By Eric Wein
Arizona Daily Wildcat
It seems almost every time the word "State" is affixed at the end of a school's name, it tends to take some of the prominence away.
This has been an occasional tendency across the country. Michigan becomes Michigan State, Arizona turns into Arizona State and, well, Colorado turns into Colorado State.
While Colorado State hasn't been highlighted by a last-second Hail Mary pass to beat a highly ranked team like its near namesake, No. 23 Colorado State (5-0) has found plenty of success on its own. The Rams lock horns with the sixth-ranked Wildcats (4-0) on Saturday night as the only unbeaten team the Wildcats will face during the regular season.
The Western Athletic Conference hasn't received the respect of the Pacific 10 Conference but the WAC already has a 2-5 record while facing the Pac-10.
"There's no delusions of grandeur that the Pac-10 is all that superior," said UA coach Dick Tomey, who coached at Hawaii, a WAC team, from 1977-86. "Our guys look at the film and realize that's a good team."
Arizona itself is a former WAC member, having left that conference to join the Pac-10 in 1978.
"The WAC is a good match for us. We don't need to go down into the southeast to play when there's a lot of good teams out here," Tomey said. "There's regional interest in a game like that. These games make sense."
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Whatever Colorado State coach Sonny Lubick learned at Miami, it must have rubbed off.
As the defensive coordinator under Dennis Erickson at Miami from 1989-92, Lubick picked up winning ways and has employed a similar setup since arriving in Fort Collins, Colo.
Arizona coach Dick Tomey said the Rams' offense and defense resembles the Hurricanes, but quarterback Anthoney Hill is better than Miami quarterback Ryan Collins was when the Wildcats faced the Hurricanes last January.
"Collins wasn't as far along in terms of making the right read, the right decison as this guy," Tomey said. "They're orchestrating things in the run which Miami never did."
The Rams often deploy five receivers and a single back on offense. Defensively, Colorado State lines up in a 4-3 allignment, all similar to Miami.
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Oregon State gave the Wildcats fits with their blitzing schemes last Saturday but Tomey doesn't expect the Rams to show the same.
"That would be uncharacteristic of them to do that but you never know," Tomey said. "They're not going to change what they're doing because of us. They've done things teams that win do."
The Rams' four-man rush will be gunning for quarterback Dan White. Colorado State has 26 sacks this year compared with the Wildcats' 14. And the Wildcats' offensive line won't resemble what it normally does Saturday.
Center Hicham El-Mashtoub was given a suspension for fighting near the end of the Oregon State game. He will be required to miss Saturday's first half. Left tackle Paul Stamer suffered a shoulder injury and will sit out the game.
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About 7,000 public tickets remain unsold for Saturday's game at 7:07 p.m. Tickets can be purchased at the McKale Center Ticket Office (621-2411).
The game has been honored as Armed Forces Night. A display of six airplanes from the Army, Air Force and Marines will be on the UA Mall from 5-7 p.m. Game festivities include a B-17 pregame fly-over, a parachute jump with the game ball by the Misty Blues, an all-women's skydiving team and a halftime performance from the Fort Huachuca Army band along with the UA band.
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