Arizona got a few minutes of air time on ESPN’s GameDay program this morning, but the hosts of the show incorrectly characterized what the Wildcats have to do the rest of the way to get to the Rose Bowl.
Looking at Arizona’s remaining schedule, Chris Fowler said, “All they have to do is win out their last four games.”
Soon after, Desmond Howard added, “If they need to win out to become Pac-10 champs, I just don’t have confidence they can do that right now.”
As we pointed out last Saturday night, Arizona doesn’t have to win out … which might held Howard’s confidence level.
The Wildcats “just” have to beat Oregon (Nov. 21) and win at USC (Dec. 5), and then split games at Cal (today) and Arizona State (Nov. 28). If that happens, Arizona would win any tiebreaker at 7-2 in the conference.
That means Arizona can lose today’s game at Cal and still control its destiny in the Pac-10 race. No doubt, a loss wouldn’t be preferable in terms of confidence, momentum and national rankings, but, barring a major injury, it wouldn’t be anything resembling a disaster and the stakes for the game against Oregon wouldn’t change.
Anyway, ESPN showed coach Mike Stoops wired for sound during practice this week, and Fowler referred to him as “Mellow Mike” and called him “slightly less spring-loaded.” Good line.
UA fifth-year senior defensive lineman Donald Horton addressed this Monday, when I asked him what was the biggest difference in Stoops from 2005 (the coach’s second season) to now.
“He doesn’t seem as stressed,” Horton said. “We have conversations now. When I first came here, I was like, ‘I ain’t never talking to that dude.’ Now, we can have conversations and stuff like a regular dude.”
For the record, Kirk Herbstreit and Howard picked Arizona to beat Cal. Lee Corso picked the Bears, but offered no analysis other than to say the Wildcats were on the road.
Fowler dropped clues that the GameDay crew could head to Tucson next Saturday to promote the Arizona-Oregon game. GameDay has never been here.
“Win it for GameDay in Tucson,” Fowler said of today’s game against Cal.
After Corso picked Cal, Fowler turned to him to say, “And if we’re there, they’ll remember you picked against them.”
Anthony Gimino can be reached at anthonygimino (at) gmail.com