When the new college football poll came out Friday, the Arizona Wildcats were nowhere to be found.
They weren’t ranked in the Top 25 (they received 66 votes putting them 29th), and for Arizona, that is exactly where they need to be.
The Wildcats have played better as the underdog the past two seasons. Last season, they were picked to finish eighth in the Pac-10 and didn’t receive any votes in the first polls.
They finished second and if they had been able to put up a fight in the Holiday Bowl, they would have finished in the Top 25 for the first in 11 years.
This Arizona team is still bitter about their performance in the Holiday Bowl and used that game as motivation in the offseason. That motivation we’ve seen what it takes to be good and in order to do it, we have to ignore the hype and do work.
The team has one goal this season; to go out, execute and win games. If the Cats win eight games, they will be upset.
Arizona has a schedule that allows them the opportunity to do this. Seven home games including #10 Iowa, Washington, USC, and ASU. There are only two road games that could trip them up, #11 Oregon and Stanford.
With the Pac-10 as wide open as it is, and USC not able to go bowling, Arizona is in as good a position as they have ever been to go to the Grandaddy of the Them All.
The team is so focused on their one goal that after their first practice, and for the first time in Mike Stoops tenure, they broke the huddle by chanting '‘Rose Bowl.’'
No longer is going to Las Vegas before Christmas sufficient for this team. Going to El Paso is for New Year’s Eve is not acceptable.
Their goal is to take advantage of the parity of the Pac-10 and the favorable schedule they have this season.
Sure, it is an uphill battle that Arizona is facing but it is one that this has been preparing all year for.
For once, the Rose Bowl is not just wishful thinking on Wildcats fans part. For once, it is something that could become a reality.