The No. 9 Arizona Wildcats have a chance to prove they belong amongst college football’s best when they host the Oregon State Beavers on Saturday.
This Oregon St. team, who has already played No. 4 Boise St. and No. 5 TCU this season, will not be an easy opponent just like the rest of the Pac-10 games the Wildcats will encounter (minus Washington State).
But more than just looking to go 2-0 in Pac-10 games this season, the Wildcats can prove that being ranked in the top 10 for the first time in 10 years is no fluke.
Since Boise St. and TCU beat the Beavers, but not by much, this will be a good measure for Arizona to see how they would stack up against other marquee teams.
But let’s not look too far ahead.
Oregon St. is no stranger to winning games in Tucson, winning the past four contests at Arizona Stadium. For Arizona to bump that trend, they will have to look to their defense which will be playing one of footballs most explosive players in running back Jacquizz Rodgers.
Last year in Corvallis the Rodgers brothers accounted for over half of the Beavers offensive yards, and you can bet Jacquizz and old brother James will be the center of attention for Arizona’s defense.
Jacquizz has been on and off each week, with his worst two weeks coming against Boise St. and TCU where he had a combined 121 yards. However he may have had his breakout game last week against ASU where he ran for 145 and two scores.
James has yet to find his breakout game of the season and a concussion against Boise St. keeping him out of the ASU game didn't help his cause.
The Wildcats will be rested and ready for this Oregon St. team.
Don’t expect a game as close as the Cal game, where the Wildcats were coming off a big game hangover after sending Iowa packing. In fact, the Wildcats could end up with a higher point margin than Boise St. and TCU did against the Beavers.
The Oregon St. defense has allowed almost 31 points per game, and with this Arizona offense given a week to ice and prepare, don’t be surprised if the Cats are able to put up even more than that.
If Arizona is able to beat Oregon St. handedly then there should be talk of them jumping TCU or Boise St. just like Oregon did last week. This would be the Cats third quality opponent with TCU having only one quality opponent in the Beavers, and Boise St. with two quality opponents in Oregon St. and Virginia Tech.
Of course the Cats will have to beat OSU before those talks happen, but don’t be surprised if Arizona follows in Oregon’s footsteps up the ladder of the top 10.