Arizona tailgate bus

The Cats hope to ride the bus to Bowltown.
Photo by Wildcat Universe

The Pac-12 South takes center stage this week as the top teams from the North rest.

The Arizona Wildcats (and the Wildcat Universe) try to focus on yet another road game without getting caught looking ahead.

A light TV schedule means you can watch every game without overlap (all times Arizona/Pacific):

Thu Oct 31Arizona St.Wash. St.7:30 p.m.ESPN
Fri Nov 1USCOregon St.6 p.m.ESPN2
Sat Nov 2ARIZONACal12:30 p.m.Pac-12 Network
Sat Nov 2ColoradoUCLA4:30 p.m.Fox Sports 1

But only two Saturday games? Two Saturday games?! TWit-Pac does not approve.

Arizona State (5-2 / 3-1) at Washington State (4-4 / 2-3)
An unranked team hosting a ranked team on Thursday night on ESPN. On Halloween no less. That has to be a good sign for Whoever’s Playing ASU, right?

Who does Wildcat Universe want to win?
Wazzu. Not just to root for WPASU…but we’re not talking about that yet.

USC (5-3 / 2-2) at Oregon State (6-2 / 4-1)
USC’s bowl chances went way up after beating Utah last week. The Trojans need seven wins with their 13-game schedule but they still get to play Cal and Colorado.

Who does Wildcat Universe want to win?
OSU. Not just to root against a team that beat Arizona…but we’re not talking about that yet.

ARIZONA (5-2 / 2-2) at Cal (1-7 / 0-5)
Just get through this one… Just get through this one…

Who does Wildcat Universe want to win?
Your One-Win-from-Bowl-Eligibility Wildcats. Just get through this one…

Colorado (3-4 / 0-4) at UCLA (5-2 / 2-2)
The Bruins learned that nothing humbles you like playing 40% of the nation’s top-five teams in back-to-back weeks.

Who does Wildcat Universe want to win?
Colorado. Not just to root for a team that Arizona beat…but we’re not talking about that yet.

Oregon (8-0 / 5-0) – bye
While the Ducks prepare for next Thursday’s Pac-12 game of the year, a former Oregon player tells Duck fans to do something to themselves.

Stanford (7-1 / 5-1) – bye
The Cardinal is currently fifth in the BCS standings, ahead of undefeateds Baylor and Miami.

Washington (5-3 / 2-3) – bye
Steve Sarkisian’s team takes a week off before resuming the climb to its seven-win ceiling.

Utah (4-4 / 1-4) – bye
Let’s say the Utes finish 1-8 in Pac-12 play while Stanford beats Oregon and goes on to win the national championship. Does the Utah win over Stanford make Ute fans proud or drive them insane?

* * *

No line shifts in the Pac-12 tier rankings:

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

The Beavers can still win the North if Oregon beats Stanford.

Some would say there should be additional teams on the Division Contenders line…but we’re not talking about that yet.

* * *

It has been a tough first year for Cal coach Sonny Dykes, whose injury report has been almost as big as his playbook.

For Arizona fans it’s the first chance to square off against the Wildcats’ former offensive coordinator. I will always appreciate Dykes (given first name: Daniel) for introducing the UA to modern offensive football.

Dykes was in Tucson from 2007-2009 and in those three years he produced a collection of skill-position talent greater than any this program had seen. You can find the names up and down the Arizona record book: Willie Tuitama, Mike Thomas, Rob Gronkowski, Nic Grigsby, Nick Foles, Juron Criner.

I wasn’t happy to see Dykes take a Pac-12 job but at least he’s in the North, and with the unbalanced schedule rotation he’ll miss the Wildcats just as often as he faces them.

Cal’s pass-happy offense will not be a welcome sight for a UA defense susceptible to big plays through the air. The trend has actually gotten worse: Washington had a 49-yard pass play against the Cats, USC had two over 60 yards, Utah had the 55-yard touchdown pass and Colorado’s Paul Richardson just burned Arizona with a 75-yarder.

The Wildcat offense has looked much improved the past two games (and one quarter) and as a result the UA is just one win away from becoming eligible for the postseason. Secure that one win and the goals change.

But we’re not talking about that yet.

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