To jump off or not to jump off a bandwagon that isn't burning

STILLWATER, OK - SEPTEMBER 8: Running back Keola Antolin #2 of the Arizona Wildcats is taken down by the Oklahoma State defense on September 8, 2011 at Boone Pickens Stadium in Stillwater, Oklahoma. Oklahoma State defeated Arizona 37-14. (Photo by Brett Deering/Getty Images)

Go ahead. Let it all out. It's the morning after the Arizona Wildcats, uh, showed up (?) to Stillwater only to be smashed by the Oklahoma State Cowboys. Do you feel better? I hope so.

Because yesterday was rough, I'm sure. Not only did the outcome prove ugly, a 37-14 score indicative of the Wildcats lurking problems in the offseason. Without a run game and without  much defense at all -- not to mention injuries to the leaders on each side of the ball -- it might even be fair to say that Arizona took a step backward in comparison to a 36-10 Alamo Bowl loss in December.

You know, the offense turned the ball over once instead of three times on Thursday night. They didn't spot the Pokes 21 points; they pretty much let them earn it, if that's a phrase that means the Wildcats handled field position and turnovers well. But why? Why would Arizona take a step back after a summer filled with talk of change?

Maybe they're just an average team that faced a No. 9-ranked squad.

So were expectations overblown for Mike Stoops' Wildcats? Probably. The young offensive line wasn't the only reason UA lost, however. Simply put, this team doesn't have the talent and upside that we might believe it had.

There are solid wide receivers in Dan Buckner and Austin Hill who made up for Juron Criner's absence. Nick Foles, while no Heisman candidate, is a solid quarterback, but he can only do so much. He's a leader and a smart football player, but often times, he looked uncertain about whether to sling the ball, run with it ... he didn't really know. That's considering the times he did have time in the pocket, too.

The defense allowed 37 points. Enough said.

I'm not crapping out on this team. That's why we'll watch every week. Nothing is certain. But the old, redundant saying of "they are who they are" is true for the Wildcats. Arizona, visibly, is what it is -- nothing more. There's no hidden "truth" that's waiting to pop out, and in that, the "real" identity of this team is, unfortunately, already out there.

That's not to say this team isn't capable of an upset in the following weeks, it's just saying that the Wildcats will have to catch a Stanford or Oregon on an off-night. This bandwagon of elite dreams, perhaps, was pushed by the hopes of the coaching staff and the players, who said they had changed things. What else are they supposed to do? Say they're the same team as last year, where they lost their final five games? Nope.

Not that they're lying, but "truth" is relevant only to those who hold it. From the outside looking in, I believe those "truths" made the bandwagon that much bigger.

It's not burning. You shouldn't be jumping off. It was just headed a different direction than you expected.

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