Do I dare write this? I mean if I write this will I somehow jinx the Wildcats chances of making it to the first Rose Bowl for the University of Arizona football program?
Aw hell doesn't matter, I just gotta write this.
What a completely wild season in the Pac-10, and a refreshing one too because for the first time in forever the USC Trojans will not be representing the Pac-10 in the Rose Bowl. Now that definitely felt good to write. It's been a run of seven consecutive conference titles for Southern Cal (with numerous Rose Bowl appearances included), and I'm overjoyed and all smiley to see that reign come to an end, so in that regard many thanks to the Huskies, the Ducks, and the Cardinal for laying the wood to the Trojans this season. There are some used condom jokes in there, but I'll just leave those to your imagination.
So that means Oregon, Arizona, Oregon State, and Stanford are still alive for the trip to Pasadena, and on Saturday night Oregon and Arizona meet in Tucson. The ESPN Gameday crew have set up their stage and cameras at the Mall facing Old Main, and it's going to be cool to see the UofA campus on tv and to see the game broadcast nationally in primetime. I read that the stadium will be in a "Red Out" (all the UA fans will be wearing red) and the team will be wearing all red uniforms. Red is a very appropriate color. If the 'Cats win their remaining three games, then they will punch a ticket to the Rose Bowl.
I've been here before though, specifically when I was a senior at the UofA. Earlier that season Arizona had lost at UCLA, but when Arizona kept winning and the Bruins dropped a couple of conference games that opened a door and meant the Wildcats controlled their own destiny. Win their remaining games and they would punch a ticket to the Rose Bowl. Eh, sound familiar? That team blew a large lead at Cal and wound up tied with UCLA for the Pac-10 title, but since the Bruins had defeated the 'Cats head-to-head there was no Rose Bowl for Arizona.
So here we are again.
Oregon comes into the game on Saturday as the clear favorite in the eyes of the media. That's fine. The Ducks have played in some big games this year and deserve their #11 national ranking, and without a doubt their offense is outstanding. In contrast, Arizona seems to be getting very little respect from the media. What the pollsters who are picking Oregon probably don't realize is that Arizona is extremely tough at home and a heated rivalry between the two schools has been gaining some steam for quite a while now, both on the field and along the recruiting trail. Arizona will be ready to bloody some noses in this game, and again red is a very appropriate color.
No superstitions now. Arizona absolutely needs this game to keep the dream alive for the school's first Rose Bowl, and I believe the team will take care of business on Saturday in primetime.
Bear Down Wildcats!