Christian Petersen - Getty Images
Arizona and Stanford square off on the heels of two gut punch losses for each program. Both teams have plenty to prove as the contrasting styles square off.
Arizona heads to The Farm tomorrow, taking to the tree-ful land of the focused and successful.
And then there's a football team!
Ok, ok, nerd and VC jokes aside, that's a staunch defense in the Stanford locker room. They're big and they're physical and they are going to get into your backfield. Fortunate for Arizona, they have a mobile quarterback.
But is that enough? It was barely enough for the athletic Keith Price but - particularly in this competitive Pac-12 - a win is a win.
Speaking of which, both of these teams are returning from disappointing losses in which a late lead was yielded to a beatable opponent. So to say Saturday's matchup features a pair of pissed off teams would be an understatement. The Cardinal were dropped from the top-10 and the National Title discussion by the Huskies; Arizona was looking to bounce back from their embarrassing trip to Eugene - and didn't.
So we now find ourselves looking at a noon kickoff - the Wildcats first non-seven-pm-er of the year - at The Farm. A location the ‘Cats last visited two seasons ago as the sexy and sleek fifteenth team in the country before promptly being dismissed, 17-42.
But this is a new era for Arizona - a changing culture as I've mentioned ad-nausea - and yet another opportunity to become relevant (more ad-nausea talk) against, yet again, the eighteenth team in the country.
Yes, this is the Wildcats third tilt against the eighteenth ranked team and they're currently 1-1 in such games. This is also the Wildcats first shot at a "traditional offense," or certainly one that grossly opposes their own style. Carrera, meet Silverado.
And it's that contrast in style that makes this game intriguing - prompting many of the Pacific Takes round tablers to call this a must watch game.
A bout that is ultimately a show me game for both squads.
For Stanford, sure the USC win was lovely, but one would have to question the Cardinal and their swiftly gaudy ranking prior to the Seattle hiccup and questions abound regarding Josh Nunes. Beating the Wildcats at home as they're expected to do, however, would seem to be a solidifying point, a sound victory establishing Stanford as a team that takes care of its business.
On the opposite sideline, we ask, "How many chances are we going to give these Wildcats?" Week-in-week-out each game seems to be proving grounds for what the team is, could be, or will become. But at a certain point - as Dennis Green once pointed out - they'll be who they are.
This weekend marks another shot and perhaps that's the immediate beauty of the college football season. The fleeting immediacy of a weekly opportunity to assert yourself as something you are or are not.
So will it be the pounding Cardinal and the something-to-prove-Josh Nunes who seize this week's opportunity? Or will it be the spread out Wildcats on the tail end of their toughest stretch of games who establish themselves as victorious speedsters?
Either way, the winner shouldn't make a t-shirt.