University of Arizona tailgate

A home game! An actual home game! Photo by Wildcat Universe

It has been far too long.

The world has changed so much since the Wildcats last played in Tucson. Five weeks ago Nick Foles was still an NFL backup, the U.S. government was still open and Fifty Shades of Grey still had a leading man.

The UA football team is looking for a change of its own.

TWit-Pac never leaves home until you have your TV schedule (all times Arizona/Pacific):

Sat Oct 19Char. Sou.Colorado11 a.m.Pac-12 Network
Sat Oct 19UCLAStanford12:30 p.m.ABC/ESPN2
Sat Oct 19Wash.Arizona St.3 p.m.Pac-12 Network
Sat Oct 19USCNotre Dame4:30 p.m.NBC
Sat Oct 19UtahARIZONA7 p.m.Pac-12 Network
Sat Oct 19Wash. St.Oregon7 p.m.Fox Sports 1
Sat Oct 19Oregon St.Cal7:30 p.m.ESPN2

Charleston Southern (7-0) at Colorado (2-3 / 0-3)
I’m guessing that when the Buffs went shopping to find a replacement for the washed out game against undefeated Fresno State they weren’t expecting to end up with another undefeated opponent.

Who does Wildcat Universe want to win?
CSU. As we discussed earlier this week conference pride is out the window. Now it’s time to root against anyone that could take a bowl bid from the Wildcats. Colorado, that includes you (mathematically speaking).

UCLA (5-0 / 2-0) at Stanford (5-1 / 3-1)
This was supposed to be a battle of unbeatens. Thanks for nothing, Cardinal. Now Stanford is facing a must-win situation if it wants a realistic chance at defending its Pac-12 crown.

Who does Wildcat Universe want to win?
Hmmm… Both teams will be in a better bowl than Arizona. A Stanford win knocks down a team the Cats still have to play, but that’s three weeks from now. I’m going with the Bruins winning because it hurts ASU.

Washington (4-2 / 1-2) at Arizona State (4-2 / 2-1)
The Huskies have earned their top-20 ranking but if they don’t pull off the upset on the road they’ll be a very ugly 1-3 in Pac-12 play.

Who does Wildcat Universe want to win?
Whoever’s Playing ASU.

USC (4-2 / 1-2) at Notre Dame (4-2)
If the Trojans are going to continue to follow the Mike Stoops script they will now lose the next three games by double digits, then beat their in-state rivals and finish the season by showing the Ragin’ Cajuns who’s boss.

Who does Wildcat Universe want to win?
Notre Dame. USC is definitely competing with Arizona for bowl positioning. Go Irish (for the second straight game).

Utah (4-2 / 1-2) at ARIZONA (3-2 / 0-2)
In Utah’s four wins sophomore QB Travis Wilson has thrown one total interception. In the Utes’ two losses he’s thrown NINE picks. I think we’ve found our key stat for this week.

Who does Wildcat Universe want to win?
Your Hungry Wildcats.

Washington State (4-3 / 2-2) at Oregon (6-0 / 3-0)
The Ducks struggled against Washington, posting a season-low point total. And by “struggled” I mean “didn’t score 55.”

Who does Wildcat Universe want to win?
Oregon. The last five teams on Wazzu’s schedule all have winning records so it’s still possible the Cougars could end up shy of six wins.

Oregon State (5-1 / 3-0) at California (1-5 / 0-3)
Beaver QB Sean Mannion has 25 touchdown passes in six games. The Arizona record is 28 for an entire season.

Who does Wildcat Universe want to win?
OSU. Win all you want, Beavers. You can’t beat the Cats this year.

* * *

There’s a lot more movement among the Pac-12 tiers this time around:

    National Contenders – Oregon, UCLA
    Division Contenders – Stanford, ASU, OSU
    Bowl Contenders – Washington, USC, ARIZONA, Utah, WSU
    Not Contenders – Colorado, Cal

UCLA is now an undefeated top-10 team and Stanford is not so they trade places.

The Huskies have two conference losses so they’re not going to win the North.

OSU, however, is perfect in Pac-12 play so the Beavers still control their own destiny

* * *

Since I did such a great job predicting the low-scoring USC game I’m going to stay away from numbers this week. Analyzing Saturday’s game, it comes down to Utah’s momentum versus Arizona’s motivation.

There’s no other way to put it: Utah’s season has already peaked. The Utes are not going to win at Oregon. They’re not going to a BCS bowl. Nothing else that’s going to happen the rest of the year can top beating Stanford.

Arizona, on the other hand, needs a win. The Cats have no conference victories and no quality wins of any kind. A bowl bid is hardly guaranteed as 4-8 looks just as likely as 7-5 at this point.

There is no way Utah can come out on Saturday with the same intensity shown against Stanford. That’s just now how humans work. The question is if the Utes are good enough to overcome the cornered Wildcats’ emotional advantage.

Will it be the greedy or the needy?

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