Who will be the Wildcats’ hero…like Kyle Williams last year?
Photo by Rob Schumacher/The Arizona Republic

Arizona vs. Arizona State.

The Wildcats’ bowl options have become clear.

Arizona vs. Arizona State.

Juron Criner may be playing his final home game.

Did I mention it’s Arizona vs. Arizona State?

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Here’s my one note from the Oregon game: Juron Criner is really, really good.

Just in case Criner ends up in the NFL next year make sure you take the time to appreciate his greatness. It’s been overshadowed by the team’s recent struggles but Juron has dialed it up about 12 notches since the start of Pac-10 play to put together one of the best seasons ever by an Arizona receiver.

Criner’s 67 receptions this year are the 6th best single-season mark in UA history. His 1,091 receiving yards are the 4th most in school history. The eight touchdown catches are just three shy of Arizona’s all-time record for a season. All this while hobbling around most of the year with multiple leg and foot injuries.

Thursday may be Senior Night at Arizona Stadium but reserve an extra hand for the junior with the great hands.

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The Pac-10 bowl bubble has only two teams left:

ALREADY IN:
Oregon (11-0)
Stanford (11-1)
Arizona (7-4)

BUBBLE IN:
Washington (5-6)

BUBBLE OUT:
OSU (5-6)

NOT ELIGIBLE:
ASU (4-6*)
Cal (5-7)
UCLA (4-7)
WSU (2-9)
USC (Bushed)

(*ASU’s second FCS win not included.)

The last two bowl bids come down to two rivalry games. Washington is very glad their rival is the worst team in the league while Oregon State is lamenting the fact their rival is the best.

Even though Arizona State can no longer earn the six valid wins necessary to qualify for the postseason the Sun Devils refuse to give up their bowl dreams. They aren’t going to let silly things like “rules” and “math” get in the way.

Oregon will play in either the BCS championship game or the Rose Bowl. Stanford will finish in the BCS top four and get invited to either the Fiesta Bowl or Orange Bowl, which means the 2010 Cardinal will not suffer the same fate as the 1998 Wildcats. What Luck.

Arizona will play in either the Alamo Bowl on Wed. Dec. 29 or the Holiday Bowl on Thu. Dec. 30. If the Cats beat ASU it means a trip to San Antonio. The Alamo Bowl could still invite Arizona even after a loss since the UA would be the only seven-win Pac-10 team available, but I doubt it. If Washington beats WSU look for the Alamo to take a 6-6 Husky team on a three-game winning streak over a 7-5 Wildcat team on a four-game losing streak.

So the Wildcats could play in the Pac-10’s second-best bowl for the second straight year. Get your “I smell Davy Crockett!” signs ready.

All it takes is one win.

ASU won by three touchdowns last week while Arizona lost by 19. Advantage Sun Devils, right? Not so fast, Lee Corso‘s friends. Two games in the Mike Stoops era taught us to never trust momentum in this series: the 2004 UA win and the 2006 loss, both in Tucson.

Stoops’ first team was 2-8 after losing to USC by 40. The Cats had no chance to beat 8-2 ASU…except they beat 8-2 ASU.

Two years later Mo’s shoe was on the other foot as the Wildcats came into the Territorial Cup game riding a three-game winning streak to clinch bowl eligibility. There was no way they were going to lose at home to a mediocre ASU team…until Rudy Carpenter threw three touchdown passes in the first quarter.

You can throw the records out the window and that includes the November records. The team that hoists the Cup will be the team that plays the best for 3.5 hours on Thu. Dec. 2, 2010.

My one key to this game: Brooks Reed and Ricky Elmore. OK, maybe that’s two keys, but you get the idea. Arizona’s senior defensive ends were having a dominant season with 13.5 combined sacks going into the Stanford game. Now the pair has…13.5 sacks. The Wildcats as a team haven’t sacked the opposing quarterback once during the three-game losing streak. If that stat doesn’t change the losing streak will reach four.

ASU QB Brock Osweiler played tremendously well off the bench versus UCLA, but the 27 passes he completed last week were pretty close to the 37 completions he tallied in his first 22 games as a Sun Devil. This is not an experienced quarterback.

Osweiler has thrown for 779 yards in his career. Nick Foles has thrown for 801 yards in his last two games.

If Reed and Elmore can get to the quarterback on a regular basis there will be turnovers which should give Foles and Criner enough opportunities to score the points necessary to keep the Territorial Cup in Tucson for a third straight year.

Get out your rivalry haikus and pizza delivery smack.

It’s Arizona vs. Arizona State.

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