When I look at what is left of the Arizona Wildcats schedule, there is a line that comes to mind.
As Woody Harrelson so gracefully said in Zombieland, "It's time to nut up or shut up".
This is the stretch where this Arizona team will rise to the cream of the crop or they will crumble. At Cal, home vs. Oregon, at ASU, and at USC is about as rough of a conference schedule you can come by. Arizona has this the next four weeks.
This is the ultimate test that Arizona will go through in order to get to the Rose Bowl and it almost seems fitting.
Arizona has not controlled it's own destiny this late in the season since last decade. Why wouldn't they face teams that they have some demons to fight in order to get to their first Rose Bowl.
Cal has owned Arizona at home as of late, while the Cats have put some beatdowns on Cal when they have been to Tucson the past two times.
Oregon has the spread offense that has always given Mike Stoops problems. In 2007, the Cats are the ones who crushed the Ducks hopes at a national championship and Dennis Dixon's Heisman dreams, along with his ACL.
Arizona has twice crushed ASU's Rose Bowl dreams by defeating them in the final game of the season. ASU would love to be the ones to put an end to their rival's first legitimate shot at the BCS Bowl since 1998.
Pete Carroll has yet to lose to Arizona in his USC tenure. If the Wildcats were to win, it would cap a big season for Arizona and seemingly make the statement that Arizona has turned the corner and are ready to make a name for themselves in the Pac-10. That's a big if though.
First, Arizona has to win at Cal. Even with Jahvid Best out, Cal is still a dangerous team that could crush Wildcat fan's Pasadena dreams.
If the Cal team from the beginning of the season shows up, Arizona could be in trouble. If the Cal team from the past couple weeks who have put together uninspired performances, Arizona will walk away with a win.
For all the right things that the Wildcats are saying about not looking ahead and taking it one game at a time, you know they are sneaking a peak at what could happen.
Everyone is guilty of this, myself included. I am starting to wonder what it would be like to see my alma mater go on the field at the Rose Bowl as Pac-10 champions. A couple of players even admitted to the media they have been thinking about what could be.
All of that will be for not if Arizona can't beat Cal this weekend. For the time being, the Cats must prove themselves before they have the right to think ahead.
(Photo by Liam Foley)