Arizona Football

Arizona Wildcats football: Top 5 must-win games to challenge for Pac-12 South title



Will Rich Rodriguez celebrate consecutive Pac-12 South titles?

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The 2015 Arizona football season breaks down essentially into three parts:

1. Non-conference slate: Texas-San Antonio (Sept. 3), at Nevada (Sept. 12) and NAU (Sept. 19).

2. Three of next five Pac-12 games at home: UCLA (Sept. 26), Oregon State (Oct. 10) and Washington State (Oct. 24), with road games against Stanford (Oct. 3) and Colorado (Oct. 17) in between.

3. Difficult end with three of four games on road: Washington (Oct. 31), USC (Nov. 7) and ASU (Nov. 21), with a home game against Utah on Nov. 14.

No bye weeks are on the Arizona schedule for the first time since 1980, when the Wildcats finished 5-6 in Larry Smith’s first season.

Without a break and Arizona competing in the Pac-12 South, one of the toughest divisions in college football, the Wildcats will likely not go unbeaten.

The conference records of Pac-12 South champions since the league expanded in 2011: USC 7-2 in 2011 (the Trojans were on probation and ineligible to play in the conference title game), UCLA 6-3 in 2012, ASU 8-1 in 2013 and Arizona 7-2 last season.

A Pac-12 South team with a 6-3 or 7-2 conference record will likely advance to the conference title game. The Wildcats, with their inexperience and depth issues on the offensive line, will probably succumb to at least three opponents, perhaps on the road against Stanford, Washington and USC.

Arizona “should” win at Colorado, emphasizing the quotes around should, with the Buffaloes still developing under third-year coach Mike MacIntyre.

With those four games in mind, this blog breaks down Arizona’s top five must-win games by difficulty to make at least a 9-3 regular-season record possible. If the Wildcats win these five games, in addition to the Colorado game and their three non-conference games, they will be in a good spot for another memorable season.

Click on “Next” on the slideshow to view the top five games …


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Site founder and award-winning sports journalist Javier Morales has published his first e-book, “The Highest Form of Living”, a fiction piece about a young man who overcomes a troubled upbringing without his lost father and wayward mother through basketball and hope. His hope is realized through the sport he loves. Basketball enables him to get past his fears. His experience on the court indirectly brings him closer to his parents in a unique, heartfelt way. Please order it at Amazon (for only $4.99) by clicking on the photo:


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