Know your foes

Arizona Daily Wildcat
September 1, 2005

Utah Utes

Sept. 2: at Utah (5 p.m. ESPN)

Rice-Eccles Stadium

Home city: Salt Lake City

Colors: Crimson and white

Mascot: Swoop (hawk)

2004 record: 12-0 (7-0 Mountain West Conference)

Head coach: Kyle Whittingham, first year

Returning starters: 11 (five offense, five defense, one special teams)

Breakdown: After losing head coach Urban Meyer, NFL No. 1 overall pick Alex Smith, and wide receivers Paris Warren and Steve Savoy, the strength of the Utes in 2005 will likely be its defense, which boasts three All-America candidates. Still, the team holds solid depth at running back, where slashing senior Quinton Ganther averaged six yards per carry in five starts. Whittingham and Co. will be hard pressed to replace Meyer, who left for Florida in the offseason after leading Utah to two of its three 10-win seasons.

Northern Arizona University Lumberjacks

Sept. 10: vs. NAU (7 p.m.)

Arizona Stadium

Home city: Flagstaff

Colors: Blue, gold and sage

Mascot: Louie the Lumberjack

2004 record: 4-7 (3-4 Big Sky


Head coach: Jerome Souers, eighth year

Returning starters: 13 (eight

offense, five defense)

Breakdown: A season full of expectations fell flat down the stretch for the Lumberjacks in 2004, as they lost four consecutive conference games to end the season. Jason Murrietta disappointed (56.8 completion rate, 16 touchdowns, 16 interceptions) after a promising first year as the starting quarterback, and the team graduated leading rusher and receiver Roger Robinson. As with Arizona, the secondary, which returns four players who played significant roles last season, bears watching.

Purdue Boilermakers

Sept. 17: vs. Purdue (7 p.m.)

Arizona Stadium

Home city: West Lafayette, Ind.

Colors: Gold and black

Mascot: Boilermaker Special

2004 record: 7-5 (4-4 Big Ten)

Head coach: Joe Tiller, ninth year

Returning starters: 20 (seven offense, 11 defense, two special teams)

Breakdown: Were it not for a four-game losing stretch starting in mid-October, the Boilermakers may have challenged Michigan for a berth in January's Rose Bowl. With its pass-happy offense now in the hands of first-year starter Brandon Kirsch, Purdue will rely early on a defense that returns its entire starting lineup. Kirsch will have the benefit of throwing to junior Kyle Ingraham, who was second on the team last year with seven receiving touchdowns.

California Golden Bears

Oct. 1: at California (3:30 p.m.)

Memorial Stadium

Home city: Berkeley, Calif.

Colors: Gold and blue

Mascot: Oski

2004 Record: 10-2 (7-1 Pacific 10 Conference)

Head coach: Jeff Tedford, fifth year

Returning starters: 11 (six offense, three defense, two special teams)

Breakdown: With Aaron Rodgers and J.J. Arrington skirting NFL sidelines this fall, the Bears' backfield takes on a new look. Redshirt freshman Nate Longshore has the size (6-foot-5, 225 pounds) to anchor the signal-caller spot, and he could become the latest Tedford project to tear up the college game. Marshawn Lynch, a sophomore who was the No. 2 running back in the nation coming out of high school, is on many experts' list of sleepers for the upcoming season.

Southern California Trojans

Oct. 8: at USC (12:30 p.m.)

Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum

Home city: Los Angeles

Colors: Cardinal and gold

Mascot: Traveler VII

2004 record: 13-0 (8-0 Pacific 10 Conference)

Head coach: Pete Carroll, fifth year

Returning starters: 14 (eight offense, five

defense, one special teams)

Breakdown: Despite the loss of offensive coordinator Norm Chow to the NFL's Tennessee Titans and the departures of a few other assistant coaches and defensive starters, life is good in sunny Southern California. The two-time defending national champions hope to complete a three-peat this year behind the play of returning senior quarterback Matt Leinart and the dubbed "thunder and lightning" backfield of Reggie Bush and LenDale White. USC has only lost three games since going 6-6 in Pete Carroll's inaugural year in 2001.

Stanford Cardinal

Oct. 15: vs. Stanford (4 p.m.)

Arizona Stadium

Home city: Palo Alto, Calif.

Colors: Cardinal and white

Mascot: Stanford tree (unofficial)

2004 record: 4-7 (2-6 Pacific 10 Conference)

Head coach: Walt Harris, first year

Returning starters: 17 (10 offense, five defense, two special teams)

Breakdown: The Cardinal are hoping that first-year head coach Walt Harris, who led Pittsburgh to the Fiesta Bowl last year, can return the program to greatness. The Cardinal return all but one offensive starter from last year, including quarterbacks T.J. Ostrander and Trent Edwards, who split time under center last season. Stanford has struggled to find a star to lead their program, with departed senior tight end Alex Smith as its biggest standout in 2004.

Oregon Ducks

Oct. 22: vs. Oregon (4 p.m.)

Arizona Stadium

Home city: Eugene, Ore.

Colors: Green and yellow

Mascot: Donald Duck

2004 record: 5-6 (4-4 Pacific 10


Head coach: Mike Bellotti, eleventh year

Returning starters: 16 (eight offense, six defense, two special teams)

Breakdown: After the departure of Joey Harrington to the NFL after Oregon's 2001 season that saw them win the Pac-10 with an 11-1 season, Oregon has become fantastically mediocre. Led by Mike Bellotti, the most tenured coach in the Pac-10 by far, the Ducks look to rebound from a 2004 season that saw the Ducks lose their final three games of the season, including a 50-21 drubbing by in-state rival Oregon State, to miss out on a possible bowl bid. The Ducks return quarterback Kellen Clemens as well as senior running back Terrence Whitehead, who led the Ducks with more than 1,000 yards rushing on 200 carries.

Oregon State Beavers

Oct. 29: at OSU

Reser Stadium

Home city: Corvallis, Ore.

Colors: Orange and black

Mascot: Benny Beaver

2004 record: 7-5 (5-3 Pacific 10


Head coach: Mike Riley, fifth year

Returning starters: 16 (seven offense, seven defense, two special teams)

Breakdown: Oregon State returns with high expectations after defeating Notre Dame 38-21 in the Insight Bowl in December, but they will have to work with a brand new quarterback. UCLA transfer Matt Moore will have to fill the shoes of Derek Anderson, who holds school records for most passing yards and touchdowns. The defense is anchored by co-captain Trent Bray, who was the defensive MVP of the Insight Bowl and was second in tackles per game in the Pac-10, with an average of slightly more than 10 per game.

UCLA Bruins

Nov. 5: vs. UCLA

Arizona Stadium

Home city: Los Angeles

Colors: Blue and gold

Mascot: Joe Bruin

2004 record: 6-6 (4-4 Pacific 10


Head coach: Karl Dorrell, third year

Returning starters: 16 (seven offense, eight defense, one special teams)

Breakdown: The fate of the Bruin football team for years to come may rest on the shoulders of a kid named Olson. Returning starter Drew is recovering from knee surgery after he suffered an injury in the Bruins' 24-21 loss to Wyoming in the Las Vegas Bowl. If his recovery or his play is not up to par, redshirt freshman Ben Olson will be waiting in the wings after his return from a Mormon mission. Maurice Drew provided plenty of excitement in the backfield last season, as he became the 10th Bruin in the history of the program to rush for more than 1,000 yards in a season.

Washington Huskies

Nov. 12: vs. Washington

Arizona Stadium

Home city: Seattle

Colors: Purple and gold

Mascot: Whitepaws Arlut Spirit of Goldust

2004 record: 1-10 (0-8 Pacific 10


Head coach: Tyrone Willingham, first year

Returning starters: 19 (eight offense, nine defense, two special teams)

Breakdown: Tyrone Willingham comes to Washington in hopes of working some of the same first-year magic he worked with Notre Dame just a few years ago. Willingham has 62 lettermen returning from last year's squad, but a quagmire under center, with four players competing for the starting quarterback spot, including last year's starter (and occasional scapegoat) Casey Paus. If there is one thing the Huskies can improve upon immediately, it is to hold onto the football. The Huskies had 42 turnovers in 2004 - 12 more than the next-worst team.

Arizona State Sun Devils

Nov. 25: at ASU (FSN)

Frank Kush Field @ Sun Devil


Home city: Tempe

Colors: Maroon and gold

Mascot: Sparky the Sun Devil

2004 record: 9-3 (5-3 Pacific 10 Conference)

Head coach: Dirk Koetter, fifth year

Returning starters: 16 (eight offense, six defense, two special teams)

Breakdown: During ESPN's "50 States in 50 Days" the Arizona/ASU football rivalry ranked as the best rivalry in the state in online voting by a landslide. ASU trails the overall series lead to UA in the yearly battle for the Territorial Cup 44-33-1, but has had the better teams overall since Arizona's Holiday Bowl season of 1998. This year is no exception, with the Sun Devils ranked in the top 20 of almost every major poll and leading receiver Derek Hagan back as the primary target for new quarterback Sam Keller. After taking over for the injured Andrew Walter near the end of last year's Territorial Cup loss to Arizona, Keller went on to lead the Sun Devils to a 27-23 victory over Purdue in the Sun Bowl.