The line was heard over and over again, in different forms, heading into the Iowa @ Arizona game. ‘This could be a signature win for Arizona.’ ‘This would be an opportunity for the Wildcats to make a statement that they have arrived.’ While most of the commentators predicted an Arizona loss, they mostly stated that it would be a hard fought game. Then Arizona won. Not only did they win, they dominated both of Iowa’s lines. They allowed Iowa back into the game after owning the first half, and instead of folding like the Wildcats of old, they regrouped and closed out the game in spectacular fashion. Statement made.
Now, heading into the Cal @ Arizona game, another line is being repeated over and over. ‘The Arizona Wildcats are in serious danger of suffering the upset to Cal.’ I am one of the people that has been saying that very thing. Don’t think for a second that I am alone among the Wildcat fan-base. I feel that I represent many Wildcat fans, in that I am cautiously optimistic. I am ecstatic over the quality of this team. Specifically, the ability of both the offense and the defense to pull it together for amazing drives to seal the game.
But the bad memories of seasons past haunt me. I can’t stop worrying about the potential for Cal to upset Arizona this coming Saturday. To send all of the momentum generated thus far to a grinding halt. Make no mistake, I will be at the game this Saturday and will be cheering until my voice fails me. I am simply voicing a reasonable concern. A concern shared by the national media. So the statement needed from the Arizona Wildcats this time around? ‘We are not a team that has a major victory, and then regresses to mediocrity. We are a dominant team that is here to stay.’
And why not? Arizona’s defense showed its teeth last weekend, completely shutting down the Iowa running game. Iowa RB Adam Robinson rushed for 834yds last season, and is currently predicted by ESPN.com to rush for 1,080yds this season. His total for the Arizona game? 5yds. While I am not saying that Robinson is a better RB than Cal RB Shane Vereen, (Vereen, in my opinion is superior.) I am saying that the game-plan for Cal will likely be similar. Shut down the run, and force Cal QB Kevin Riley to pass frequently. If this happens, and I suspect it will, Cal will be in serious trouble.
Add to the equation that Arizona’s offense is likely to have a field day, playing against a Cal defense likely missing its best player. I won’t throw out statistics on this one. Just look at what the Arizona offensive line did to Iowa’s defensive line last week. The defensive line that is still being mentioned as one of the best in the nation. I simply do not see a way in which Cal’s defense can stop QB Nick Foles and company from scoring at least 33 points. Hooray for tacos! (When the Wildcats score 33 points or more in a home game, everybody in the stadium gets 2 free tacos.)
So go ahead and get mad, Wildcat faithful. I’m predicting the Arizona Wildcats defeat the Cal Golden Bears, 38 - 17. I have faith that the Wildcats can beat the jinx. I have even more faith that coach Stoops has been riding these guys all week and will have them mentally and physically ready to compete at a high level come Saturday.
Bear Down, Wildcats! Beat the Golden Bears!