Mark J. Rebilas-US PRESSWIRE
The concerned citizens of the Pac-12 were made aware that the Arizona Wildcats are here and ready to play for keeps this second half of the season.
What the Arizona Wildcats did on Saturday night was announce to the concerned citizens of the Pac-12 that they're a shade better than a 3-3, 0-3 football team.
They let the conference know that Ka'Deem Carey is an elite back and Matt Scott was built to play in a Rich Rodriguez offense and that offense he leads is about as fast as they get. It was brought to the league's attention that Jeff Casteel's defense doesn't belong to Josh Nunes.
Indeed, the concerned citizens of the Pac-12 should now be aware that the Arizona Wildcats are good and maybe even a little pissed off.
Their first half of the season left something to be desired but they're now poised for a big second half; one that could - with a little help from their friends - find its way to a south division championship.
Alas, I'm getting ahead of myself because this is not a team that's 6-1 with close wins over Oregon State and Stanford. Those games were indeed lost. But those were games, not a season; and the season appears to entail five winnable football games.
Will it be easy? Absolutely not. USC is USC, traveling to Pasadena and Salt Lake is no cake walk, and anything can happen when you play your rival. There's some battles remaining but Saturday's game reminded us that these Wildcats are going to do just that and refuse to be bullied. They won't accept three game losing streaks or blowing leads.
But you could question my anointing of this game. What makes a home win over a 3-3 opponent coming off a bye week a statement win? There were plenty of things positively staked in Arizona's favor, what makes the win special?
The first five-and-a-half-minutes of the second half. Allow me context:
As you know, there the Wildcats were; battered and beaten, having given away two of their past three games and staring at a steep 0-3 in conference. On Saturday, Arizona had pieced together a nice 31-10 lead and were driving when Matt Scott was hit as he threw leading to an interception and eventual UW touchdown.
Precious momentum had fluttered into the air and Washington had captured it. Because soon the teams would take to the field for the second half. The half Arizona most struggles with. In their three conference games, the Wildcats have yielded 97 second half points. So to give up a score late and in that fashion did not particularly bode well for the RIchRod's team.
But they weren't about to let that happen. Not this Saturday, not with the season's momentum hanging in the balances, not with a chance to remind everyone - all those concerned citizens - that there's indeed a second half of this season and a clean(ish) slate by which the Wildcats can piece together some impressive wins and make a little something of this.
Fourteen points in those five-and-a-half back breaking minutes and the conference took heed.
The Wildcats are here to play.