Good-Bye, Bye: Bowl projections as the Cats hit the home stretchby Scott Terrell on Nov. 01, 2009, under Sports
Rest time is over. The final bye week has passed for both players and fans. The stretch run is officially here, and Arizona is right in the thick of things.
Five games in five weeks, each with significance: Bowl eligibility. A winning season. The best team in the conference. The Territorial Cup. The league standard.
Are you ready for this? The entire spectrum of possibilities is out there, from a losing season to the Rose Bowl and everything in between. The year could end in ecstasy, or it could end in outrage.
Speaking of outrage, let me help you with that Oregon/USC comment:
Are you happy now, DUCK LOVER?!?? Not only are we not in first place but now Oregon is the greatest rushing team since the ’95 HUSKERS. We are going to get KILLED!!!!exclamationpoints!!
Yeah, I certainly didn’t expect that game to end in a blowout. But a couple things: 1) If I have to play the ’95 Huskers I’d rather do it at home, and 2) Oregon has just as many Pac-10 championships as we do over the past eight years. We’ll have to see how well the bull’s-eye fits on their outrageous uniforms.
I used my bye week to track down my crystal ball and see what the rest of the season has in store. Here’s what the Pac-10 bowl picture will look like if the favorite wins every remaining game (when in doubt I went with the home team):
|Oregon||11-1||9-0||Stan, ASU, UA, OSU|
|USC||10-2||7-2||ASU, Stan, UCLA, UA|
|Cal||9-3||6-3||OSU, UA, UW|
|UCLA||6-6||3-6||UW, WSU, ASU|
A couple more things: 1) As bad as UCLA has been you can’t yet eliminate them from the bowl competition because they still play the three other teams in the dump competition. 2) It was a lot of fun writing “none” next to Arizona State.
If these are in fact the final standings the bowl scenarios are pretty clear. The Emerald Bowl has the fourth pick so Stanford would be staying in the Bay Area. I believe the Vegas Bowl would want to avoid a repeat so they would take Oregon State leaving Arizona with the Poinsettia Bowl in San Diego.
However, if Oregon and USC both win out the Pac-10 stands a really good chance of finally getting two teams into BCS bowls. If it happens and Cal gets bumped up to the Holiday Bowl I think the Sun Bowl takes Arizona over OSU and Stanford due to proximity and length of time since our last appearance.
Now, we all know things aren’t going to play out exactly according to the script. There are upsets out there and we wouldn’t watch the games without them. Some teams aren’t going to play nice when they face the big boys. Let’s hope Arizona is one of them.
The reality is every single Pac-10 bowl is still in play for the UA – as is making no bowl at all. Your Top-Teens Wildcats have done a great job of getting to this point with a lot of options intact, but they still haven’t locked up anything.
If you look at it like the NFL this is the last week of the regular season. The Wildcats are fighting for a wild card spot and they’re playing the team with the #1 pick in the draft. Arizona is expecting to make the playoffs but you have to win the game. It doesn’t matter how well you planned on playing against the good teams in the postseason if you don’t beat the bad team to make the tournament.
Just because I called for us to be conservative personnel-wise against Washington State doesn’t mean I think we should use a conservative game plan. If I’m Mr. Dykes I would call an up-the-middle run (with Nick Booth) on my first snap, and then I would go no-huddle until the game was out of reach. Put Foles in the shotgun, give him three- and four-wide sets and let him pick Wazzu apart.
I don’t want to play any injured players but I want the guys out there to play aggressively. I definitely want the coaches to coach aggressively. Go for it on fourth-and-short. Blitz on third-and-long. Have a trick play ready, just in case. Attack, attack, attack. We have bowl eligibility to secure and a homecoming crowd to entertain.
It’s time to make the playoffs.