It may seem strange to be concerned about a team being 3-1, especially when you're a fan of the Arizona Wildcats, and maybe you're not accustomed to seeing teams actually win games.
But this year may be a little different. Not only is Arizona coming off an extremely underwhelming performance against UCLA, but may be without starting quarterback Anu Solomon and are definitely without the nation's top defensive player Scooby Wright III for an extended period of time.
This has led to some people questioning whether or not Arizona will even be bowl eligible, but we have not gone quite that far. Here's what we think about the expectations for this season now after playing the first third of the schedule.
Gabe Encinas: If Scooby Wright is out for an extended period of time, I don't like the direction this team is heading. The health of all the other linebackers, doesn't help either. That's definitely going to help out true freshman quarterbacks such as Seth Collins and Jake Browning of Oregon State and Washington.
If Anu Solomon's injuries begin to linger around longer than they should, and Jerrard Randall has to come in as the starter and play complete games, the concern is definitely raised even more so. I still think Tyrell Johnson's injury is much worse than Rich Rodriguez is leading onto, and Trey Griffey's injury certainly doesn't help either.
Maybe this is a bit of an overreaction here, but that Arizona State game could be for a winning record/bowl eligibility, for both programs. Three easy non-conference games got us almost halfway there, but to get four more wins, that could be tough for this team.
David Potts: A lower level bowl game. Thankfully, we already have three easy wins in the bank, so we only need three more for bowl eligibility. We should be able to beat Oregon State and Washington State at home. From there, we just need to steal one more win, and with games at Colorado, at Arizona State, and at Washington, I feel like we'll be able to do it.
That's not exactly a great season - I think we'll end up with six or seven wins - but it's good enough to make a bowl game, maybe at the Cactus Bowl in Tempe or the Sun Bowl in El Paso. And given the injuries to Scooby Wright and Anu Solomon, I'll consider that a win.
Ryan Kelapire: With Scooby out for an extended period of time, and Anu's health in question, I think an 8-4 season would be a "success" at this point. If they lose against Stanford, I think the new goal should simply be to make a bowl game and beat ASU. It sucks that it has come to this, as I thought they'd go 9-3 or 10-2 this year, but injuries happen. It's just really unfortunate that they have hit Arizona's best and most important players, as well as decimated their depth, especially at linebacker.
Jason Bartel: As long as Solomon only misses the Stanford game, I still think this team should be able to get to 8-4. Even with the defense struggling, you'd have to think the offense, led by the potent run game, can beat Oregon State and Washington State in Tucson, and a road game at Colorado. That gets you to six, and then you possibly have Scooby coming back for those last four games,
I'm relying on the theory of "Pac-12 Weirdness" for those last two wins. I don't know where they'll come from, but I believe the Wildcats will go 2-2 in that final third of the season. So 8-4 gets you into something like the Sun Bowl or the Cactus Bowl, and a nice, short trip for Arizona fans for bowl season. Again, I'm counting on Solomon being back in the very near future for this. If Jerrard Randall or Brandon Dawkins is playing quarterback, this is a totally different story.
I still think 2016 was always the year that the coaching staff targeted for this team winning a Pac-12 Championship anyway, and with all these new guys getting significant playing time, that dream may be even more of a reality now, especially when normal bye schedules come back next year. Last year was a very fortunate series of events that came about a year or two earlier than expected. It was fun, but I think some people got spoiled by it too. Keep things in perspective, have faith in this coaching staff, and know that things can only get better when Arizona's playmakers are healthy again.