By Eric Wein
Arizona Daily Wildcat
For another November, the Wildcats find another team's destiny influencing their own.
By virtue of its loss to Oregon, No. 18 Arizona no longer can determine their postseason plans on their own without help from other Pacific 10 Conference teams. But those matters are of little concern to the team right now as they get set for their 7:22 p.m. game against Cal Saturday at Arizona Stadium.
The Wildcats (6-2 overall, 4-2 in the Pac-10) lost their 9-0 halftime lead by struggling on offense in the second half.
"I think we have to take what we can from it, learn from it, and just put it away," UA coach Dick Tomey said yesterday in his weekly press conference. "It hurt but it's not the end of the world."
Preseason high expecations now being dismissed, the Wildcats hope to put themselves in the thick of the conference race simply by taking care of each of their last three opponents.
"We understand we have to be able to survive the down times," Tomey said. "Hopefully, we'll be playing our best at the end of the year. That's what good teams do. That's what we did a year ago."
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Nebraska was devastated when it lost star quarterback Tommy Frazier to injury but Cal understandably feels worst Ä all three of its top quarterbacks have suffered injuries.
Against Washington State, the Bears had to call on wide receiver Ziv Gottlieb, who last played quarterback at Beverly Hills (Calif.) High School, to assume the quarterback chores.
Gottlieb spent most of the previous week running routes and Gilbertson said his lack of preparation plagued the Bears' hopes against the Cougars.
Cal's first- and third-string quarterbacks Ä Dave Barr (broken collarbone) and Kerry McGonigal (separated shoulder) Ä are gone for the year. Pat Barnes (bruised nerve in his shoulder) is hoping to return for Saturday's game.
Injuries have turned the Bears into a lesser team than the 9-4 squad that demolished Iowa 37-3 in last year's Alamo Bowl.
Cal was trounced handily by Southern Cal 61-0 two weeks ago and came off it with a 20-0 lead over Washington State last Saturday before falling by the wayside 28-23.
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Despite no particular period in which it dominated the Pac-10, Cal has had few problems discarding Arizona in recent years.
Tomey is 1-5-1 when facing Cal including last year's 24-20 loss to the Bears in which Arizona squandered a 20-0 halftime lead.
Tomey isn't concerned with recent past disappointments.
"We've got some guys who have been in a win and a loss against Cal," he said. "We don't have any guys with five losses, a tie and a win except the coaches. I don't think there's anything to that. If we had some eight-year lettermen that might be the case but we don't."
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