Let's get the Stoops stuff out of the way first. What was the general reaction from fans and students when he was let go?
People generally felt it was long overdue. There have been critics throughout his entire tenure at Arizona, and of course not having a FBS win in nearly 365 days won't do anything to shut them up. Tucson is an odd place, though. Stoops took the Wildcats out of the dump and had them nearly in Rose Bowl contention. It wasn't that long ago that they were playing Oregon on ESPN GameDay for the Rose Bowl. So it's just weird how quickly attitudes changes. The local newspaper definitely wrote a lot about he wasn't involved in the community, so that had a lot to do with it. That won't make boosters like you, obviously.
How has Tim Kish done in his three games as interim head coach?
Kish has done about as good as you could imagine with a team that just isn't that good. He's been focusing on bringing the fun back to football with the players -- he's letting Nick Foles choose plays, for example -- in a season that started with a lot of promise. He's given the assistants a lot more freedom than Stoops did, too. Defensively, he's completely changed it up, going with a completely new defensive set called a double-eagle flex. Essentially, it loads up the box to make up for the lack of pressure the front seven had been getting on the opposing QBs.
Who are some of the names being tossed around as Stoops replacement?
Mike Leach, the old Texas Tech coach, was a hot name. Arizona's offense has its origins in that Air Raid offense from Tech, so that was an easy guess. Arizona AD Greg Byrne also has connections with Chris Petersen of Boise State, so the optimists are throwing that name around. Mike Bellotti's name also popped up, but Byrne has essentially said that if anything leaks from the coaches' end of the hiring process, he won't hire whomever leaks info. So we're all really in the dark.
From what I have seen, Kadeem Carey seems to be the future at the running back position for the Wildcats. What makes him special and does he have a bright future in Tucson?
He's just got a natural knack for the game. He's pretty short but has a thick build and could be an every-down back. I guess you could say he's got that "it" factor for taking hits, not going down, juking people and all that. He's fast too. The hopes are high for him, but I don't think he'll get a whole lot of carries Saturday because they go with a running back by committee. But yeah, whichever coach inherits this team already has a future star.
With so much transition and injury on defense this year, who are the playmakers on that side of the ball that the Buffaloes defense will need to watch out for?
Senior cornerback Trevin Wade has been having a quietly huge year, mostly because teams have been shying away from his side of the field and picking on the other cornerbacks. I believe Wade is leading or one pick away from leading all active NCAA players in interceptions.
Upon taking over, Kish has thrown in freshman DB Tra'Mayne Bondurant into a rover position in that double-eagle flex defense. Essentially, Bondurant is a cornerback but roams around the line of scrimmage sort of like a linebacker. He's been exciting to watch and has been in a lot of plays the last three weeks.
Does it seem like many Arizona fans will be making their way to Boulder for the game?
Doubtful. The attendance at home games has been the worst since before Stoops took over. It's basketball season in Tucson, so I'm thinking fans won't travel very well.
I think Arizona might blow out Colorado since its offense is superior. But as to not look stupid when the Wildcats lose, I'll go with this:
Arizona 31, Colorado 21