So I am easily the luckiest contributor on this site. Why? Because I avoided the Oregon, USC, Stanford gauntlet. That was bad. The guys did a fantastic job of remaining objective without calling for severe doom and gloom. I get to skip all of that and now hit one of our three "V's" from last year, the Arizona Wildcats. This wasn't just a win last year, but a statement, one that carried us into our first road win in like a zillion years (or the media would have us think). This also wasn't any kind of barn-burner, the Buffs came out strong, at home, and WHACKED the Wildcats 48-29. Now it bears mention that this was in Boulder, and remember those road woes that the jerk-face media doesn't let us forget?
With Arizona comes another first year head-coach, Rich Rodriguez (remember when he up and left his WVU Mountaineers BEFORE their bowl game). So I personally think, and this is just my opinion; not the view of the Ralphie Report, SB Nation, or the internet in general blah blah other liability talk blah, that RichRod up and leaving the Mountaineers before their bowl game was one of the most classless acts in recent college football memory; disregard Penn St. (I really hope RichRod doesn't sue me). I mean come on man. I know Michigan is where you wanted to be; karma sucks. You were literally banished to the desert.
Ok, so, we beat Arizona last year. They had a good QB too. Nick Foles was just drafted to the Philadelphia Eagles after passing for over 10,000 yards in his career. To put this into perspective CU's leading passer, ever, is Joel Klatt who threw for 7,375 yards (thanks for the number Stuart over at CU at the Game). GOODNESS that is a lot of yards, he threw for like 2 miles (go ahead check my math; disclaimer I suck at math). Again, we beat this team, with Foles. Arizona replaces Foles with super-senior Matt Scott. He is a duel threat kind of guy who may suit Rich-Rod's philosophy perfectly.
If Rich-Rod's pattern is followed at Arizona then this is one team that will be switching (finally) from a pass-happy spread, to a run oriented scheme favoring athletic QBs and hardnosed runningbacks. They do have sophomore running back Ka'Deem Carey who has shown promise but has not been tested because Arizona threw the ball like 99.9998% of the time last year (this is a guess). Daniel Jenkins and Greg Nwoko could also factor in after losing a ton of time last year with injuries. At receiver, the Wildcats return former Longhorn (ed. note - AND ALLEN EAGLE) Dan Buckner and sophomore's Austin Hill, Gharic Wharton and Tyler Slavin. Th unit could be strong, but they will be rather untested heading into the season.
On defense the Wildcats were not very good last year. They gave up 48 points to the likes of Colorado. This year they return almost nothing, they do return sophomore nickelback Tra'Mayne Bondurant, who had 45 tackles last year as a freshman, but that is about it. If the Buff's offense can bounce back from a potentially confidence-ruining month then they stand a good chance of padding their stats against an inexperienced and unproven Arizona defense.
They scored a big win in the offseason when they managed to bring aboard former West Virginia defensive coordinator Tim Casteel. Casteel runs a 3-3-5 defense that stresses as much speed as possible at each level. The line should be pretty green, but the linebacking unit should be strong, even with the loss of Akron transfer Brian Wagner. Jake Fisher will be the leader and is a potential all-conference pick while Rob Hankins should make a big jump from his sophomore performance.
Arizona had nearly as many injuries in the secondary as the Buffs did last year. Jonathan McKnight and Shaq Richardson could make a great tandem at corner if Richardson can hold off junior Derrick Rainey. Marquis Flowers and Adam Tevis will hold down the safety spots after Tucson-local Adam Hall suffered ANOTHER ACL tear in the offseason.
We beat ‘em last year and it is nowhere near unrealistic to project a win again this year (especially if you ignore that dang road inaptitude from the recent past (jerk-face media)). This is one of the games that we have to hope for a win if we want to remain optimistic for a bowl berth. It is so hard to project wins/losses this deep into the season because we don't know what the team will look like up to this point. All I can tell you is that we beat this team last year, they have a brand new head coach who will change their offensive scheme (their greatest strength last year), and who displayed a less than average defense last year. How is that for spin? Go Buffs.