- - - - -

Sunday Morning Quarterback

Sunday Morning Quarterback

Sunday, April 23, 2006

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
SMQ spins the wheel for a hastily-rendered, too-soon look at a random school's prospects for the fall, sans inevitable academic and criminal suspensions, sudden transfers, debilitating injuries and other miscellaneous misfortunes of the long summer

- - - - -
A spectre haunts the PAC Ten - the spectre of Stoops!

PAST FIVE SEASONS: 17-39 (8-32 PAC Ten) - 2005: 3-8 (2-6 PAC Ten)
STARTERS BACK, ROUGHLY: 17 (8 Offense, 9 Defense)
WHAT'S CHANGED: The 'Cats believe they can beat somebody, as evidenced by the foremost "What the fuck?" game of 2005, UA's 52-14 beatdown of previously undefeated UCLA in November, just the school's second victory over a winning team this decade. Five other losses - Utah, Purdue, Stanford, Oregon and Oregon State - were within one score.
WHAT'S THE SAME: Arizona still failed to break the three-win barrier for the fourth consecutive season; immediately after stunning the Bruins, it was walloped itself by four touchdowns on the same field against Washington in its next game, the only conference win by the Huskies. So some sort of barrier - if only mental - remains.
THE WILLIE FACTOR CANNOT BE UNDEREMPHASIZED: Or so says the epic UA media site (more on it directly) about the talents of sophomore quarterback Willie Tuitama, whose "emergence late in 2005 caused the team to coalesce on all fronts like no other influence." That is, unlike predecessor Richard Kovalchuck, he threw more touchdowns (9) than picks (5) and led the team to actual league wins - a close upset over Oregon State and the inexplicable demolition of UCLA - in between close losses to Oregon and Arizona State and the equally inexplicable collapse against Washington, which Stoops has called "the worst game in Arizona football history." So coalesced may be in the eye of the beholder, but Tuitama is at least the definite starter.
WHENCE BELLWEATHER BELL?: There is less confidence in the running game, which lost 1,000-yard stalwart Mike Bell as well as top backup Gilbert Harris. The current trio of candidates to replace Bell has 311 career yards, all by junior Chris Henry. If only Reggie Bush would have tranfered here instead, as he stupefyingly did following the first season of every SMQ dynasty on NCAA Football 2005...
AIR DEFENSE WEAPONS: The top position on the team will be the secondary, where senior safety Michael Johnson and junior corners Antoine Cason and Wilrey Fontenot have 15 career interceptions between them; those three were also among the team's top four tacklers. The 72nd-ranked pass defense doesn't look so hot, but it was only two yards behind Oregon's for tops in the PAC Ten.
OVERLY OPTIMISTIC POST-SPRING CHATTER: Charged with turning out a Spring overview, most programs' media departments modestly list projected depth charts, returning lettermen and glowing coach profiles. Not so Arizona's athletic PR, which, sensing the rising tide on the practice fields of Tucson, felt the time was upon it to issue a manifesto for the unstoppable Wildcat Revolution:

For the first time in [Stoops'] tenure, to a man, the roster is peopled by those who believe. This chemistry gives Arizona a dose of impetus like no other factor.

The 2006 Cats are a bowl team. The players believe it. The coaching staff believes it. No one else's opinion really matters. It's a swell mindset for a program that hasn't seen a December practice since eventual All-Pro cornerback Chris McAlister covered one side of the field all by himself in 1998. It's not as if it's a do-or-die proposition; it's the next logical step for a vastly improved program. Some in the media have tired of invoking the numerous UA losses by touchdowns or less, but a centralized understanding of how that came about has been gained by the squad, and it's ready to move on.

- - - - -
Viva los gatos monteses!

The proletariados have united under their leader, gaining humility, focusing on business, learning, as evidenced by the Ministry of Information's infallible decree - "Now that players are doing the right things the Stoops way, growth and improvement is [sic] exponential" - and resistance is futile. A bowl game is inevitable...The arch of history compels it!

Also, the offense beat the defense, 29-20, in one of those modified scoring-type Spring games.
REASON FOR HOPE: Comrade Stoops is always right!
REASON TO BE AFRAID, VERY AFRAID: Comrade Stoops is...eh, 6-16.
IF THIS TEAM WERE ANY POP CULTURAL, HISTORICAL, POLITICAL, LITERARY OR OTHERWISE NOTABLE FIGURE, IT WOULD BE... Eliza Doolittle: rough around the edges, foreign to prosperity, but with potential, and a previously successful tutor willing to tap it - even if it tests his patience. Also, as SMQ favorite Audrey Hepburn was the only person associated with the 1964 film to fail to win an Oscar nomination, the 'Cats are the only PAC Ten team to fail to earn a bid to that great Embassy Ball of the gridiron, the Rose Bowl.
HONESTLY, WITHOUT LOOKING AT THE SCHEDULE, SMQ'S THINKING: Okay, SMQ is going along. He is convinced by the force and persistence - the dose of impetus, if you will - of the manifesto: seven wins, first bowl game since 1998, contract extension (and maybe coach of the year nods) for fearless leader Stoops. For the first time, the blogosphere is peopled by those who believe - Viva la Revolucion!

- - - - -
Previous absurdly premature assessments:
April 3: Central Michigan...April 4: Brigham Young...April 6: Kentucky...April 7: Bowling Green...April 8: Southern Cal...April 11: Rutgers...April 12: Marshall...April 13: Florida State...April 15: San Diego State...April 17: Alabama...April 19: Oregon State...April 20: Buffalo...April 22: NC State

- - - - -

6:09 PM

I'm thoroughly enjoying this series, S.M.Q., but I have a quick question for you . . . once you're done, if I go back and do the math, will it add up?

In other words, will it possible for, say, every Pac-10 team to win the number of games you predict or is this being done by gut instinct on a case-by-case basis, with no one forecast necessarily dovetailing with any other?

It's still a cool series, either way, I just wanted to know.
Arizona will still suck. Here is the list of PAC-10 schools they will lose to this year.

Washington State
Arizona State

Coin flip:
Oregon State

They will beat:
Post a Comment
Powered by Blogger


- - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
And don't let the name fool ya - second guessing the phenomenal athletic feats and split-second decisions of college kids under extreme physical duress is for every day of the week.

AWWW!! The totally nicest people, like, ever!...

How much football does he watch? Dude's got insights on -everybody-, and by everybody, I mean everybody. Throw in some of the best writing in the blogosphere, and we're talking about a daily must-read.
- Burnt Orange Nation

SMQ starts to sound more and more like the Gregg Easterbrook of our ideal memories every day - whip-smart, systematic, omnivorous in his intellectual tastes and yet unafraid of the cheap joke.
- Every Day Should Be Saturday

Sunday Morning Quarterback is one of our favorite football blogs on the internet.
- State Fans Nation

Sunday Morning Quarterback is a killer football blog if you are a college football junkie. It is run by one of the most thoughtful, intelligent, and analytical writers in the college football blogosphere...The guy is thorough and detailed and provides a level of analysis you are not going to find anywhere else .
- Bruins Nation

Just another hack writer who hasn't done one lick of research... - SOT2

...the pride of Southern Mississippi ever since Brett Favre turned into an ESPN soap opera, has the sort of prose knack that can keep you riveted to a preview about any one of D-IA's scrubbier members ... should be given gifts.
- MGoBlog

- - - - -
e-mail Sunday Morning Quarterback at sundaymorningqb@yahoo.com

- - - - -

2006 Preview
Anatomy of an Underdog
BlogPoll: 1-10/11-25/Roundtable
The Big Ten
The Big XII
The Sun Belt

Running Departments
The Rap Sheet
July 29/Aug. 1/Aug. 9/Aug. 16/Aug.19/Aug. 25/Sept. 28/Oct. 4/Oct. 5/Oct. 18/Oct. 26/Nov. 2/Nov. 7/Nov. 8/Nov. 28/Dec. 2/Dec. 8/ Dec. 11/Dec. 18/Dec. 21/Feb. 6/Feb. 10/April 7/April 14/April 21/April 29/May 6/May 12/May 19/May 26/June 2/June 10/June 16/June 24/June 30/July 8/Aug. 4

- - - - -

News from the Big Guys
ESPN/ College Football News Wire
Sports Illustrated
CBS Sportsline
USA Today
Opinion: Columnists and bloggers
Around the Oval (Ohio State)
Badger Sports (Wisconsin)
The Blue-Gray Sky (Notre Dame)
Block U (Utah)
BoiFromTroy (Southern Cal)
Bruins Nation (UCLA)
Burnt Orange Nation (Texas)
The Corporate Headquarters of the San Antonio Gunslingers
Dave Sez (Virginia)
Dawg Sports (Georgia)
ESPN: Ivan Maisel/Pat Forde
Every Day Should Be Saturday (Florida)
FOX: Pete Fiutak
Golden Tornado (Georgia Tech)
Heisman Pundit
I'm a Realist (Georgia)
Journalism is for Rock Stars (Alabama)
Mark May Be Wrong
MDG CFB (Fresno State)
Mountain Lair (West Virginia)
MGOBlog (Michigan)
Orange::44 (Syracuse)
Paradigm Blog (Michigan)
Paul Westerdawg (Georgia)
Pitch Right (Navy)
Rammer Jammer Yellow Hammer (Alabammer)
Section Six
Sexy Results (Virginia)
SI: Stewart Mandel/John Walters
Sporting Fools (Florida State)
Straight Bangin' (Michigan)
Texas A&M and Baseball, In No Particular Order (Texas A&M)
The 614 (Ohio State)
The House That Rock Built (Notre Dame)
The Sporting Gnomes (Clemson)
Tiger Pundit (Clemson)
We Must Ignite This Couch (West Virginia)
The Wizard of Odds

- - - - -
The Blog Poll

- - - - -

College Football Data Warehouse
College Football Research Center
College Football News
Football Commentary

Tackles For Loss
Field Goals
Kickoff Returns
Punt Returns
Rushing Offense
Passing Offense
Total Offense
Scoring Offense
Rushing Defense
Passing Defense
Total Defense
Scoring Defense
Turnover Margin

- - - - -
Past Seasons
Thursday Morning Quarterback
Sept. 29/Oct. 6/Oct. 20/Oct. 27/Nov. 3/Nov. 10/Nov. 17/Nov. 24/Dec. 1
Sunday Morning Quarterback
Oct. 2/Oct. 23/Oct. 30/Nov. 6/Nov. 13/Nov. 27
Stat Relevance Watch
Part One/Part Two/Part Three
SMQ Bowl Blitz
New Orleans/GMAC/Las Vegas/Poinsettia/Motor City

SMQ's [Hurricane-Abbreviated] 2005 Preview
Top 25 Countdown/Methodology
All-America Team