Nobody thought Arizona would be ranked in the first release of this season’s College Football Playoff rankings.
Arizona coach Rich Rodriguez probably had his own reservations after the Wildcats started 2-2 with humbling losses to Houston and Utah, games in which the Wildcats let slip away because of missed opportunities and breakdowns.
The Wildcats’ only wins at that point were against programs that are looking for new head coaches — NAU and UTEP.
That was BT — Before Tate.
Rodriguez and Arizona can thank the legs of sophomore quarterback Khalil Tate for the Wildcats’ No. 22 ranking in the College Football Playoff rankings released today.
Arizona (6-2, 4-1 Pac-12) is tied in the loss column with No. 17 USC (7-2, 5-1) for the Southern Division lead heading into their showdown this Saturday night at the L.A. Coliseum. The Wildcats (ranked No. 23 in the AP Top 25 poll) are in this position with a four-game winning streak that coincides with Tate earning the Pac-12 Offensive Player of the Week in those four weeks, a historic feat never achieved before.
If Arizona upsets USC, the Wildcats would be in control of their own destiny for the Pac-12 South title with only three games remaining — Oregon State at home and then at Oregon and ASU.
Can Mr. October — Tate — make November a month to remember for the Wildcats?
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ALLSPORTSTUCSON.com publisher, writer and editor Javier Morales is a former Arizona Press Club award winner. He is a former Arizona Daily Star beat reporter for the Arizona basketball team, including when the Wildcats won the 1996-97 NCAA title. He has also written articles for CollegeAD.com, Bleacher Report, Lindy’s Sports, TucsonCitizen.com, The Arizona Republic, Sporting News and Baseball America, among many other publications. He has also authored the book “The Highest Form of Living”, which is available at Amazon.