Rich Rodriguez didn’t have a breakthrough victory in his first season at West Virginia in 2001, when the Mountaineers went 3-8.
He has a chance to accelerate the pace at Arizona.
Opportunity is knocking in RichRod’s second game with the Wildcats, who take on 18th-ranked Oklahoma State at Arizona Stadium on Saturday night (7:30 p.m., Pac-12 Networks).
“I told our team there’s not a lot of people who talk about Arizona football in certain circles, and if you want to become more relevant, the best way to do it is to beat a ranked team,” Rodriguez said.
“It’s a great challenge but also a great opportunity.”
Former coach Mike Stoops was usually good for at least one upset a year, as his Cats defeated a ranked team in each of his first seven seasons. But the program lost its competitive edge late in his tenure. He ended on a 10-game losing streak against FBS opponents, including six ranked teams.
The combined score in UA’s six-game losing streak to ranked teams: 256-111.
Oklahoma State played its part in that skid, beating Arizona 36-10 in the 2010 Alamo Bowl and 37-14 last season in Stillwater.
Can the Cats turn the tables?
Here are five things to watch: