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ESPN's Rece Davis talks Arizona football, basketball, Pac-12 and Wilma

Rece Davis joined us on behalf of the Capital One Mascot Challenge, where Wilma is currently getting crushed. You can vote on their website, or on the official Facebook and Twitter pages to get Wilma some more support.

Mark Zerof-USA TODAY Sports

Thanks to the Capital One Mascot Challenge, I got the chance to chat with ESPN's Rece Davis about all things Arizona, but first, he has four words for Wildcat fans.

"Vote Now, Bear Down".

Arizona can win $20,000 dollars in scholarship money if Wilma rallies and starts winning some of these battles, so get out there and vote. You can get a lot more points if you're super-creative with your voting.

Rece Davis says that he has seen a good amount of Arizona Wildcats football so far this year, as he has a good relationship with Greg Byrne and Rich Rodriguez. He said he saw most of the game against UTSA, and was impressed with the way Arizona was able to battle through it and come away with a hard-earned win. Davis is calling Houston/BYU Thursday night, and while watching tape of the UTSA/Houston game, he's starting to realize just how great of a coaching job Larry Coker has done at UTSA and how good the Roadrunners are this year.

Davis called Anu Solomon "The quintessential RichRod quarterback" with his ability to throw the ball and the ability to escape from trouble in the pocket.

At running back, while Davis has been impressed by Nick Wilson's first two career games, it's also encouraging that Arizona has a few backs it can trust, because you "need several" thanks to "the shortest shelf life of any position."

"When you look at a team like Alabama, they sign a couple highly-rated running backs every year, and that's why they have success with the running game. They can split the load."

Hey, if Arizona's running game can be like Alabama, that would be great if you ask me.

On defense, Davis loves the number of playmakers, namely Scooby Wright and Jared Tevis. Also, Scooby Wright is Rece Davis' favorite name in all of college football.

With the two games so far, Davis says if Arizona "continues to improve they will be a contender in the Pac-12 South." He pointed to the upcoming Thursday night game in Oregon (which he'll be calling) as the true measuring stick for how good this team can be this year.

But he's not sold on the rest of the division right now.

Davis told me that the biggest thing he was looking for with UCLA this year was big improvements on the offensive line, but that hasn't happened yet. I asked him if he thought having 'The Drive' follow them and having cameras around all the time would be a possible distraction and contributing to the slow start, and he had an interesting take.

"Kids are documenting everything nowadays on Twitter and Instagram anyways," Davis said. "So they're probably used to it. But we've lost the idea of the un-communicated thought."

Then we got to USC, who he said showed this weekend that they are "not invincible" even with a tough win at Stanford, but he blamed the Cardinal more for the loss, citing the many drives that stalled out late, and then punting from inside their own 30 late in the game.

"It's fair to call them the favorite in the South," Davis said of the Trojans. "Their starters are better than any other starting 22 and that's what gives them the edge....there's just no depth."

Now for this week's opponent, Nevada. Rece Davis says that "they will be better" than last year, and that Saturday's game "won't be a layup, but Arizona should win."

Nevada beat Washington State last weekend, and sort of like Stanford, Davis put it more on the Cougs losing than the Wolfpack winning.

"Washington State looks sloppy," he said. "Nevada and Rutgers deserve some credit, but the offense has just looked sloppy."


I would have been dumb not to take advantage of my time with Rece Davis without asking him a couple quick things about the basketball team. The main thing that stood out was he called both Rondae Hollis-Jefferson and Sean Miller "one of the stars of college basketball" and that Rondae's athleticism and explosiveness is what will make him one of the best players in the country this year.

On Miller's ability to recruit the top talent, Davis credits how "personable" coach Miller is, and how he has turned Tucson into a pretty easy sell for players. With the new facilities coming this season, there is no reason that should stop anytime soon.

Again, thanks to Rece Davis for his time, and get Wilma some votes!