The Arizona Wildcats are lost. This season is lost. They have lost seven games in a row, with six of those seven losses having been by at least 13 points (the average loss is a staggering 31 points). The closest game the Wildcats have had during this horrid stretch is their overtime 7-point defeat to Washington. Someone explain how that makes sense.
At this point, what else can be said about the Wildcats offense? Every running back is hurt or gone. The quarterback position is a merry-go-round, sans any joy. Wide receivers are now playing running back, which makes sense, since they aren’t getting any action in the passing game. The Cats are pushing a rock up the same hill every single week, and failing.
The defense at least looks like it is making an effort, although it continues to give up 3rd down conversions at an alarming rate (50% vs. Colorado). Special teams have been an unmitigated disaster. Josh Pollack, who has performed admirably in a dual kicker-punter role before Saturday, finally relinquished punting duties late against Colorado after multiple wretched punts. The team’s usual kickoff man missed Saturday’s game after suffering a concussion during practice last week (possibly from an errant kick/throw, who knows?). In a season where close to nothing has gone right, the question marks continue to pile up for finding any evidence of how this team can turn it around before next year, let alone their last two games.
The Wildcats have youth at several positions, and will likely have an influx of even more young players in next year’s starting lineups, especially on defense. While that is, or rather can be exciting, that means the players coming in are just as inexperienced as the current crop. When the run defense steps up (as it did Saturday), the secondary is consistently getting beaten on third down plays, and vice versa. Defensive Coordinator Marcel Yates deserves time to get his type of players into the program and to fit his scheme. Unfortunately for Wildcats fans, that means there is no cure-all coming immediately down the pipeline.
With games against Oregon State and Arizona State remaining, the Wildcats face their best chances at notching a conference win as they will have seen this year. Oregon State has struggled all year and also sits at 2-8. The Beavers also opened as nine point favorites over the Wildcats, it should be noted. A victory over ASU in the season finale would obviously help the morale of the program heading into the offseason, but finding a way to be competitive in a road game and perhaps to even have a winning streak to end the year (albeit against lesser opponents) would give the team some semblance of momentum before aiming to regroup next year.