Arizona Daily Wildcat
Friday, October 15, 2004
|Shane Bacon||Brett Fera||Kyle Kensing||Michael Schwartz|
UA vs. Oregon
Bacon: It's third and 14 with 40 seconds left and Oregon is up by six points. Heavner gets sacked and is struggling to get up, favoring his "golden" right arm. Mike Bell helps him off the field and who runs in to take the fourth down snap? Sophomore and newly appointed third string quarterback Adam Austin. Austin fumbles the snap, recovers, drops back and hits Biren Ealy on a slant. Ealy spins out of one tackle, races up the sideline and dives into the green end zone for a win. Seem unbelievable? So is my pick.
Arizona 7 Oregon 6
Fera: Now that he's gone, will everyone please give the "Costa for president" comments a rest? Good guy; fun player to watch; but it's not like Costa was fighting for playing time at Oklahoma or Miami, or even - gasp - ASU. If he couldn't impress the coaches enough to get on the field for one of the nation's most inept passing games - not Kris Heavner's fault, by the way - then he really must not be the option star we all wished he could become. Heavner breaks out of whatever shadow Costa was casting, and throws for three bills against the Ducks, but Oregon QB Kellen Clemons throws for 400.
Oregon 31 UA 17
Kensing: In a perfect world, the Wildcats would be the ultimate Cinderella story. They would be 4-1, Lee Corso would don a Wilbur head on ESPN's College Gameday, and Mike Stoops would be a shoe-in for Coach of the Year. But alas, we do not live in a perfect world. Despite UA's obvious turnaround, there is still much work to be done. Despite the student section's boos, quarterback Kris Heavner has shown he can lead, but until the receiving corps starts, um, receiving, he won't have the touchdowns he deserves. The 300 days of annual rain must do something to Oregonians' heads, as OU has the Pacific 10 Conference's most hostile crowd. It's a tough environment for a group of youngsters like the Wildcats, and it will result in another "L."
Oregon 34 Arizona 21
Schwartz: Raucous Autzen Stadium won't be the easiest place for the Cats to win their first road game since 2002. Arizona doesn't have the offense to get into a shootout with the Ducks, so its running game must keep Oregon's offense off the field. Winning at Oregon may be too much to ask for in the first year of the Mike Stoops regime, but look for a home upset later in the season.
Oregon 24 Arizona 13
#19 ASU vs. #1 USC
Bacon: Yeah, yeah, yeah, Arizona State is good. I know, I know, the Sun Devils can't lose. Blah, blah, blah, Andrew Walter is the best thing to happen to this state since SPF 45. We all understand that Sammy's squad is ranked 15th and is the last real game for USC. Who cares? Matt Leinart and his big undershirt are going to go out and tear the Sun Devils' defense apart like East Texas brisket. If somebody is going to win the national championship other than Arizona, I want it to be a Pac-10 team, Devils excluded.
USC 36 ASU 20
Fera: OK, so occasionally the UA-ASU Thanksgiving extravaganza reaches its boiling point, and players get chippy at each other. But this is NOT Oklahoma-Texas, or, hell, even Utah-Brigham Young. With that said, I can stand up and pick ASU to stop USC this weekend because, well, I can. And I don't feel like less of a Wildcat fan because of it. ASU won't win 11 games, but neither will USC. The Trojans have to lose at some point.
ASU 27 USC 21
Kensing: How does ASU keep winning? Halfback Loren Wade has been suspended several weeks, teams like Oregon post more yards than they do, yet the Sun Devils win. Well friends, we here in Tucson can finally breathe a sigh of relief, because USC will rout ASU. The Trojans can quiet naysayers this week with a second consecutive win over a ranked opponent. USC linebacker Matt Grootegoed will not allow ASU quarterback Andrew Walter another multi-touchdown outing.
USC 31 ASU 17
Schwartz: All signs point to a major upset with the Scum Devils coming off a bye and Southern California in for a letdown, having just played its toughest game of the year against Cal. However, with ASU down to its third string running back, Andrew Walter will need a career day to pull it off. ASU will keep it close, but in the end USC has too much talent and experience to lose.
USC 27 ASU 24
#12 Wisconsin vs. #5 Purdue
Bacon:The Big-10 showdown of the year pits a Badger squad that can't be beat against a Boilermaker team that refuses to lose. Kyle Orton has been the best quarterback in the nation thus far while Wisconsin has escaped two games on the road with a "W." One of those games was against one of the most recognized football programs in the nation at Ohio State. The other, well, is not as respected as OSU. Orton will need a big game to win, but that hasn't proven to be a problem thus far.
Purdue 17 Wisconsin 10
Fera: Lucky enough to see both of these teams in person this season, this one is a no-brainer to me. I watched Purdue give up a lot of yards to Notre Dame, and still manage a pair of 97-yard drives, a 100-yard kick return, and a 41-16 victory in front of nearly 90,000 in South Bend, Ind. I also saw Wisconsin struggle - rain or not - to put away, ahem, Arizona in front of 50,000 in Tucson. Kyle Orton can Pur-due it all for the Boilers.
Purdue 17 Wisconsin 10
Kensing: The contrast between these two unbeaten teams is like night and day. Purdue has raced to a 5-0 start, averaging a whopping 42 points per game. The Badgers have used a stifling defense (and Hurricane Javier on a Tucson afternoon) to hold their six opponents to a combined 39 points. It's tough to call, but after it beat Ohio State last week, I think Wisconsin is for real, and they should spoil the Boilermakers' homecoming in a classic.
Wisconsin 14 Purdue 13
Schwartz: This is Virginia's chance to prove they are big time after dominating weaker opponents at home all season. However, there's a little bit of a difference between Akron at home and Florida State in Seminole country. FSU's third-ranked run defense will hold the Cavs well below their average of 275 rush yards and the Tomahawk choppers will prove to be the difference in a tough, defensive struggle.
Florida State 13 Virginia 10
#6 Virginia vs. #7 Florida State
Bacon: Losing to Miami in the first game of the season is definitely a tough task to rebound from. But probably one of the only Floridians I can stand watching on camera has his squad on the rise heading into Virginia. The problem is Wyatt Sexton is going to take the reins against a defense that has only given up two running plays all year of more than 20 yards. What does that spell for Mr. Sexton? Well, hopefully he'll get a little bit of his surname after the beating the Seminoles are going to receive.
Virginia 24 Florida State 7
Fera: Nice to know ya Chris Rix. Your college football career is done thanks to Wyatt Sexton's ability to - cough - play the quarterback position. Florida State will prove that, much improved and bowl-game deserving or not, a Virginia 5-0 start against the likes of Syracuse, Temple, North Carolina, Clemson and Akron - a combined 11-19 without a single team over .500 - doesn't make for a top-five season.
Florida State 20 Virginia 13
Kensing: The undefeated and sixth-ranked Virginia Cavaliers have a chance to prove their worth in a primetime, nationally televised showdown against Florida State. UVA linebacker Ahmad Johnson is a future Pro Bowler, and could cause problems for shaky FSU quarterback Chris Rix. Bobby Bowden's dominance of the ACC looks like it's coming to an end, and after a near-miss last week against Syracuse, the Seminoles are a prime target.
UVA 24 FSU 17
Schwartz: Wisconsin may lead the nation in scoring defense, giving up only 6.5 points per game, but the Badgers haven't faced anyone this season and are a Nick Folk kick away from leaving the top 10. That changes this week when they meet Heisman favorite Kyle Orton and Purdue's high-octane offense. Wisconsin won't have the firepower to keep up with Orton and the gang as Purdue solidifies a top-five ranking.
Purdue 27 Wisconsin 17