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Posts Tagged ‘Matt Scott’

Pick 10, F.B.S. Notebook: Week 2 (Sept. 8)

Let’s not beat around the bush: this isn’t a great week. I mean, it’s great – better than what we’re used to, better than any non-football weekend – but it’s not great, all things considered. There’s no Michigan and Alabama to end the night; there’s no prime-time game on ABC at all, in fact. Instead, we’ll close our night with Nebraska and U.C.L.A., Georgia and Missouri and, later on, Arizona and Oklahoma State. Very, very intriguing games. But with perhaps the exception of Georgia, depending on how highly you think of the Bulldogs, these games don’t carry any title implications. That doesn’t make the games any less interesting – or change the fact that every game, especially while teams find their footing, carries some level of importance. Let’s run down the entire weekend’s action.

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    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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        Arizona’s Back from Holiday

        Our last memory of Nick Foles: Arizona's loss to Nebraska in last year's Holiday Bowl.

        The last time we saw the Arizona offense it was the Holiday Bowl, when the Wildcats racked up paltry amounts of yardage in a 33-0 Nebraska loss to Nebraska. Not a great way to end the season, right? Especially after the way Arizona concluded Pac-10 play, ending the regular season with a very meaningful win over U.S.C.; in fact, it was that win that gave Arizona possession of second place in the conference, earning it the date with the Cornhuskers in San Diego. Good news led to bad news, as there’s no question that how a team performs in its final game of the season carries over through spring ball, summer workouts and into fall camp — perhaps even into the first quarter of the first game of the following season. If that is the case, and a poor finish stays with a team for more than nine months, one wonders how good the Wildcats would have looked last night had they shutout Nebraska, not vice versa.

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          The Countdown

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