Homecoming week in Tucson.
A Mountain has been lit, the bon fire’s glow on Old Main has been cast, and...the Arizona Wildcats have a chance at becoming bowl eligible?
It’s a thing!
With a renewed energy surrounding the football team, it’s likely that Arizona Stadium will be bumping on Saturday night as the Washington State Cougars roll into town for a battle of top teams in the Pac-12.
So will Arizona be able to stay at one conference loss against a team that has given them trouble recently? Here are three things that’ll need to happen to please all the alumni that will be in Tucson this weekend:
1. Luke’s Italian Beef
I’ve come away from the last couple of games concerned about Arizona’s passing defense, particularly late in the game. Against a coach like Mike Leach and a quarterback like Luke Falk, that doesn’t seem like it will end well for these Cats.
Even though Cal was able to get a bajillion sacks against this WSU team, I still think that the Cougs have one of the top two offensive lines in the conference. With that, it will be a challenge for Arizona to get pressure on Falk and force some of the mistakes that Josh Rosen made or the amount of sacks Steven Montez took.
I also don’t love that Kylan Wilborn, Dereck Boles, and Tony Fields II will be dealing with injuries suffered last week, which could hurt Arizona’s front. But if the Wildcats can overcome all of these things and get to Falk, that’ll put this team in a much better spot.
If you read the best breakdown in the history of Khalil Tate’s existence, you’ll know that Cal started to have success in slowing down the Arizona phenom when it had defenders parked on the edge.
Since Arizona’s offense has been almost entirely dependent on running/quarterbacks gaining the edge, there will need to be a bit of an adjustment by the Wildcats this week.
Will it be different looks in the read option? Will it be different blocking schemes up front? Who knows, but I do know that there will need to be something different there if this offense is to have the success it has had since the bye.
3. Snap Fitness
I believe this game will be close. I don’t think that’s a controversial take given that the line as of Friday night is WSU -2.5. So there’s a good chance this will be a one possession game.
The most inconsistent thing about Arizona this year has been field goal kicking, and in particular, the snap execution of said field goals. It’s gotten to the point where Trevor Wood was doing the long snapping.
Well, Wood is out with a concussion this week, so there’s even more upheaval at that particular position. Will something go horribly wrong on a field goal or extra point? There seems to be a good chance of that!
Avoid that mistake and maybe this team pulls out a close win. Make that mistake and WSU walks away with this one (like maybe with a game-ending field goal like I predicted in our predictions thing).