Not bowl-or-bust: The reason Mike Stoops' job at Arizona is not on the line

So I've been slacking with my posting duties for the slightly understandable reason of moving. I spent the past wild week by hauling all my crap from New York, to Phoenix and then to Tucson. When I got to the Old Pueblo for what will hopefully be my last semester at Arizona -- not that I don't like it here, but I'm down to become a big boy and get one of those job things -- I realized that little has changed. OK, so the Papa John's in the Park Student Union is gone and the glut of freshmen moving into some fancy new dorms look even younger than last year.

But it's Tucson; there's no freeways or Ikeas popping up. Hell, my apartment I'm moving into just so happened to be the same one my mother lived in when she went to the UofA in the 1970s. Kinda weird. Point is, it's still the same ol' Tucson.

Unfortunately for the football team (and I guess fortunately for the basketball team) their places in the sports landscape usually turns out to be consistent and unhinging as well.

This season, it's sorta daunting to begin the football schedule with the same teams that blew the whistle on a 7-1, Top-10 team in 2010. If you've followed along on the blog, you'll notice that I'm holding strong to my expectations of a 7-5 record by the regular season's end, most recently of which I predicted for a preview with Go Mighty Card, a Stanford blog. It's hard to stick with it considering all the conversations I have with people both more negative and more positive than I.

Though trying to remain objective, I could quite possibly be overly optimistic.

But I hold my belief because every year in Mike Stoops' tenure, the Wildcats take tiny steps forward. I know, last year was a disappointment and hardly a step forward following the Holiday Bowl run a year prior, one that was successful outside the beatdown at the hands of Nebraska to end the season

Yet, Stoops has never taken any large steps backward. How often in Arizona do the Wildcats make three consecutive bowl games anyhow? It's a question of consistency that Stoops has built from season to season. Now the question before this year is whether 2011 will be a far cry from 2010. It could go either way, too. The numbers and scheduling don't bode well for the Wildcats, so by "far cry," I ask whether this team could revert back to the first three years of the Stoops era record-wise. I also ask whether the Wildcats could surprise on the frontend of the schedule and jump into elite status should the kicking game and offensive line rise over the poor expectations.

Or like the city of Tucson, will we see another 7-5, 6-6 or 5-7 season? There's no easy answers in a reshaped conference and oddball of a schedule. Either way, I hold strong with my prediction of 7-5 for the sake of consistency.

Like the city of Tucson, Stoops has been, for seasons as wholes, largely consistent although incrementally improving in his results. Until it's clear he can improve no more and until it's clear there's a better candidate to hire at Arizona, where football has never been known to make three bowl games in a row (I know there's more bowl games now, but it's not like the Wildcats have appeared in three Potato Bowls), no jobs should be lost.

Dick Tomey couldn't take the Wildcats to three in a row, which makes me think that Stoops is here to stay.



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