The Arizona Wildcats have finally reached their bye week. Unfortunately, they are sitting at a 2-5 mark on the season and their postseason hopes are quickly fading. The team finds themselves in an interesting position as their record suggests the season has been a complete disaster.
The bizarre part is they have been competitive for the most part with the exception of last week against USC. They were within 90 seconds and a two-point conversion away from starting the season 4-0 with a top-10 victory to boast.
This season, like last season, has been cursed by injuries. Anu Solomon’s freak injury in practice forced Brandon Dawkins into the starting role only to find himself sidelined with a rib injury and concussion. Khalil Tate has provided some excitement for the future, but it’s clear he’s not ready now.
The final five games of 2016 are all winnable. However, the question is how likely are the Wildcats to win them?
We knew going into the season that the Washington through Stanford stretch was going to be brutal. As some may have expected, the Wildcats are riding a four-game losing streak as they prepare for Homecoming against Stanford.
Much of the team’s performance during the last five games will ride heavily on the health at quarterback. If both Anu and Dawkins are healthy during this stretch, it’s not inconceivable that they can win four to obtain bowl eligibility.
It’s certainly not the record that everyone had hoped for, but given the circumstances, I think the majority of fans will be colored impressed if the Wildcats can get to a bowl.
The opportunity of turning the season around begins on Oct. 29 when UA plays host to Stanford. The Cardinal are experiencing an uncommon season of their own relative to prior David Shaw seasons.
Playing the role as the eternal optimist, this could be a good time to play them. There is a chance that Christian McCaffrey will miss the game due to injury. Parlaying this with Stanford’s questionable quarterback play and subpar defense could be the break that UA has been looking for.
The final four games against Washington State, Colorado, Oregon State and Arizona State remain the hopeful stretch of the schedule. Oregon State feels like the only sure-fire win remaining on the schedule.
Once again, success in the final five games is contingent upon a healthy/stabilized quarterback situation. So, assuming the Wildcats can regain their QB depth, how likely is it that they can reach a bowl game?