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Arizona football countdown: 10 days, the number of wins the Wildcats had last season

Last season was Arizona's first 10-win season since 1998. Can the team repeat that this year?

Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images

Despite being projected to finish fourth in the division, Arizona surprised the pundits, winning the division and putting together a 10-win season last year. This was the third 10-win season in Arizona history (the others coming in 1993 and 1998), the first 10-win season in over 15 years, and the first 10-win season under Rich Rodriguez.

While Arizona has a lot going for it this year - many of its best players, like Anu Solomon and Scooby Wright III, return - it again is projected to finish fourth in the division. Throwing that out the window - can the team put together ten wins this season?

There's a chance. Arizona should be able to put together wins against UTSA, Nevada, NAU, Oregon State, Colorado, and Washington State. The team will have a good chance of winning at Washington and at home against Utah. The remaining games - at USC, at Arizona State, at Stanford, and home against UCLA - will all be difficult. Worse, Arizona has almost no margin for error, as the team has no byes and won't have the opportunity to regroup for a week after a loss. Still, if Arizona can win all the games the team is supposed to win, squeak out a win against one of the tougher opponents, and win its bowl game, that would be enough to put together another 10-win season.

But it won't be easy. Rich Rodriguez has repeatedly said that "first you lose big, then you lose close, then you win close, then you win big." Arizona won big last year by winning ten games - the challenge this season will be to try to repeat that performance and continue to compete for the division crown in the Pac-12 South.