Matt Scott - Arizona at UCLA

Matt Scott has fond memories of playing UCLA on the road.
Photo by Kelvin Kuo-US PRESSWIRE

All season long Rich Rodriguez has talked to his team about becoming relevant. To do that, he preached, you have to beat ranked teams. You have to become a ranked team.

By defeating USC the Arizona Wildcats jumped beyond relevant. This week the UA plays as a contender.

RichRod and his fightin’ Cats are working hard to change the way UA football fans view their program. This is a week to embrace that change.

TWit-Pac is stepping past bowl projections and going all-in with a breakdown of who to root for to give the Cats a shot at reaching the Promised Land without even having to beat Oregon.

But first, the initial TV schedule of November (all times Arizona/Pacific):

Date Away Home Time TV
Fri Nov 2 Washington Cal 6 p.m. ESPN2
Sat Nov 3 Stanford Colorado 11 a.m. FX
  WSU Utah 12 p.m. P12N
  Oregon USC 4 p.m. FOX
  ARIZONA UCLA 7:30 p.m. P12N
  ASU OSU 7:30 p.m. ESPN2

A quick look at the bowl bubble:

Look who has moved up to the Bubble In line. Funny what beating USC does for your outlook. On the other end of the spectrum, Cal’s bowl chances are on life support after losing to Utah, and Colorado is officially flat-lining.

Now for your pro-Arizona rooting guide:

Washington (4-4 / 2-3) at Cal (3-6 / 2-4)
The Huskies got a much-needed win last week but they have only scored 89 points in five conference games. How bad is that? It’s just three points better than Colorado.

Who do Wildcat fans want to win?
Washington. Go Strength of Schedule!

Stanford (6-2 / 4-1) at Colorado (1-7 / 1-4)
The Cardinal isn’t nearly as strong as last year but Stanford eeked out its fourth one-score win last week (and both its losses were by one score). This will not be a one-score game.

Who do Wildcat fans want to win?
Colorado. A loss to the Buffs would torpedo Stanford’s computer rankings and give Arizona a better chance to leapfrog the Cardinal. But don’t waste a lot of your rooting power on this one.

WSU (2-6 / 0-5) at Utah (3-5 / 1-4)
With a big win against Cal, Utah snapped its losing streak to enhance its chances of extending its Pac-12-best bowl streak to ten years.

Who do Wildcat fans want to win?
WSU. When the Cats travel to Salt Lake City in two weeks it would be preferable to face a group of demoralized Utes.

Oregon (8-0 / 5-0) at USC (6-2 / 4-2)
If you want a reason to pick against the Ducks there’s the note from last week that still holds true: Thrashing Colorado doesn’t prepare you to beat anyone else.

Who do Wildcat fans want to win?
Oregon. This is the biggest one besides Arizona’s own game. The UA needs USC to lose once more and it needs to happen now because the Trojans’ remaining conference games are against ASU and UCLA. Both L.A. teams need to lose at home this weekend to keep the Cats’ dream alive.

ARIZONA (5-3 / 2-3) at UCLA (6-2 / 3-2)
The Bruins’ Pac-12 wins are against Colorado, Utah and ASU, and UCLA lost to Cal. The Bruins’ best win remains the non-conference victory over a Nebraska team that has gone 5-1 since losing in Pasadena.

ASU (5-3 / 3-2) at OSU (6-1 / 4-1)
The Beavers went from undefeated media darlings to a team suddenly trying to navigate through a quarterback controversy. ASU is trying to avoid another autumn fall.

Who do Wildcat fans want to win?
OSU. If you follow the script, you want the Beavers to lose a couple more games to ensure dropping behind Arizona in the BCS standings. However, Oregon State still plays Stanford and Oregon so it’s safe to root for them to continue ASU’s tailspin this week.

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There’s this one chart that needs updating:

Arizona’s Most Recent Home Win Against Pac-10 Opponents

Opponent Year
USC 2012
Washington 2012
UCLA 2011
Cal 2010
Stanford 2009
WSU 2009
ASU 2008
Oregon 2007
OSU 1997

Much better.

I won’t post all the numbers because it’s a broken record at this point, but Arizona has now put up the most yards and points against the 2012 defenses of Oregon State, Stanford, Washington and USC.

* * *

UCLA will be debuting new uniforms Saturday night. Maybe they’ll work out as well as Arizona’s copper helmets.

* * *

I know some will say What are you doing? Pac-12 South championship scenarios?? Are you trying to douse the hot streak?!?

This is part of the rehabilitation process. Haven’t we been told to Think Arizona all season? Didn’t RichRod say, “Why not Arizona?” the minute he got here?

UCLA is a dangerous team and Arizona still doesn’t have any road wins so, yes, the Nose Hole dream could easily vanish this Saturday. But it’s been three years since the Cats had a dream this late in the season. Enjoy it.

Why Not Think Arizona?

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Scott Terrell is wearing his optimistic red hat. Get positive on Twitter and Facebook.