Since the start of the season is only two weeks away, we at the California Golden Blogs thought we’d give our Pac-10 power rankings. Every few days from now, we will discuss a Pac-10 team and its outlook for the 2007 season. Please note that these are power rankings and not necessarily our predicted finishes of how teams will finish the season. We refrained from a collective Golden Blogs ranking because we thought it would be more fun for our readers to see how we each ranked the teams. And let me just tell you now, that there are some huge variations in our rankings. I think that speaks volumes about the competitiveness of the Pac-10, although our SEC friends might say that that’s just parity among mediocre teams. Anyways, by revealing our individual rankings, you the readers can enjoy the pleasure of calling us out and ridiculing us until we break down and cry -albeit in a very manly manner- so you can feel better about yourself despite your insecurities. So with that out of the way, we’ll start the first roundtable discussion with Arizona.
HydroTech: Arizona rides and dies on the play of Willie Tuitama. Antoine Cason is holding things down on D for the Wildcats, but without Tuitama making magic on offense the Wildcats are on the endangered species list. Last year they only scored 16.6 points per game and ranked 105th in the NCAA for offensive scoring. I highly doubt the offense is going to be significantly better this year.
YellowFever: Let’s not forget they lost Chris Henry to the Titans too. What is it with them and their love of big Pac-10 backs anyway? As far as the defense, I remember reading last year about Louis Holmes and how he’d have an impact at DE - I honestly have no idea how he did, but I think if he really did have the impact he was supposed to, I probably would have. And did you know Tuitama suffered three concussions? I’m going to say that Chris Henry is going to need some work on his pass blocking before he gets Vince Young killed. But hey, the Wildcats brought in former Texas Tech QB Sonny Dykes to take over the job of OC. How do we see that one panning out?
HydroTech: Yeah, Dykes is supposed to install a fancy and shiny new spread offense. Most Cal fans are probably thinking: did they not see how our experiment with the spread panned out? The fact is, the spread takes time to install. Players think, react, and play differently. Although Urban Meyer had loads of talent around him his first year at Florida, it took a full year for things to really click. I don’t think Dykes’s spread offense is going to really pan out until 2008. Until then, I think the offense will be just as ineffective and I wouldn’t be surprised if Stoops is fired after next season. Did you know that after suffering a concussion you are more susceptible to suffer another concussion? So that means, after three concussions, if a football accidentally bounces off Tuitama’s helmet, he’s done for season if not a vegetable. Is there an NCAA rule forbidding a player to wear two helmets?
TwistNHook: Could be a rough year for the Wildcats. Firstly, it’s about time that Coach Stoops head finally exploded. I had 2007 in the pool and I’m really hoping this year is the year! Secondly, looking back the past few years, they’ve played their best football in November. I’m sure Cal fans know all too well about Arizona’s giant-killing November ways.
Looking at their schedule this year, they only play 2 games in November: Oregon and UCLA. Two hyped teams, so maybe Arizona will pad its giant-killer resume. But Arizona has still front loaded their entire schedule. They only have 3 games after October 28. Add in a new offense and it could spell a recipe for disaster.
Luckily, Cal faces UA on 9.22 this year and not in November. I’ll be there (perhaps wearing my new Bills Marshawn jersey!), ready to catch bits and pieces of Coach Stoops head.
Is that a good start?
YellowFever: No, that’s not a good start, we already started. Don’t you know how to read?
TwistNHook: A good start for me.
Ragnarok: Well, regardless of how soon the offense clicks, its emphasis is on short, quick passing routes, which should help Tuitama get rid of the ball before his offensive line has time to collapse. Anything that helps Tuitama keep his back off the ground is a good thing for Arizona, which is why I have them ranked as high as I do.
YellowFever: You have them seventh in the Pac-10, Ragnarok, above the juggernauts known as the Washington schools and Stanford. That’s high?
Now’s probably a good time to go over where we each had Arizona ranked - I had them eighth, ahead of only Washington State and Stanford. I realize they beat us last year, but come on. That was a classic trap game and it’s not happening again. And because I like quoting stuff, from SI.com we have
"The Wildcats will run a spread offense, one that appears to be a cross between those at BYU and Texas Tech.
The evidence? In its first public scrimmage of the spring, Arizona threw 55 passes in 72 plays. In past seasons, those numbers were more likely to be 55 runs in 72 plays."
It’s not a good thing when a season preview about your offense says - you run an offense. Great. If the results were actually any good, they would have said so.
Ragnarok: Well, I’m not saying they’ll be world-beaters. But at 7th place in the Pac-10 would give them a shot a bowl game, which would certainly be an improvement.
However, now that I look at the schedule, I’m not so sure. Northern Arizona *should* be a pushover, but both BYU and New Mexico reached bowl games last season, and if they don’t win both of those games, I don’t see them winning 4 Pac-10 games.
And I’ll give them a pass for running a new offense in a spring game; remember, they can still play D, so any offense at all gives them a chance to win games.
TwistNHook: Speaking of BYU, I just checked and Tom Holmoe is STILL their AD:
Do they enjoy failure? This in no way relates to Arizona, but dear lord, how does Tom Holmoe still have a job?!?!?!?!?!?
YellowFever: 7th in the Pac-10 doesn’t have to mean anything close to 6 or 7 wins, so they could easily be seventh without sniffing a bowl game. Just saying. But it looks like the Wildcats can be summed up like this - they have what should be a good defense, and an offense. With plays and everything. Not necessarily a good one. But they have one. And that’s a start.
TwistNHook: And hey, at least they don’t have Tom Holmoe overseeing the whole program. So, that’s a real strong step in the right direction!
Then again, there are 118 DI and innumerable DII and DIII programs that can also say the same thing. So, maybe Arizona’s "No Holmoe" plan won’t be as successful as originally perceived.
In the order of: HydroTech, Ragnarok, TwistNHook, Yellow Fever
7. __, UA, UA, __
8. UA, __, __, UA