Heading into this Friday, when the Arizona Wildcats will face off against the Toledo Rockets, I am a bit torn. As a Wildcat fan, I want to see them dominate Toledo. To establish themselves offensively and defensively. I just wonder about the Toledo fan. It wasn’t that long ago that we, the Arizona faithful, were in their shoes. Publicly labeled as a warm-up team. A safe win. Do you remember how that felt? Well I do. It sucked. So, with so much going against Toledo here, I find myself wondering just how bad this will be for the Toledo fan. Having someone come to your stadium, on a nationally televised game, and dominate your team.
The mantra on the message boards has gone something like this. "We upset Colorado last year! We can upset Arizona this year!" As one of my favorite high school instructors liked to say, "Wrong-o, moose-breath". Colorado had a 3-9 season last year. They were awful. Arizona was a heartbeat away from the Rose Bowl. Toledo might try to claim that the Arizona defense will be raw at LB, and that will give them an advantage. Unfortunately, Toledo is breaking in a new QB, and the Wildcats are well above average at all other defensive positions.
But the main reason I am worried for the Toledo fan? The Holiday Bowl. I know, I know, I’m not allowed to mention that nightmare. Go ahead and send the hate for even mentioning it. However, there is no way that the Wildcats are taking Toledo for granted here. The mission here will be to remind the nation that the Arizona Wildcats are a top-level football team. Toledo has found itself in the un-enviable position of being the whipping-boy. Coach Stoops has shown himself to be a classy guy in the past, but who could blame him for running up the score here? The NCAA rewards running up the score in a normal scenario. In this case, running up the score will have the added benefit of helping to prove to voters across the country that this version of the Wildcats will not lose 33-0 to anyone.
In the end, I do feel bad for the Toledo fans. But I will be rooting for coach Stoops to take off the leash, and allow the Wildcats offense to put 70 on the Rockets.