It's pretty hard to make the argument that the Arizona Wildcats' loss to the Oregon Ducks wasn't anything but awful, but I'm here to try. A usually skeptical person, I found the Oregon game incredibly interesting because I assume that the team won't continue to turn it over five times a game, and the outlook to Arizona's season hasn't changed. They did turn it over five times and did get shut out badly, but now it's only worth the experience and the single tick in the loss column.
I can't help but say I was greatly impressed with the Arizona defense that made the Ducks' offense known for its speed look average.
The Wildcats stopped the Ducks from scoring a touchdown or a field goal on 6-of-14 possessions, a very solid number that -- for a unit that was called weak by everyone including us -- made Oregon look much more vulnerable that any team should look while pitching a 49-0 blowout.
Or are the Wildcats actually pretty good in the first year of Jeff Casteel's defense? On the same line of thought, it's also a fair statement to say for Oregon to pitch a shutout while playing so poorly bodes very well for the Ducks. Addicted To Quack's David Piper, like us, called it the "weirdest shutout ever."
Then come the people making rash accusations of both the AP and coaches' polls being thrown together by morons. A Deadspin editor said UA was inexplicably ranked for beating an Oklahoma State team that shouldn't have been ranked (there is, however, a funny video of Rich Rodriguez cursing to indie music).
Oregon State fans are probably feeling pretty good after their second win against a ranked opponent last week.
Oregon state is ranked and you're still going to tell me Arizona is a 3 point favorite after getting shut out by the ducks??? Come on bro— Maria Bruggere (@MariaBru88) September 23, 2012
Using the transitive theory logic of teams that shouldn't be ranked as did noted Deadspin editor, Oregon State should not be ranked since they beat a UCLA team that was ranked and now is ... uhhhh not ranked. (For those of you who don't understand sarcasm, I am joking. Like Arizona, Oregon State now belongs in the polls because they've earned the respect. The polls aren't a freakin' gospel).
Vegas' odds going into next week agree more with the oddity of Saturday's game than do the people who didn't watch it. The Wildcats open as three-point favorites against the newly 18th-ranked Beavers.
Here's how it looks: Oregon got two pick-six touchdowns. They needed to kick two field goals. They scored four offensive touchdowns on the night, yes, but the Wildcats had the horses to equal that.
Two turnovers on downs and three interceptions by Matt Scott all came on sustained drives. Credit goes to Oregon's defense for forcing two early turnover on downs with their backs against the walls, and credit goes to Oregon's defense for four forced punts to begin the second half, which might have put the pressure on Scott to try some not-to-smart passes.
Rich Rodriguez must now see how his team bounces back. Scott's recovery is the most important, but remember that he's never in his career had a situation like this; it's a chance for redemption, something that he didn't have the courtesy of with Nick Foles breathing down his neck then taking his job at Iowa in 2009.
Back to Oregon, though. Yes, Arizona was outplayed. Yes, the Ducks are very good. But in no way should the outing, even with the final score, have changed the projected trajectory of the Wildcats' season prior to Saturday.