Insider Predictions: UA/Cal

Arizona's offense has improved so it only makes sense that their defense has fallen off from last year. The team is close to winning games, but just can't seem to make the key plays in the key moments to turn the tide. Cal hasn't had that problem they're off and running with wins over Tennessee and CSU. A win over Cal will heal many wounds, but this might not exactly be the game for healing.



After the flood of emotions of last week subsided I have come to the conclusion that we still have a lot of football to play and we do have a very good team.  Our players have not played up to their potential and I believe it can be a fear of the unknown.  There is pressure from success as well.  The fear of success is sometimes even greater than the fear of failure.  I believe that we are afraid of our success and not failure.  Win one and the pressure is on to win the next, and the next, etc....  That aside, a week to stew on the loss to Los Lobos is enough and they want to bury that thought.  However we stare a very talented Cal Team in their hungry eyes.  I have a few concerns:


  a. Are we ready to play football?


  b. Will we be motivated enough to perform at a Pac 10 level of play?


  c. Will the defense show up and/or will Louis Holmes make a difference?


  d. Can Young William throw for 500 yards this weekend?


  e. Can Coach Stoops maintain his composure and lead?


Very tough questions, all of them.  I believe we will be ready and we will show up.  All the others will have to be shown if we have a chance.  This is a tough one to call and should be a toss up with the odds makers.


Record breaking day none the less with the Cats surfacing and showing their true potential.  A very close game with our young kicker hitting a 40 yard field goal late and Cal running out of time trying to score. 

- Tony Melendez, Contributor

Final Score:  UA 27  Cal 24




It seems like the whole world is counting the Wildcats out. And for good reason, they were upset by a middle of the road New Mexico team in a game that saw the defense struggle and play undisciplined. Conversely, the Bears are ranked in the top-10 and dismantled a supposedly solid Tennessee team. Sounds like an easy pick right? Not so fast.


Arizona has played some of its best football in the Stoops era when their backs are against the wall. Add to that the fact that Cal's defense has not been great and there is a glimmer of hope. Sadly, that is all I think it will be, a glimmer. I expect the Cats to play well, but not well enough. The Bears have too many weapons on offense.


- Brad Allis, Editor-in-Chief

Final Score:  Cal  34  UA  17




Last season, Arizona rushed the ball 33 times for 60 yards against Cal.  That equated to a 1.8 YPC average.  This season, Arizona's yards per carry average is double that at 3.6.  The ‘Cats will need to establish a running game Saturday to eat some clock and keep the Bears offense off the field.  Arizona managed to run 67 plays to Cal's 59 in controlling the clock and besting the Bears 24-20 in Arizona Stadium.  This weekend the game's in No Cal and Arizona won't have their homecoming crowd to cheer them on. 


Maybe that's a good thing as Arizona is just 8-14 at home under Stoops.


Forget about penalties, mistakes, dropped passes and everything else that's plagued Arizona this season.  This team needs to just play some inspired football and there's no better way to do that than to put their defense on the attack.  Blitz the secondary and blitz the linebackers.  Heck, sneak the waterboy on the field and turn Adam Sandler loose.  The ‘Cats have to find a way to make Cal QB Longshore uncomfortable in the pocket all the while closing down running lanes so Forsett does not run rampant.  I know they can do it, but I'm not the one strapping on the helmet, or sending in the plays.  For that reason, I think Arizona plays better but their propensity to turn conservative at the worst possible times in games will hamstring them yet again.          


- Gary Randazzo, Basketball Editor

Final Score:  Cal 31  UA 23




Well it's week 4 for our hometown Wildcats football team and my Cardinal & Navy colored glasses are starting to get a bit foggy.  Here goes nothing. . .


Offense:  Last year this was real easy as the Golden Bears had one and my team didn't.  This year is different because, finally, the Arizona Wildcats have found an offense under Sonny Dykes' spread system.  For the first time since I can remember, we are actually a threat to score (and more than 17 points) any time the O takes the field.  Advantage – none.


Defense:  Last year our boys pretty much shut down Cal's high powered attack and I see more of the same this year.  Yeah, I know our defense has not played up to last year's team, and certainly have nowhere close to the hype.  However, I believe Mike leaves the O to Sonny for the Pac 10 race and the Stoops brothers light a fire under this defense.  It may be wishful thinking, but I see a blitzing, attacking defense replace the boring, bend but don't break version (much) we have seen out of conference.

Advantage – AZ


Special Teams:  Last year the Cal returners ate us up.  This year we are older, stronger and meaner.  No big returns (not like Bondzio is going to give anyone a chance anyway).  Advantage – AZ


Prediction:  My team finally comes to play for 60 minutes and stuns the teddy bears with a blowout.


- Blake Phillips, UA Homer

Final Score:  UA 31  Cal 17




Offensively, the Wildcats are getting better and a bit more consistent with the new scheme.  The Cats need much better production out of the running back spot and they need Xavier Smith and Nic Grigsby to learn how to pick up blitzes.  The OL will be key this week, if they can pick up blitzes and hold a very good Cal DL at bay the Cats can move the ball on a talented but inexperienced Cal secondary.


Defensively, quite frankly, the Cats need to wake up and pull their heads out or this week could be a Mackovic type scoreboard show.  Cal's offense is frighteningly good and if the Cats defense doesn't grow up and start playing like they're capable of playing things could get ugly.


My head says Cal 34, Cats 24 but my heart says Cats 31, Cal 30 in OT.  Let's hope my heart is wiser than my Irish brain.

- Chris Bonney, Football Editor

Final Score:  UA  31  Cal  30  OT


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