Updated Sep 8, 2011 - 10:07 am
Eyes of college football on the state of Arizona before the weekend
Arizona has a big opportunity over a 30-hour period before the weekend is upon us.
Rise up Wildcats. Rise up Sun Devils.
Both Arizona and Arizona State are playing Top 20 competition from the Big 12 conference on ESPN in nationally televised games. Arizona travels to Stillwater to battle Oklahoma State and Arizona State plays host to Missouri.
The state of college football in Arizona has a huge chance to show their programs can compete and should be considered when talking Pac-12 Championship. It doesn't matter if they are league games or not; these games are a great indication of what lies ahead over the next three months.
These games are the best. We've been waiting eight-plus months for meaningful football. They raced by the cupcakes with passing grades and now they get into the heart of the season.
For Arizona it's the beginning of a gauntlet. Taking on an Oklahoma State team that beat them by 26 in the Alamo Bowl precedes a conference schedule that begins with v. Stanford, v. Oregon and @ USC. Brutal. One. At. A. Time.
The program takes center stage Thursday night. Nick Foles gets to show off his arm, deep wide receiving corps (although it looks like it will be minus Juron Criner -- ouch!) and an offense that put up 41 points last Saturday and averaged 28 points last year.
For as good as the offense is -- and can be --, it looks like the success or failure of the Wildcats will be in the hands of the defense. The Cowboys put up 36 on them in that bowl game. They scored 61 in their tune-up against Louisiana-Lafayette.
I'm not going to count out Mike Stoops and Tim Kish. I think these Wildcats keep it closer than Vegas thinks (14 point underdogs).
Back here in Arizona on Friday night, the lower ranked -- yet favored -- Sun Devils go at it with Missouri, looking a lot like Missouri. It will be ASU in the all black, not Mizzou. The heat will be something new to the visitors but not the scenery.
Missouri played in Sun Devil Stadium last December and fell to Iowa in the Insight Bowl. This Missouri team travels to Tempe Blaine Gabbert-less.
In their 17-6 season opening win over Miami (Ohio) the Tigers only passed for 129 yards while rushing for 162. Not something they are accustomed to.
The Sun Devils' linebacking crew (specifically their run defense) will be tested in spying quarterback James Franklin. He was the team's leading rusher with 72 yards at more than five yards a carry last week.
A mistake-free offense and a defense doing what it's capable of should lead to a good evening for the Sun Devils.
All college football eyes on the state of Arizona for a 30-hour period. Opportunity awaits.
What I learned this week…
If you give an SEC defense five or more weeks it is likely they can shut down Oregon's offense. Regardless of the final score, watching LSU's defense against Oregon Saturday night felt like them against Auburn in ways. Big and fast up front gives them all kinds of problems.
The rest of the country? I'm in wait and see mode.
Tweet of the week…
Statement from Peyton http://t.co/vF6yJRT
I was not going to believe Peyton Manning was sitting out Week 1 until I heard it from the man himself. This tweet did just that.
I hope he soon returns to the field and can play at the high level we've all watched over the years. Watching him run and execute an offense is great entertainment.
Suggestion of the week…
"Most of you don't want success as much as you want to sleep. Some of you want sleep more than you want success. I'm hear to tell you that if you're going to be successful you got to be willing to give up sleep."