The Cats will try to get right without Wright.
Photo by Chris Morrison/US Presswire

Morale is down in the football portion of the Wildcat Universe.

The Stanford loss was deflating. The USC loss was depressing. Two more losses would be devastating.

Not the best time to be playing the #1 team in the land. Or is it?

First a look at the Pac-10 bowl bubble:

Oregon (10-0)
Stanford (10-1)
Arizona (7-3)

Cal (5-6)

Washington (4-6)
UCLA (4-6)
OSU (5-5)

ASU (3-6*)
WSU (2-9)
USC (stricken)

(*ASU’s second FCS win not included.)

Washington beating UCLA did not help. The new best-case scenario is…

Cal – beats Washington = 6-6
UCLA – beats ASU and USC = 6-6
OSU – loses to Stanford and Oregon = 5-7
Washington – loses to Cal, beats WSU = 5-7
ASU – loses to UCLA and Arizona = 4-8

I guess Oregon State doesn’t feel worse than Arizona any more. Yes, the true “best-case scenario” is OSU pulling off a huge upset to get win #6, but let’s not get crazy. The reality is the Beavers will spend the offseason lamenting their loss to the Wazzu Cougz.

With Cal and UCLA both losing the UA will have the 3rd best record among Pac-10 bowl teams. OSU isn’t going to beat both Stanford and Oregon in back-to-back weeks and nobody else can get to seven wins. Although, the Wildcats really want to see that number get to eight.

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TWIT-Pac is early to get you ready for the holiday action. Here’s the Pac-10 football TV schedule:

Fri. Nov. 26 (all times Arizona/Mountain)

Road Team Home Team Time TV
UCLA ASU 1:30 p.m. FSN
ARIZONA Oregon 5 p.m. ESPN/

Sat. Nov. 27

Washington Cal 1:30 p.m. CSN CA
OSU Stanford 5:30 p.m. Versus
Notre Dame USC 6 p.m. ABC/

UCLA (4-6 / 2-5) at ASU (4-6 / 2-5)
The Bruins haven’t won on the road since beating Texas. The Sun Devils will have to dig deep if they want to find a way to lose this one.

Who do Wildcat fans want to win?
UCLA. Having ASU come into the Territorial Cup game on a three-game losing streak would be preferred…especially if the Cats end up on their own three-game losing streak.

ARIZONA (7-3 / 4-3) at Oregon (10-0 / 7-0)
Much more on this game below, but former Oregon coach Mike Bellotti made news this week by pulling himself out of the running for the Colorado head coaching job. It was strange that he was even showing interest. In the shopping mall of athletic resources that would’ve been like going from the Nike outlet to the health food store.

Washington (4-6 / 3-4) at Cal (5-6 / 3-5)
The Huskies won at home last week to stop the bleeding. Can U-Dub win one on the road to try and salvage Jake Locker’s senior season?

Who do Wildcat fans want to win?
Cal. Yes, the Huskies could get into a bowl with a win here and at WSU next week, but in this year’s Pac-10 you don’t want to assume anybody on the bowl bubble can stay hot for long.

OSU (5-5 / 4-3) at Stanford (10-1 / 7-1)
It’s the final game for the Cardinal before they sit around and hope for some BCS help.

Who do Wildcat fans want to win?
Stanford. It would be nice to have an extra Pac team get bowl eligible but it would be nicer to have an 11-1 team ready to take on a Big Ten or SEC team in a big-league bowl.

Notre Dame (6-5) at USC (7-4 / 4-4)
At what point do these two schools decide to take a break from this series until they’re both good again?

Who do Wildcat fans want to win?
USC. Our fallen titan is better than your fallen titan.

WSU (2-9 / 1-7) – bye
When you’ve just posted your second conference win in three years you deserve two extra weeks to celebrate.

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I miss having Arizona and ASU play the day after Thanksgiving but it’ll be nice to watch them both on the same day. Unless, of course, the home favorite wins both games.

The Wildcats certainly have their work cut out for them at Autzen Stadium. If you thought Oregon’s offense was complicated, check out their fan instructions. Instead of a “black-out” or a “yellow-out” they’re going to try and do both.

Stanford wasn’t supposed to be 10-1 and Oregon wasn’t supposed to be 10-0. The thought was the Ducks couldn’t be as good as last year because Darron Thomas couldn’t be as good as Jeremiah Masoli in the clutch. The fact is, we still don’t know because Thomas hasn’t truly been tested yet.

Oregon hasn’t trailed in the 4th quarter once this entire season. Not one second. The Ducks played the whole final quarter against Cal with a two-point lead but their quarterback has not been asked to lead a late-game comeback.

The Ducks have been prone to slow starts. Down 13-3 to Tennessee. Down 24-14 to ASU. Down 21-3 to Stanford. But all those deficits were in the first half. The trick is forcing a slow start and then getting far enough ahead to hold on.

How do you build a big lead? Touchdowns. You will not beat Oregon with field goals so there’s no point in trying. Every time the Cats get inside the 20 it needs to be four-down territory. Alex Zendejas need not apply.

A great way to start fast is with special teams, a la the Iowa game. That makes Bug Wright’s suspension a significant loss. David Douglas’ longest career punt return is four yards. That’s one yard for each of Oregon punt returner Cliff Harris’ touchdowns this year. Slight advantage for the black and yellow.

Will this game be like 2007 when #2 Oregon lost to the Cats? Will it be like last year when the first-place Ducks won a thriller? Or will it be like 2008 when Oregon scored 45 points in the first half?

It’s not every day that a ranked team is a three-touchdown underdog but that’s how dominant Oregon has been at home. An Arizona win would register on the Tavita-Pritchard-over-USC scale.

The Wildcats have done it before.

Here comes Oregeddon.

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Bonus info! The upcoming Pac-10 basketball schedule!

Wed. Nov. 24
Michigan St. vs. Washington
UCLA vs. Villanova
Charlotte at OSU
CS Fullerton at USC

Thu. Nov. 25
Temple at Cal
Houston Baptist at ASU
Murray St. at Stanford

Fri. Nov. 26
WSU at Fresno St.
Santa Clara vs. ARIZONA – 8:30 p.m., KWBA

Sat. Nov. 27
Duke at Oregon
ARIZONA vs. Kansas – 8:30 p.m., ESPN2
USC at Nebraska
OSU at Howard

Mon. Nov. 29

Tue Nov. 30
Long Beach St. at Washington
Sacramento St. at WSU

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