They survived. Not only did the Arizona Wildcats combat a treacherous opening six weeks, they thrived. Quarterback Anu Solomon made himself a name. Linebacker Scooby Wright III sealed the school's biggest win in recent memory. Head coach Rich Rodriguez reaffirmed himself as an offensive guru. The flowers are in full blossom in Tucson.
It's not often fans can know the fate of their team ahead of time. Only God, Larry Scott, and the Pac-12 officials can know such pertinent information. But if Wildcat fans knew their squad was fated for a 5-1 start, they'd have signed up immediately-especially if the only loss came within a hair of beating powerhouse USC. There were Hail Mary's, forced fumbles of Heisman candidates, and missed game-winning field goals attempted. And just think, there's still six more to play.
The wins came hot and heavy to start the season. UNLV, UTSA, and Nevada were all victimized in non-conference wins for the ‘Cats. They shocked the nation on a Thursday night in Eugene, toppling the mighty #2 Oregon Ducks. That win alone pole-vaulted them up 19 spots in the polls, landing inside the top-10.
There are two ways of thinking concerning Arizona football thus far in 2014: the optimist believes they may be on their way to a Pac-12 Championship appearance with the worst of their schedule behind them. The pessimist sees nail biting wins over non-AQ schools UTSA and Nevada and the Hail Mary that beat Cal, and can't help but be weary. Very easily, the ‘Cats record could be 2-4. Then again, they could be 6-0.
So where does that leave Rich Rod's squad as they come down the stretch? Theoretically, they're in a good position. Their toughest challenges remain on the road at UCLA and home against Arizona State. The second-to-last week of the year will also provide drama as the Wildcats travel to Utah for a game that may potentially decide the Pac-12 South.