Decision 2012: Fans face choice as Arizona Football prepares for Oregonby Scott Terrell on Sep. 17, 2012, under Sports
All through the offseason the Arizona Wildcats’ new football coach talked about how positive everyone had been because he was still undefeated. Three games into his tenure at the UA and Rich Rodriguez’s record is still spotless.
Now things get interesting, as the Cats jump into conference play against the Oregon Ducks, who are riding a Pac-12 three-pete and boasting a victory in last year’s Rose Bowl.
How are We The People going to approach this week? Well, you’re just going to have to choose your own adventure.
Before the season started the majority of Wildcat fans would’ve been content with a 6-6 record and a low-level bowl bid. The majority of Wildcat fans, however, expected a loss to Oklahoma State. Have things changed now that you’ve seen RichRod and Matt Scott work together to produce a ton of yards and three wins?
If you think Arizona is ready to go toe-to-toe with the Ducks, go to Section 2.
If you think the Oregon game is a freebie because the goal is still 6 wins, go to Section 3.
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There was a lot of anxiousness before the Toledo game. There were a number of questions after the Toledo game. The Oklahoma State victory changed everything.
The Cats are better than expected and Rodriguez shouldn’t sandbag anymore with quotes about not being there yet, or having a long way to go. You win at Oregon and you are there.
USC lost! Everybody’s favorite to trample the Pac-12 South (if not the entire conference, if not the entire country) is 0-1 in league play. The Trojans still have to play at Utah, at Washington and at UCLA. They host Oregon on Nov. 3 but where do they play the week before in a textbook trap game? Oh, that’s right, Arizona Stadium.
If it’s not USC then…?
Arizona is ranked just one slot lower than Stanford was last week. The Ducks are sitting one rung lower than where USC was perched before falling.
Oregon’s quarterback, freshman Marcus Mariota, has never played in a Pac-12 conference game; Matt Scott is a fifth-year senior. The hope Arizona had going into the Oklahoma State game was that the Cowboys’ freshman QB would make a rookie mistake at a crucial moment. He did.
If Scott plays the way he’s played the first three weeks of this season, Arizona will have the quarterback advantage this Saturday. How often can you say that against the No. 3 team in the country?
Oregon is seventh in the nation in total offense. Arizona is fourth, against a significantly tougher non-conference schedule.
Oregon head coach Chip Kelly has one BCS bowl win; RichRod built three teams that won BCS bowl games. And is there a defensive coordinator in the world who has more experience against the spread offense than Jeff Casteel?
Why not Ka’Dream big?
If you are fired up to pluck the Ducks, go to Section 5.
If you’re having second thoughts, go to Section 3.
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With a 3-0 record RichRod is ahead of schedule at Arizona. But he’s not that far ahead of schedule.
The talent gap is too wide. Oregon has De’Anthony Thomas producing seven touchdowns on just 24 touches with a guy scoring 10 TDs in a game waiting in the wings.
Arizona is rebuilding. Oregon has already remodeled, refinanced and begun adding on.
In the last four meetings the Ducks have scored 55, 44, 48 and 56 points on Arizona. Rome wasn’t built in a day and it’s not reasonable to expect RichRod to topple Nike U in four weeks.
So there’s no pressure this Saturday. It’s a measuring-stick game and nothing else. Rodriguez will get an up-close look at where his team needs to be and Wildcat fans will see in Oregon what the system looks like at full speed.
Check back in 2014. By the time Oregon returns to Arizona’s schedule in 2017, maybe it’s the Ducks who are looking to pull the upset. Give it your best shot this week, stay healthy, learn from it and get ready for a key showdown against Oregon State the following week at home.
Toledo is from the MAC. OK State is replacing two NFL starters on offense. SC State is FCS.
This is Oregeddon.
If you think RichRod was a disaster hire and has zero chance to succeed, go to section 404.
If you think the Cats have nothing to lose against Oregon, go to Section 5.
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Section 404 – Not Found
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The first three games of the Rich Rodriguez era have been entertaining. I can’t wait for Saturday’s game and, no matter what happens, thinking about the future makes my Red-and-Blue glasses shine bright.
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