Friday, August 29, 2008

Game Day

What Idaho Vandals at Arizona Wildcats

When Saturday, kickoff 7pm

TV None

Radio 1290am, 107.5fm

Weather 85-82 40% chance of rain

What to expect Arizona should be able to blow Idaho out of the game early. If the offence is clicking like it should, this game should be over by late in the first half. Look for Stoops to play many of his second string player for large parts of the second half. That being said, rain and wind might force Arizona to run the ball a lot less then was the plan last week. If that happens the game might be closer then one would like.

Prediction Look for Arizona to blow someone out for the first time in years. Arizona 55 Idaho 10.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

For Stoops and Arizona it's now or never

Welcome to college football 2008!

Before you can ran from Tucson to New York the football season will have kicked off. Well, I'm not sure you could run to Huston between now and then, unless your Usain Bolt. But, anyway, Saturday will be here before you know it and the season will be underway.

And for Arizona there is no turning back. The heat in Mike Stoops office has been turned all the way up. The fan base is split and if he should stay or if he should go. Some have even made the stupid argument that they hope Arizona losses so they will be able to fire Stoops. Let's put this one to rest first. I would much rather see Arizona win then see Mike Stoops go. Not a lot more to say about that other then what's been said.

So what does Mike Stoops need to do to keep his job?

Simply put he needs to go to a bowl game, which means he needs to win at least seven games. That should be enough. Some have made the argument that if he wins only seven games, which would mean either a loss in one of the three "easy" non conference games or a losing record in the Pac-10 he need to be let go. I don't see anyway that happens. Despite all his faults and he has lots of them, you can not let a coach go who got a team to a bowl game for the first time in ten years.

So what happens if Arizona does have a losing season?

At this point it's going to be really interesting. U of A president Robert Shelton is going to have to decide what he wants to do with athletic director Jim Livengood. If he wants to keep him, the likely next step is Stoops being fired. If he wants another AD that should by Stoops at least one more year. If another AD comes in some time in the 09 calender year he is going to want to make his own hire as a football coach, not get a first year coach thrown in his lap.

What happens if Stoops is fired?

This could mean more bad news. It likely means at least two more years of loosing football. That will likely also mean lost money-from not playing on TV, from low ticket sales, from paying off Stoops. This could affect the amount of money the school could spend to hire a replacement coach.

Any chance he leaves on his own?

A little. He need to have a winning season for that to happen. The most likely, if not the only school he would leave Arizona for would be Iowa. The people in Iowa are unhappy with the way the program is going. Stoops went to, played at Iowa. But they are not going to want to hire a coach who hasn't won.

The bottom line of all this is simple. Mike Stoops and the Cats have to win and they have to win now. So lets kick it off!

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Season Preview: Arizona State

Week Twelve:

Saturday December 6, 2008

The University of Arizona Wildcats versus the Arizona State Sun Devils
Arizona Stadium: Time TBA

Arizona State Facts: The Devils and the Wildcats play for the oldest traveling trophy is sports, The Territorial Cup. Sadly for all Arizona fans, the cup has lived in Tempe for many years in this decade. But I don't want to get into this. Both the Cats and the Devils have gone with several different coaching staff since both schools fired head coaches at the end of the 2001 season. As hard as it is to type and I'm not even sure I could say it out loud, Arizona State is a better program overall. What this means for this year or for the future-I don't know.

Good Cat News: As fun as playing the game on the day after Thanksgiving, the hangover would affect the crowd. No to mention the number of students who are in town. This year this won't be a problem because the game isn't until December. It will also be fun to see if Arizona has already rapped up a bowl spot by then, there is chance they may have already accepted a deal by then.

Bad Cat News: Just read the Arizona State Facts section of this blog, because I can not say it again. Head Coach Mike Stoops has proven that he can not win, when the chips are all the line. If Arizona needs to beat Arizona State to get into the bowl I'm not sure they can do it.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Season Preview: Oregon State

Week Eleven:

Saturday November 22, 2008

The University of Arizona Wildcats versus the Oregon State University Beavers
Arizona Stadium: Time TBA

Oregon State Facts: Remember the Dick Tomey days when it seemed like every season the Cats would finish in third or fourth place? Well that's what it's been like for the Beavs since they went from a nobody to a somebody in 2000. Since 2002 OSU has been to the Insight Bowl twice, plus the Vegas, Sun, and Emerald bowls. Who would have thought Oregon State and Arizona would switch places like that.

Good Cat News: Another home game in November allows Arizona to play at home, rather then having to play in Corvallis, another one of the most brutal places to play in the Pac-10. The Beaves only bring back three starts from last year defense which make Arizona look bad, in the mean time Arizona's offence should be much better.

Bad Cat News: Oregon State has had Arizona's number over the last few years. Arizona is going to have to make sure to change that. Can they do it? Not sure. The only other team to dominate over the Stoop years the way the Beavers have (besides USC) are the Sun Devils. And we'll get to them tomorrow.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Season Preview: Oregon

Week Ten:

Saturday November 15, 2008

The University of Arizona Wildcats versus the University of Oregon Ducks
Autzen Stadium: Eugene, Oregon, Time TBA

Oregon Facts: Mike Bellotti has now been the head coach of the Ducks for 14 years, far longer then anyone else in the Pac-10. Since that time they have been one of the best teams in the Pac-10, although they haven't gone to Rose Bowl since the mid 1990s. Not a lot of reason to think 2008 is going to be any different, including the second place finish. Autzen Stadium is arguably the loudest stadium in the Pac-10 (although USC has many more fans, not as loud).

Good Cat News: For whatever reason it doesn't seem like Mike Bellotti and Mike Stoops like one another. This has worked in the Cats favour, as they have had the Ducks number as of late. Another November game against what should be a ranked team also seem to play in Arizona's favour-as they have had luck with that as well.

Bad Cat News: We'll see if revenge means anything in football with this game. If any group of players or fans want revenge it would be the Oregon Ducks. Arizona could be blown off the field in that game if they don't come out ready to play. We'll also have to see whats going on in the Pac-10, if the Ducks are still in the mix-it could be bad news for Arizona.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Season Preview: Washington State

Week Nine:

Saturday November 8, 2008

The University of Arizona Wildcats versus the Washington State University Cougars
Martin Stadium: Pullman, Washington, Time TBA

Washington State Facts: The Cougs have been to two Rose bowls since 1997. Both in '97 and '02. They haven't really been the same since Mike Price left Pullman for very, very, brief stay at Alabama and now at UTEP. This will mark the major head coaching debue of Paul Wuliff at Washington State.

Good Cat News: If we are taking stock of teams that should be worse then Arizona, Washington State would be on it. Bad teams tend to struggle under knew head coaches and that's what the Cougs have. By November, with any luck, Arizona will have gelled and be ready to roll against anyone. Arizona, under Mike Stoops, has a record of winning games, lots of games, in November.

Bad Cat News: This is a road game in November. The Cougs might have over came the hurdle of another head coach by this time in the season. I can not predict the weather this far in advance (sorry), but in that part of Washington-that time of year-it's likely going to be cold. For sure it will be colder then Tucson. Possibly over coming the weather could be a factor.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Season Preview: USC

Week Eight:

Saturday October 25, 2008

The University of Arizona Wildcats versus the University of Southern California Trojans

Arizona Stadium, Time TBA

USC Facts: Unlike Idaho and Toledo, it should be easy to argue that USC is one of the five best teams in the country. Since Pete Carroll took over 8 years ago the Trojans have been far and away the best program in the Pac-10. We are talking about a program that was disappointed to be 11-2 last season. I don't even have to write anymore by just saying: USC doesn't rebuild, they just reload. They are what everyone in the Pac-10 wants to be. After all, they have been to The Rose Bowl Game three of the four last years. The one year they didn't it was the Orange Bowl for the National Championship. Any of the other nine teams would trade place with them in heart beat.

Good Cat News: Ah.....with this game. I don't know. Arizona has had good luck with homecoming games. USC over the past few years has dropped games they shouldn't have. I guess that might happen. One day or another Arizona is going to get that season/program changing win. It could be this year? Couldn't it? Arizona has come close to beating USC a few times over the past few years. Arizona has it as a home game, that could help.

Bad Cat News: USC is very good. Arizona is good. Arizona would have to play a game unlike anything we have every seen them play. Nothing in Mike Stoops past (or Jon Mac or Dick Tomey for that matter) has lead me to thing Arizona could play an A+++ game. Anything less then that the Cats are in trouble with this game.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Season Preview: California

Week Seven:

Saturday October 18, 2008

The University of Arizona Wildcats versus the University of California Golden Bears

Arizona Stadium, Time TBA

Cal Facts: It's hard to believe that at one time last season Cal was ranked number two in the country. Then the wheels came off. They not only came off, but the car rolled down the mountain. When back up QB Kevin Rieley ran the ball on a last second play (rather then pass it), time ran out, and the Bear lost to Oregon State. And then they lost again...and again....and again. They finished 7-6 and had to settle for the Armed Forces Bowl. What does this mean for this season? Only time will tell. One could make the argument that head coach Jeff Tedford is the second best coach in the Pac-10. He should be able to turn this around.

Good Cat News: Cal is replacing all it's best players from a team that more or less folded last years when all the chips were down. Last years Arizona was never really in the game against Cal. But that was a different Cal team then we saw late in the season. By the time Arizona plays Cal we should know how good QB Kevin Reily is-could be good news for the Cats.

Bad Cat News: Cal is likely the best or the second best team in the Pac-10. Arizona isn't. If Cal is as good as I think they could be Arizona needs to play a perfect game to beat Arizona. We've yet to see Arizona do this under Mike Stoops, more then once a season. That's really it all comes down to.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Season Preview: Stanford

Week Six:

Saturday October 11, 2008

The University of Arizona Wildcats versus the Stanford University Cardinal

Stanford Stadium, Time TBA

Stanford Facts: Stanford's bowless streak is only one year longer then Arizona. Sadly for Cats fans, that bowl was the 1999 Rose Bowl, a game Arizona thought they would be playing in at this time in 1999. Since then both teams have plummeted down to nothingness and are trying to rebuild. Who is better now? It's a toss up. This will only be Stanford head coach Jim Harbaugh's second year with the Cardinal.

Good Cat News: Last year Arizona lost a home game to Stanford. A game they should never have lost. It's one of two game that really cost Arizona. With any luck, the Cats are not going to forget it and come in fired up. Where does Stanford stand in the long run of things? I'm not sure. It's likely between them and Washington as to who is the worst team in the Pac-10.

Bad Cat News: For what feels like the 100th time, Arizona has to, has to, has to play it's A game. If they don't--Arizona losses this game. Playing games at Stanford is odd. The crowd never seems to be into it like one sees at USC, Oregon or Oregon State, this often takes teams out of games. Stanford, of course, is use to this. Arizona is not.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Season Preview: Washington

Week Five:

Saturday October 4, 2008

The University of Arizona Wildcats versus the University of Washington Huskies

Arizona Stadium, Time TBA

Washington Facts: If anyone other then Mike Stoops is on the hot seat it's Ty Willingham. If anyone has underachieved over the last three years more then Arizona, it's Washington. This game could be a "you fired" match up, I don't see anyway either coach keeps his job if they don't make a bowl and the loser of this game should be in trouble. It's hard to remember this is a school that went to a Rose Bowl in 2000-a drought much shorter then Oregon, who has been much better then the Huskies over the past ten years. In fact, UW hasn't even been to a bowl game since the 2001 Sun Bowl.

Good Cat News: First, this is a home game and if Arizona is 3-1 or maybe even 4-0 Arizona Stadium is going to be a mad house for that game. Last season Arizona scored 22 points to finish out the Huskies and there doesn't seem to be a lot of reason to think the Huskies are going to be any better.

Bad Cat News: Arizona and Washington have embarrassed one another over the past few years. If the Huskies come in fired up this could be a dangers game for Arizona. There is not a lot more to say other then that. Last year Washington QB tossed for 336 yard against the Cats. If he does that this season-the Huskies could pull out the W.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Season Preview: UCLA

Week Four:

Saturday September 20, 2008

The University of Arizona Wildcats versus the University of California Los Angles Bruins

The Rose Bowl, Pasadena, California Noon

UCLA Facts: This is Rick Neuheisel first season at UCLA, just a few years aftering being let go from fellow Pac-10 school Washington. The Bruins play there home games in The Rose Bowl, wich seats 91,000 (one Arizona Stadium and four fifths of another). In 1998 UCLA had a chance to win a title, but since then they have been down, despite the fact they have been bowling several years in a row.

Good Cat News: No one knows how good UCLA is going to be. First year head coach Rick Neuheisel has a history of building programs quickly, but who knows. Arizona also has a chance to be on a nice little roll going into Pasadena, while UCLA has to play two top twenty five teams in BYU and Tennessee. That could very well be good news.

Bad Cat News: One name, Norm Chow. Arizona fans can only hope that he runs out of time or something and doesn't figure out Arizona's d. It's likely the Brunis will be able to put up a lot of points against Arizona. Can Willie T and crew keep up with that? I hope.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Season Preview: New Mexico

Week Three:

Saturday September 13, 2008

The University of Arizona Wildcats versus the University of New Mexico Lobos

University Stadium, Albuquerque, New Mexico TBA

New Mexico Facts: Head coach Rocky Long has gotten New Mexico to five bowl games in seven years. They play in the Mountain West Conference. In 2007 they won there first bowl game since 1961, they lost four bowl appearances in the 2000s. Arizona and New Mexico are old time rivals, this is the 66th time they have played. Arizona is 43-19-3 against the Lobos.

Good Cat News: Arizona should be fired up after the way this game went last year. The loss, caused in part to actions by head coach Mike Stoops, more or less derailed the rest of the season for the Cats. This New Mexico team should not be as good as last years, while this years Arizona team should be better. That should make a difference.

Bad Cat News: This is the type of game that, for whatever reason, Mike Stoops has lost since he got to Tucson. Arizona has lost 5 of the last 6 games against Mountain West teams-the only win was on a last secound field goal over BYU in 2006. This is the first "uh oh" game of the year. Arizona B game losses to New Mexico's A game. So you best bring it all.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Season Preview: Toledo

Week Two:

Saturday September 6, 2008

The University of Arizona Wildcats versus the University of Toledo Rockets

Arizona Stadium, 7pm

Toledo Facts: Toledo plays ball in the MAC, home of my favorite team named after another sport, Bowling Green. Believe it or not, Toledo plays it's home games in Toledo, Ohio. In 2007 the Rockets went 5-7, but they have been to four bowl games in ten years. This is head coach Tom Amstuz's eighth season, he is 55-32 with the Rockets.

Good Cat News: Like Idaho yesterday, Arizona's second team should be better then Toledo's first team. That means a home loss is very unlikely. Most have Toledo as the second worst team in the MAC West.

Bad Cat News: Arizona might be Toledo's best chance to win a non conference game. So the Cats need to watch out for a life and death effort by the Rockets. They also play Michigan and Fresno State. Arizona has laid eggs in games like this and a blow out is not likely. If one of those things happen the Wildcats bandwagon could empty fast, a win will not be enough to keep people on board.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Season Preview: Idaho

Day one of a brief look at who Arizona will face this season. Over the next two weeks we will look at all 12 of Arizona's opponents.

Week One:

Saturday August 30, 2008

The University of Arizona Wildcats versus the University of Idaho Vandals

Arizona Stadium, 7pm

Idaho Facts: Idaho University is located in Moscow, Idaho. They play home games in the Kibbie Dome. They are members of the West Athletic Conference (WAC). The last time Idaho played in a bowl game was the 1998 Humanitarian Bowl. The 2008 season will be the second for Idaho head coach Rob Akey, who took over for Dennis Erickson who is now the head coach at Arizona State. In 2007 the Vandals went 1-11, included in the '07 season a 38-10 loss to USC and 45-28 loss to Washington State.

Good Cat News: One could argue that Idaho is one of the four or five worst teams in major college football. The truth of the matter is Arizona should be able to play a F game, Idaho play a A game, and Arizona still wins.

Bad Cat News: This is one of those games that fans will be unhappy if Arizona wins by less then 20. A home loss by Idaho is not going to happen. But we've seen Arizona play closeish game against teams like this.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Stay Tuned

The worlds greatest Wildcats blog is comming back next week! Stay tunend for the countdown to football.