

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    No. 60: Arizona

    Arizona has September and October figured out. The Wildcats are 17-6 over the season’s first two months over the last three years, rising as high as 15th nationally during last year’s 7-1 start. It’s the last month-plus of the year that has given Mike Stoops and Arizona trouble since he first rejuvenated this program three seasons ago, particularly last fall: the Wildcats dropped five straight to end the year, coloring what was due to be a banner season into one defined by late-season failures. What happens to Arizona down the stretch? Answer that question – and believe me, Stoops is investigating – and you might solve the ailment that has prevented this program from joining the premier slice of the Pac-12.

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      The Countdown

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