The Arizona Wildcats and their fans now have their This Is Why We Do This moment of 2013.
Going into the Oregon game the Cats’ only Pac-12 wins were against the league’s three bottom-feeders. The loss to UCLA was disappointing. The loss to Washington State was depressing.
Arizona Football went from depressing to delirious in one week flat.
It made zero sense. None. Replacing gasoline with pond scum is easier to explain than seeing the team that scored a mere 17 points against WSU beating Oregon by 26. Manhandling the Ducks. If you showed someone film of these past two games he’d think they were three years apart, not seven days.
Yet there was Ka’Deem Carey grinding out 206 yards and four touchdowns against the fifth-ranked team in the country. There was B.J. Denker bobbing and weaving his way to 280 total yards and two scores, all with an ankle wrapped with so much tape it looked like a ski boot.
Games like Wildcats 42, Ducks 16 are impossible to predict and those fans that hit the eject button after the Wazzu loss missed out. It was a strong reminder to We The People that if you go to all the games you won’t miss the good ones.
For the 45,000 in attendance (minus the large contingent of fans in green and yellow…and black…and whatever this is) the reward was rushing the field at home for the first time since the wall in front of the student section was constructed in 2010.
Wildcat Universe was not too happy with the UA athletic department this past week but there is nothing but praise for how the Oregon postgame was handled. Set high standards so fans aren’t allowed on the field after any old game but when something truly special happens, open the gates and let the people celebrate with the players. Instead of having the PA announcer constantly repeat, “Please exit the field!” the scoreboard said, “THANK YOU FANS!”
Now, fans, fight the urge to play the what-if game with the losses to the Bruins or Cougars. If those games don’t happen maybe this one doesn’t. I would always trade a loss to Washington State for a win against Oregon. And it was a win on Senior Day to lock up a winning season which was the main goal all along.
This is the kind of game you can think about this week if your boss yells at you, or your teacher puts you to sleep, or you burn the crust on your pumpkin pie. Oh, that’s right; the Cats put a beating on Nike U! *fistpump*
After the game someone asked Rich Rodriguez if this was the best win of his career. That’s disrespectful to the man’s resume. Rodriguez has won eight conference championships. He beat a 10-1 Georgia team in the 2006 Sugar Bowl. RichRod won’t be happy until he’s beating a top-5 team with his own top-5 team.
But what this win does mean is Rodriguez has taken down yet another Wildcat tormentor. The Ducks had averaged 50.4 points in beating Arizona five straight times. Now Oregon joins USC and Oklahoma State on the list of beaten bullies.
Coincidentally, the one area where RichRod hasn’t broken through is against the coaches who also entered the Pac-12 after the 2011 season. Rodriguez is a combined 0-4 so far against UCLA’s Jim Mora, Washington State’s Mike Leach and Arizona State’s Todd Graham.
He gets another crack at that last guy as Territorial Cup week is here.
The Sun Devils have already clinched the Pac-12 South so the Cats can’t knock them out of the conference championship game but they can make it a lot more difficult. If ASU beats Arizona the Devils host Stanford for a trip to the Rose Bowl. If the Wildcats win in Tempe the Devils have to hit the road.
That’s a significant difference. Yes, the Cardinal crushed ASU earlier this year but it was in Palo Alto. Does Oregon beat – if not crush – the UA if this past Saturday’s game was in Eugene? That’s exactly what happened last year. So there’s plenty at stake this week beyond bragging rights.
After the loss to WSU there was a big temptation for in-state Wildcat fans to avoid attending the Arizona State game. ASU looks very good this year and it was assumed the Cats would be bringing a three-game losing streak to Sun Devil Stadium.
The odds-makers say any Wildcat fans at the game will see their team lose by a couple touchdowns.
But if you go to all the games you won’t miss the good ones.
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