Arizona vs Colorado

Taimi Tutogi and the Wildcats couldn’t escape 1-9 Colorado last year.
Photo by Ron Chenoy-US PRESSWIRE

The assumption has long been that the Oregon Ducks are going to win out and play for the national championship. Stanford and Oregon State are both looking forward to having their say in the Pac-12 North race, but they have to face each other first.

For the Arizona Wildcats, it doesn’t get more humbling than 66-10. This week’s mission is simple: Get win number six and punch a ticket to a bowl game.

This is the second of three Saturdays with all 12 Pac teams playing on same day. This Week in the Pac-12 (TWit-Pac) has your TV schedule (all times Arizona/Mountain):

Date Away Home Time TV
Sat Nov 10 Colorado ARIZONA 11:30 a.m. FX
  ASU USC 1 p.m. P12N
  OSU Stanford 1 p.m. FOX
  Oregon Cal 8:30 p.m. ESPN
  Utah Washington 8:30 p.m. P12N
  UCLA WSU 8:30 p.m. ESPN2

That’s some strange scheduling. What are west coast fans supposed to do from 4 to 8:30? For Arizona homecoming revelers that may be prime time for a nap.

The drama is quickly draining out of the bowl bubble:

Bowl Bubble

Eight of the 12 teams are officially in or out already and three of the remaining four have five wins with at least one “gimme” game left. It looks like only Utah will be going into its final game with bowl eligibility on the line.

The games are here:

Colorado (1-8 / 1-5) at ARIZONA (5-4 / 2-4)
The Buffaloes have given up at least 34 points in each conference game this year. They have scored no more than 17 in their last five, averaging 10.2 points in that span. Arizona has its problems but this is the type of opponent you want to face when working through problems.

ASU (5-4 / 3-3) at USC (6-3 / 4-3)
Three weeks ago these teams were both 5-1 and it looked like this game would decide who plays in the Pac-12 Championship Game. Five combined losses later it might decide who goes to the Sun Bowl.

OSU (7-1 / 5-1) at Stanford (7-2 / 5-1)
Even if both teams fail in their attempt to upset Oregon there’s still the chance for a BCS bid if the Ducks play for the national title. This is essentially a Rose Bowl elimination game.

Oregon (9-0 / 6-0) at Cal (3-7 / 2-5)
One last name-your-score tune-up for the Ducks before finishing with (presumably) three straight ranked teams.

Utah (4-5 / 2-4) at Washington (5-4 / 3-3)
The Huskies and Utes are both 4-1 at home. They are a combined 1-7 on the road. The home fans in the stands should be very excited, and those stands are in Seattle this week.

UCLA (7-2 / 4-2) at WSU (2-7 / 0-6)
Since the Bruins stumbled at Cal earlier in the year you might be tempted to predict an upset but the crew of the S.S. Wazzu appears to be abandoning ship.

* * *

Perhaps the lone highlight for Arizona against UCLA was running back Ka’Deem Carey hitting a couple milestones. His 54 rushing yards in L.A. gave the UA a thousand-yard rusher for the 13th time in school history.

Most Arizona Rushing Yards in a Season

Player Yards Year
1 Trung Canidate 1,602 1999
2 Art Luppino 1,359 1954
3 Art Luppino 1,313 1955
4 Clarence Farmer 1,229 2001
5 Trung Canidate 1,220 1998
6 Jim Upchurch 1,184 1973
7 David Adams 1,175 1986
8 Ontiwaun Carter 1,163 1994
9 Nic Grigsby 1,153 2008
10 Bob McCall 1,148 1972
11 Hubert Oliver 1,021 1979
12 Ka’Deem Carey 1,015 2012
13 Jim Upchurch 1,004 1974

The sophomore back also scored the Wildcats’ lone touchdown of the evening, Carey’s 13th rushing score of the season. This moved him up another rung on Arizona’s single-season chart:

Most Arizona Rushing Touchdowns in a Season

Season TDs Year
1 Art Luppino 21 1954
2 Kelvin Eafon 16 1998
3t Nic Grigsby 13 2008
3t Ka’Deem Carey 13 2012
5 Trung Canidate 11 1999

* * *

If you look at the season to date this should be a cakewalk for the Wildcats. Colorado has lost five straight and has only won once all season while Arizona is a win away from bowl eligibility with two victories against ranked teams in the bag.

But if you look at the Pac-12 standings the Buffaloes are just a game behind the UA. With an upset in Tucson the two squads would be tied.

And both defenses are equally bad.

And we don’t know what the UA offense can do without Matt Scott.

And Colorado won last year.

This year has been anything but predictable for the Cats. Before the season started I hoped for six wins. Here’s how I envisioned it in my head compared to what has actually happened:

2012 UA Schedule Guess Real
Toledo W W
Oklahoma St. L W
SC St. W W
at Oregon L L
Oregon St. W L
at Stanford L L
Washington L W
Colorado W  
at Utah L  
Arizona St. W  
  6-6 5-4

Only four of the nine games so far have gone as expected based on last year’s results. So maybe it’s a good thing Colorado won last year.

It’s hard to ignore giving up 66 points but perhaps – like Washington and Utah – the 2012 Wildcats are just a horrible road team. All the more reason to be glad there are eight home games, and be really glad this game is at home.

The first quarter will be very important on Saturday. The ideal scenario for the Cats – no matter who is playing quarterback – is to get a couple scores early to give Colorado that here-we-go-again feeling.

For the UA defense the key is avoiding the big play. In the Buffaloes’ one win they beat Washington State for a 70-yard pass and an 84-yard run. Make Colorado try to execute long drives and be ready to pounce on the mistakes.

For We The People it’s an early wake-up call with another round of breakfast tailgating. It may literally rain on the homecoming parade but a win of any kind gets the Wildcats back in a bowl game.

I don’t need a cakewalk. Just get a win by any means necessary and homecoming can end with the start of postseason travel planning.

– – – – –

Scott Terrell wants to leave home for the holidays. Get your fix on win number six via Twitter and Facebook.