Bird Brain: Arizona Edition

    Quick story:

Yesterday my sixty-something year old mother called and somewhere in conversation she told me she had tickets to the Arizona – UTSA game. She’s an alum from the mid 70’s and a couple of my siblings graduated from there – they’re taking her. I doubt she’s seen a game yet and might never see another one, so I asked her why go to a weekday game that’s going to be so hyped up, good chance of an ass-kicking, et cetera. Especially when it’s televised and they bought their viewing device off NASA.

“It’s going to be like a Spurs playoff game.”

So, my mom wants to go slam beers with her kids and scream her lungs out tomorrow night. It’s always nice to know that the apple and the tree aren’t very far from each other. I hope she makes it to work on time Friday morning.

The somewhat usual nerdity that goes here has been covered much more thoroughly this week by Jared, who soldiered through a complete viewing of the Wildcats 58-13 desert mauling of the UNLV Rebels late Saturday evening. Please take a look if you haven’t done so. Now on with the show…

    Three Points:

(1) This ain’t Cougar High. The 2013 version of the Pac-12’s Arizona Wildcats lost to three ranked teams in conference, finished 8-5, and sent Boston College home from the Indy Bowl in lovely Shreveport with a 42-19 loss. This is whom they lost to: Washington, USC, Washington State, UCLA, and archival Arizona State. Arizona pasted #5 Oregon and that fancy pants blur offense 42-16 late in the season as well. Their hot shit redshirt freshman QB threw for over 400 yards and four TD’s versus an admissibly weak UNLV team last week, and Arizona shattered a 45-year-old school record with 787 total yards. I think they ran 97 plays as well. Houston, an admirable foe from the much weaker American, has shit the bed early now a few times in recent years. Your friends up the interstate in San Marcos got people fired after they popped the Coogs. The Wildcats haven’t lost a game out of conference in the Rodriguez era and Arizona’s last loss in non Pac-12 play was against Oklahoma State in 2011.

(2) Absurd tempo. It’s interesting that the year after EA stopped making their “NCAA Football” video game series that so much of it’s gaming has gone into real play. These spread, quick-strike fast tempo offenses seem everywhere, whether it’s the deflated Air Raid Houston attempted to run last week or the spread option Rich Rodriguez and offensive coordinator Calvin Magee have installed in Tucson. UTSA looked admirable defending what was previously considered to be a superior opponent last week that ran up-tempo – it’ll be interesting to see how the Roadrunners deal with the rush-first version of the style of attack.

(3) Curb your enthusiasm. The nice Quebecois people that allow me to wager on their website have Arizona as a 7 point favorite on the road. Given the usual -3/-3.5 given to the home team, they are offering a field goal and a hook. This cowboy thinks that sounds like they have no idea what in the hell is going to happen. It reminds me of playing Mike Tyson’s Punch Out as a kid. The guy before Iron Mike was a bitch to beat, but once you got past him, you realized Tyson was a different animal. I know spirits are high after spoiling the party in Houston and believing in your team is always fun, and the last opponent of the Wildcats is supposed to be a pile of burning garbage. As Mark Twain said, “Climate is what you expect, weather is what you get.” Nobody really knows shit about this game, even though UTSA flamed out in Tucson last season and looked dominant a few days ago.

    Weird fact I enjoyed learning this week:

Rich Rod will make 2.2M a year as head coach, but a deal this offseason gives him 175,000 shares of a company at 35/per if he puts in eight years of sweat equity. That’s over six million dollars presently – could go up or down.

    Prediction time:

UTSA will need much more than the 267 yards they got off of the Houston defense to hang with the Cats. UNLV had 367 and lost by 45 to them last week. I see the playbook opening up a bit, a steady rotation of defenders off and on the field to counter the up-tempo Arizona offense, and a comeback that falls short.

Arizona 38, UTSA 31.

(0-1 on the year)

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