Personally, I’m relieved UCLA’s offense finally showed up last weekend in Pullman. My fear, just two weeks ago, was the Bruins finally waking up and breaking out against Arizona in Tucson. This fear intensified after Arizona’s defense actually showed up and shut down Texas Tech 28-14 on Sep. 14.
I was literally convinced Arizona’s defensive run would be short lived, with a Chip Kelly coached Bruins squad running rampant in the desert southwest this weekend against an ‘over confident’ Wildcat defense. However, now that UCLA has not only caught the attention of Arizona but the entire nation by putting up 50 second half points on Washington State, perhaps the Wildcats will remain focused, play intense, hard-hitting defense, and win their third game in a row.
Arizona (2-1) is coming off a bye week, following its solid win over the Red Raiders. UCLA (1-3, 1-0 Pac-12) is coming off the most impressive and improbable win of the young season. Impressive because the Bruins rallied from 32 points down to oust the Cougars, 67-63. Improbable because UCLA had only scored a combined 42 points in their first three games.
Interestingly, Saturday now becomes a game where newfound success on opposite sides of the football will clash. While Arizona fans and the media had been crowing about the Wildcat defense, UCLA fans and the Los Angeles media had been wondering if they accidentally hired the NFL version of Kelly’s offense as opposed to the version that helped elevate the Oregon Ducks to year-over-year national prominence.
Suddenly, at the snap of a football, both schools are touting confidence in the most unexpected phases of the game.
If you’re confused, so am I. I’ve grown accustomed to mocking UCLA’s offense under Kelly while burying my head in the sand trying to avoid watching Arizona’s defense. Will both teams return to their normal ways in Tucson, or are the fans and media in for a real treat when the two schools meet Saturday night on ESPN at 7:30 p.m. MST?
I would do anything to witness Arizona’s second straight football game with a score and box sheet I can process without using a calculator. Honestly, nothing would make me happier than to see a good old fashioned 31-24 final score. I, like others, received an early holiday gift with Arizona’s old school 28-14 victory two weeks ago. I, like others, would like to see that kind of showing become more of a weekly thing, like bringing fresh flowers home to the loved one on Fridays, rather than a once year I’m not a total idiot gesture designed to accomplish little more than delay the inevitable breakup.
We’ll have to wait and see how things shake out. At the start of the year, nobody had this game circled on the calendar. In fact, ESPN’s “Bottom 10” weekly column was actually looking ahead to this game as a potential pillow matchup.
Rather than a pillow fight, fans should be treated to a competitive Pac-12 South Division matchup between two hungry programs desperate to return to the business of winning football games, consistently.