TUCSON AZ - OCTOBER 23: Wide receivers David Roberts #81 and Juron Criner #82 of the Arizona Wildcats celebrate after Criner scored a 21 yard touchdown reception against the Washington Huskies during the fourth quarter of the college football game at Arizona Stadium on October 23 2010 in Tucson Arizona. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
Gameday is here, Arizona fans.
Arizona 6-1 (3-1) at UCLA 3-4 (1-3), inside the famed Rose Bowl at 3:30 ET.
Five games left for Arizona, who despite the tight loss to Oregon State, still have almost complete control over their destiny. Oregon State and Oregon are the only teams that truly control their destiny. Either one wins out, and they win the Pac. Oregon is currently in the driver's seat for the BCS Title Game, so if they win out, the door is slightly ajar for a second Pac-10 team to sneak into the BCS as an at-large team. But, the point being, regardless of losing to the Beavers, Arizona still has the entire season in front of them.
Today, the Bruins will pose an under-the-radar threat to Arizona.
Read on for Smooty's 3 keys to the game.
1) Watch that trap. Every ingredient for the Trap Game is here. Arizona has a huge road game next week at Stanford. Arizona is coming off of a huge home win. Arizona is (likely) starting their back-up quarterback who has started entirely one game this season. And, that starting quarterback may fall prey to over-confidence after running all over an inferior Washington defense. UCLA was blow out last week on the road. UCLA has the comfort of home, and two extra days to prepare, due to last week's Thursday night contest.
2) Beware the Pistol. The Pistol offense is made to take advantage of over-pursuit by the defense. Many of the spread and veer option concepts that the Pistol is based on attack the defense up the middle. If Arizona's defensive line over pursues on outside pass-rushes, the linebackers and second level of the defense will be forced to make a ton of plays.
3) Keep offensive expectations in check. It is entirely likely that the offense will not have as easy of a time cutting through UCLA's defense, as they did last week against Washington. That is okay. Stick to the gameplan, protect the football, and do not panic if the offense sputters out of the gate. UCLA has talent, but Arizona is a good football team. There is a difference. Stick to what we do, and the offense will get theirs.
The pick: Arizona 31, UCLA 13. Arizona will heed the Trap Game warnings. It has been all over the papers this week, and surely Stoops and Co. have been drilling into the Arizona players' heads. Too much offense, and too much Swarm. UCLA keeps it close at first, but Arizona's superior defense and offensive play-makers are the difference.
Let's SWARM the Rose Bowl today, Cats fans.