Jason O. Watson
It's been a roller coaster of a first half of the season for the Arizona Wildcats. Following their well timed bye week, the Wildcats will have a chance to redefine their season in the second half.
Arizona will host Washington Saturday night in a bout of 3-3 teams. These are two of the most interesting 3-3 teams you'll find in the country and one could argue that this game could very well be season defining for each.
Each team's remaining schedule seems to mirror the other. There's a challenge (Arizona hosts USC, Washington hosts the Beavers) and beyond that, both of these .500s play the cupcake slate of their season. And so it goes without saying that the winner of Saturday's game will walk away feeling a lot better about themselves than the loser.
In Arizona's case, this game comes off of the bye week. A good-Bye week as I like to call it and now I'll elaborate.
Good-Bye Scenario 1:
The ‘Cats have been banged up. They were down to three defensive starters for parts of the last two games and for a team that's already extremely thin, that's not good. Having a hole in their schedule last week has allowed them to lick their wounds and heal up. Preparing for what is and can be a bruising Washington defense. A defense that certainly made Josh Nunes look like Josh Nunes as opposed to what the Wildcats did which was make Josh Nunes look like Andrew Luck. So goodbye injuries. Goodbye thinned out 3-3-5. Goodbye 33 points allowed per game?
Good-Bye Scenario 2:
The ‘Cats have lost three straight. One was ugly, we know, but the other two? Those were heart-ripper-outers (yeah, I just used heart-ripper-outers because that's about how I felt on CalTrain home from the Stanford game). Saturday's bout will teach us a lot about whether or not these Wildcats are a lesser or greater team than their previous game. Because ultimately you can only be as good as today's game, right? Like I keep hearing Rich Rodriguez say, "Feel this for 24-hours, then its over." Good or bad it's on to the next. So goodbye losing streak, fourth quarter meltdowns, and anything else that is now definitively in the past. Goodbye.
It's the second half of the season and I'd like to see the Wildcats come out looking like it. That's to say, with a clean slate - having indeed said goodbye to what's transpired. Lingering will do them no good. It will do them only harm.
So with that, I say HELLO! to the second half of the college football season.
We usher it in with a game no less important than the previous six but for Arizona and Washington, we'll learn who has managed to shake the disappointment of the first half. And who just might be the team we didn't think they were.