Now that #TeamKaDeem is in full swing, the UA's junior running back has certainly received more attention in the past week or so and it'll continue if he keeps putting up big numbers. For him to get to NY, he needs to have a couple more 200-yard games and be the nation's leading rusher by a wide margin—not just five or six yards. But if he goes for 200-plus against UCLA and Oregon, it will certainly help him get in the national spotlight. In the end, I still think it's a stretch he gets invited to NY at the end of the day.
I'll go with UCLA still. I know the Bruins have lost a couple in a row, but I still think they have the most talent of any team in the South and should get on track now that Oregon and Stanford are off the schedule.
Three keys: 1. Limit Jared Goff in the deep passing game and make him uncomfortable in the pocket. Goff can't complete long passes and disrupt Arizona's secondary if he doesn't have time to set his feet and make all the throws he likes. 2. B.J. Denker continues to play the way he has. Like his style or not, he's become a legitimate threat out of the QB position and defenses no longer can just stack the box to stop Ka'Deem Carey. Denker has to keep Cal's defense honest and make plays like he has the past few weeks. 3. Arizona has to play with intensity from the start. It's a 12:30 start against a bad team. UA can't come out and sleepwalk early. It's important Arizona starts fast and imposes its will from the start.
Bruce Pascoe is the man when it comes to covering college hoops in this town, but I love the sport, so I'll take a stab at this. Early predictions: Kentucky, Kansas, Oklahoma State and Duke. (This will go over well).
Lots to address here! I'm not sure EVERYONE knows Arizona's receivers will be the best in the nation next year. I think the wide receiver group has a chance to be really good, but so much can happen between now and then as we saw with the group this year. I don't see it likely that Ka'Deem comes back for his senior year no matter how his season ends this year. Now for the super bowl predictions: Let's go with Anu Solomon at QB and the Sun Bowl? Thoughts?
I actually don't think punter Drew Riggleman has been all that bad. He's had one bad punt a game, which obviously isn't ideal, but he's also had some nice punts. It's also his first year as a starter and he is a walk-on from a local school. If Jake Smith, the kicker, could perform better than Riggleman, I think he'd have gotten a chance by now. The job may not be Riggleman's next year, but I expect him to hold it for the rest of this season unless something drastic happens.
10+ years seems like A LOT. Could it happen? Sure. But it's too early to predict that. I do think most players really enjoy playing for him—especially when things are going well. He's definitely a great motivator and also knows how to have fun with them. Every coach will have a few players that don't enjoy playing for him, but I think the majority of the UA players like suiting up for Rodriguez and want to give him their very best.
This is an interesting one. I think you have to be pretty pleased and impressed with the job QBs coach Rod Smith has done with B.J. Denker this season. RichRod gets a lot of credit and rightfully so, but Smith has done a really good job of working with Denker on a daily basis and developing him. Also WRs coach Tony Dews deserves some credit for developing this young group of WRs. To have two true freshman in Nate Phillips and Samajie Grant playing as well as they are and see improvement in other guys is strong. Rodriguez loves his staff and I don't think that's just coachspeak. A lot of these guys have been with him at past stops and he really trusts them. It's an important aspect in Arizona's success.
I'll give my score prediction in a little bit, but I do anticipate a closer game than what most people think. Going on the road in back-to-back weekends is tough and this is a dangerous matchup for Arizona with how Cal can sling the ball around. I expect it to be tough once again.
I think Arizona football fans are similar to other fanbases with a similar product. Also the schedule hasn't been all that exciting and it's tough to stick around for three-plus hours for these 7, 7:30, 8 p.m., starts. My guess: If Arizona takes care of business this weekend, you'll see a pretty good crowd next weekend for UCLA even with a late start. The more Arizona wins this year, the bigger and rowdier the crowds will be.