Utah QB Jon Hays

Will the Cats be more welcoming than the rest of the Pac-12?
Photo by Kelley L Cox-US PRESSWIRE

Here come the new guys.

Over the next two weeks the Arizona Wildcats face both Utah and Colorado. With all three schools in the Pac-12 it’s going to be really awkward for New Mexico at the next Four Corners meeting.

For the Wildcats and Utes, the new guys are actually the old guys.

Read on for more about this ancient southwest football rivalry, but first take in the TWIT-Pac TV schedule (all times Arizona – and Pacific for one last week):

Date Away Home Time TV
Fri Nov 4 USC Colorado 6 p.m. ESPN/ESPN3
Sat Nov 5 Stanford OSU 12:30 p.m. ABC
  WSU Cal 3:30 p.m. CSNCA/RTNW
  Utah ARIZONA 4 p.m. KWBA/FSAZ+
  ASU UCLA 4:30 p.m. Versus
  Oregon Washington 7:30 p.m. FSN

What is Fox Sports Arizona Plus? It is an event-only virtual channel that will be used only for events. Glad we got that straightened out.

The games, please!

USC (6-2 / 3-2) at Colorado (1-8 / 0-5)
Letdown game for USC? Last year the Trojans lost to Stanford by two…then won their next game by 34.

Who do Wildcat fans want to win?
USC. Keep the Buffaloes nice and Last Place.

Stanford (8-0 / 6-0) at OSU (2-6 / 2-3)
A triple-overtime win last week. The Oregon showdown next week. Could it be…?

Who do Wildcat fans want to win?
Stanford. Mike Riley‘s hot seat says to root for the Beavers, but let’s be real here.

WSU (3-5 / 1-4) at Cal (4-4 / 1-4)
The Pac-12 Hot Seat Game of the Week! These teams gave up a combined 74 points last time out.

Who do Wildcat fans want to win?
Cal. Last week Rick Neuheisel added to his life bar. This week it’s Jeff Tedford’s turn to avoid hit points.

Utah (4-4 / 1-4) at ARIZONA (2-6 / 1-5)
This is already the Wildcats’ final Pac-12 home game. In case you forgot this is the worst home schedule ever.

ASU (6-2 / 4-1) at UCLA (4-4 / 3-2)
The Bruins are aiming for their first winning streak of the year.

Who do Wildcat fans want to win?
UCLA. Keep Neuheisel employed! Keep ASU away from hosting the Pac-12 Championship Game!

Oregon (7-1 / 5-0) at Washington (6-2 / 4-1)
So I was eating a generic Ho Ho (known on the streets as a “Faux Ho”) and I said to myself, “This chocolate cake-like treat is exactly like the Oregon/Washington game. It doesn’t have the same price tag as Stanford/USC but it might be just as tasty.”

Who do Wildcat fans want to win?
Oregon. The Pac-12 needs Oregon/Stanford to be the West Coast’s version of Alabama/LSU.

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Arizona/Utah, on the other hand, is a battle of one-dimensional teams.

Arizona is 1st in the Pac-12 in passing offense; Utah is last. The Wildcats are 11th in the league in rushing offense; Utah ranks only 8th in the league in rushing but in the Utes’ four wins running back John White IV was a major factor. White averaged 175 yards rushing in those four games with no less than 150 in any of the victories. He ran for 205 yards last week against Oregon State as the Utes only needed 62 yards through the air.

The problem for the UA is Utah’s D is better suited to handle Arizona’s dimension (3rd in the Pac-12 in pass defense) than the Wildcat D is against Utah’s dimension (10th in rush defense). There is no room for dropped passes this week for the guys in Cardinal and Navy.

Besides old Pac-10 foes, Arizona has played Utah more often than anybody but New Mexico, UTEP, and New Mexico State. The Cats have actually faced the Utes more times than they’ve played USC and Oregon State.

Utah went 12-3-2 against the Wildcats from 1924 through 1960. The two programs then became charter members of the Western Athletic Conference when the league formed in 1962. Arizona turned the tables by posting a 9-4 head-to-head record in the WAC, including wins in the final five matchups. Utah can claim the craziest win though as the Utes’ final WAC victory over Arizona was the “Snafu of ’72.”

Following the UA’s move to the Pac-10 the old foes split six games (including Utah’s win in the 1994 Freedom Bowl) to give the Utes an overall edge of 19-15-2.

What do we make of Utah’s 1-4 start in the Pac-12? I do believe the Utes’ success (or lack thereof) will impact the perception of teams from non-automatic-qualifying conferences trying to play in the BCS national championship game. However, based on Utah’s past cycle of peak years you have to give them a few more seasons before using them as an argument that non-AQ teams don’t belong.

What do we make of this Saturday’s game? Don’t blow any 27-point leads.

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Scott Terrell is a fount of football advice. Drink it in on Twitter and Facebook.