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Know thine enemy

Arizona Daily Wildcat
Tuesday, August 31, 2004
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A team-by-team Breakdown of Arizona football's 2004 opponents

Pac-10 preseason media poll


2. California - 2103. Oregon - 192
4. Oregon State - 1385.  Washington State - 133
6.  ASU - 1317.  Washington - 100
8.  UCLA - 989.  Stanford - 40
10.  Arizona - 38

first place votes in parentheses



Game 1: Sept. 4

Northern Arizona University @ Arizona Stadium

Location: Flagstaff, Arizona

Nickname: Lumberjacks

2003 record: 9-4 (5-2, tie for first, Big Sky Conference)

Head coach: Jerome Souers

Player to watch: QB Jason Murietta

Breakdown: The Lumberjacks won their first Big Sky Championship in more than 25 years when they shared the title with Montana and Montana State. NAU also advanced into the NCAA I-AA quarterfinal round for the first time in school history to complete what was arguably its best season ever. The team returns Big Sky Offensive Player of the Year sophomore Jason Murietta, who was the nation's second leading passer among D-I freshmen.

Key loss: WR Clarence Moore



Game 2: Sept. 11

University of Utah @ Arizona Stadium

Location: Salt Lake City, Utah

Nickname: Utes

2003 record: 10-2 (6-1, first Mountain West Conference)

Head coach: Urban Meyer

Player to watch: OB Alex Smith

Breakdown: The Utes will be the second conference champion in two weeks for the Wildcats. Junior quarterback Alex Smith, a former walk-on, leads the nationally ranked Utah offense and hopes to duplicate last season, which earned him preseason All-America honors. Senior receiver Paris Warren, All-Mountain West first team, is one of several returning pass catchers and should be of big help to Smith. The Utes enter the season No. 20 in the Associated Press Poll, but are not a BCS team, so they could be this year's TCU or Tulane.

Key loss: RB Brandon Warfield



Game 3: Sept. 18

University of Wisconsin @ Arizona Stadium

Location: Madison, Wisconsin

Nickname: Badgers

2003 record: 7-6 (4-4, seventh, Big Ten Conference)

Head coach: Barry Alvarez

Player to watch: Anthony Davis

Breakdown: The Badgers finished 7-6 and seventh in the Big Ten - and it was a down year for Wisconsin. They return the preseason All-American Davis after he suffered an ankle injury last season and missed significant time. Davis has the third-most rushing yards over the last three years in the country. Wisconsin enters 2004 as the No. 21 team in the nation and is expected to battle for the Big 10 Championship.

Key loss: WR Lee Evans



Game 4: Sept. 25

Washington State University @ Arizona Stadium

Location: Pullman, Washington

Nickname: Cougars

2003 record: 10-3 (6-2, second Pac-10 Conference)

Head coach: Bill Doba

Player to watch: LB Will Derting

Breakdown: For the third time in three years, the Cougars finished the year with 10 victories. WSU has been the most consistent team in the Pac-10 of late. Pullman is always a tough place to play, and many people are looking to the Cougars Oct. 30 matchup with USC as a possible loss for the No. 1 Trojans. Derting is one of the top defensive players in the Pac-10 and the nation, but is one of only two starters on defense returning.

Key loss: QB Matt Kegel



Game 5: Oct. 9

University of California Los Angeles @ Rose Bowl

Location: Los Angeles

Nickname: Bruins

2003 Record: 6-7 (4-4, fifth, Pac-10)

Head coach: Karl Dorrell

Player to watch: WR Craig Bragg

Breakdown: The Bruins return a total of 15 starters from last year's fairly young squad. Dorrell enters his second season at the UCLA helm and has already made some changes. Dorrell released former offensive coordinator Steve Axman in favor of line coach Tom Cable. There was a lot of grumbling last season over the performance of the Bruins, especially with the success of cross-town rival USC.

Key loss: DE Dave Ball



Game 6: Oct. 16

University of Oregon @ Autzen Stadium

Location: Eugene, Oregon

Nickname: Ducks

2003 record: 8-5 (5-3, third, Pac-10)

Head coach: Mike Bellotti

Player to watch: DT Haloti Ngata

Breakdown: Bellotti has the longest tenure of any Pac-10 coach and returns 16 starters from last year's squad. Sophomore defensive tackle Haloti Ngata returns after being hurt for a large portion of the 2003 season. Junior quarterback Kellen Clemens will have a large say in the direction of the Ducks. Clemens has the receivers - juniors Demetrius Williams and Todd Day - in place to top last year's numbers.

Key loss: LB Kevin Mitchell



Game 7: Oct. 23

University of California @ Arizona Stadium

Location: Berkeley, California

Nickname: Golden Bears

2003 record: 8-6 (5-3, third, Pac-10)

Head coach: Jeff Tedford

Player to watch: QB Aaron Rodgers

Breakdown: Head coach Jeff Tedford has improved the Bears from a one-win squad to a top-25 team in just two short years. Cal is a consensus pick to finish second in the Pac-10, and much of that has to do with junior quarterback Aaron Rodgers. Rodgers was impressive last season in Cal's Insight Bowl victory over Virginia Tech and, along with senior receiver Geoff McArthur - a second-team All-American - should keep the Bears in the national picture.

Key loss: RB Adimchinobe Echemandu



Game 8: Oct.30

Oregon State University @ Arizona Stadium

Location: Corvallis, Oregon

Nickname: Beavers

2003 record: 8-5 (4-4, fourth, Pac-10)

Head coach: Mike Riley

Player to watch: Derek Anderson

Breakdown: Quarterback Derek Anderson returns for his senior season and could finish his career as one of the most prolific passers in Beaver history. OSU lost a large majority of its offensive and defensive production from a year ago, but returns a total of 11 starters. A five-Game win streak is on the line when the Beavs and Cats hook up, with Arizona winless in the teams' last five meetings.

Key loss: RB Steven Jackson



Game 9: Nov. 6

University of Washington @ Husky Stadium

Location: Seattle, Washington

Nickname: Huskies

2003 record: 6-6 (4-4, fifth, Pac-10)

Head coach: Keith Gilbertson

Player to watch: WR Charles Frederick

Breakdown: Washington had a disappointing 2003 season, finishing 6-6 and falling to Arizona in the Wildcats' lone Pac-10 win. Things don't get much better for the Huskies with the loss of receiver Reggie Williams and quarterback Cody Pickett, the school's all-time leading passer-receiver tandem. The team also lost its leading tackler on defense and its 2003 sacks leader.

Key loss: WR Reggie Williams




Game 10: Nov. 13

University of Southern California @ LA Memorial Coliseum

Location: Los Angeles, California

Nickname: Trojans

2003 record: 12-1 (7-1, first, Pac-10)

Head coach: Pete Carroll

Player to watch: QB Matt Leinart

Breakdown: This is the third and final reigning conference champion the Wildcats will face. Not only did the Trojans win the Pac-10, but also the AP National Championship. The Trojans lost some significant players on both sides of the ball, but because of their depth, they are the odds-on favorite to repeat as national champs.

Key loss: WR Mike Williams




Game 11: Nov. 26

Arizona State University @ Arizona Stadium

Location: Tempe, Arizona

Nickname: Sun Devils

2003 record: 5-7 (2-6, eighth, Pac-10)

Head coach: Dirk Koetter

Player to watch: QB Andrew Walter

Breakdown: Koetter is another Pac-10 coach who could be on the hot seat with another disappointing season. The Sun Devils entered last year a top-25 team and finished having to beat Arizona to avoid finishing in last place in the Pac-10. Walters will be key to ASU's success and the rebuilt defense could need to come along fast.

Key loss: WR Skylar Fulton




Pac-10 Miss Game

Stanford University

Location: Stanford, California

Nickname: Cardinal

2003 record: 4-7 (2-6, eighth, Pac-10))

Head coach: Buddy Teevens

Player to watch: Oshiomogho Atogwe

Breakdown: For the second straight year, the Wildcats miss playing the Cardinal. Stanford returns 15 starters, but that's not always a good thing. The team finished tied for eighth in the Pac-10 and looks to have more trouble this season. Teevens is in his third year in Palo Alto, but has struggled in his previous two. Atogwe led the defense last year with 90 tackles.

Key loss: OT Chris Chambers

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