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Soak It

December 15, 2008

(bowl bye)
(UA 69, Gonzaga 64)

Itís the week after the ASU game and weíre still talking football.

Because weíve got another game!

I saw Las Vegas Bowl shirts being sold on the side of the road in Tucson. Doesnít it just warm your heart to see the maybe-legal vendors back in business?

We really need to soak this in because you donít know how often itís going to happen. Weíd like to think this is the start of a long run of winning seasons but you can never be sure. This is only our 14th appearance in one of these things, and you can count our wins on one hand.

The good news is we actually have a bowl winning streak on the line, having won in our last two trips to the postseason (the Copper/Insight Bowl and Holiday Bowl wins back-to-back). Weíve won three out of four bowl games going back to the 29-0 Fiesta. You might say weíre red hot, in a crock pot kind of way.

The best part of the bowl bid for me isÖIím going. My first in-person Arizona Football postseason experience. Iíll be able to share all the sights from my most-likely-terrible seat. All the more reason to hope we win this thing.

Itís not like the team will be rusty. Playing on the first day of the bowl season means we only had one Saturday off. After three byes this year youíd think weíd be pretty good at them. BYU on the other hand will have been idle a full month by the time we play. Maybe thatíll throw their high-powered offense out of sync a bit.

The Cougars do score a ton of points (35 per game), but they also give them up in bunches (32 points allowed per game the last half of the season). They needed a blocked extra point to beat a Washington team that didnít beat anybody, and in last yearís Vegas Bowl they needed a blocked field goal to beat a 6-6 UCLA team that didnít have a coach.

1) They arenít invincible. 2) Our field goal unit better be working extra hard on blocking.

We may be playing from behind before kickoff because word is already out that the team will be wearing red-on-red in Vegas. I understand including red to counter BYUís blue, but why go with a combo on a two-game losing streak? Iím really surprised we havenít seen red-on-blue once this year. That look has been very successful against ranked teams.

Hey, did you hear we beat ASU last week? Blew them out by three touchdowns? Shut them out in the second half, leaving their offense in a heap of yellow rubble?

Below are some bonus thoughts after watching the ESPN broadcast:

New play: Love the screen to GRONK! instead of behind him. GRONK! is GRONK!s own screen.

New play 2: The from-the-side draw play to Grigsby was excellent. The first attempt produced our longest run of the game.

News flash: Taking timeouts on defense at the end of a half worked! We made the stop, and the two-minute offense marched the ball down the field. Yeah, Willie threw a pick in the end zone but, hey, we didnít timeout the other team into some points so Iím counting that a win.

Holiday Bowl highlights! Letís go ahead and make sure we donít go that long before our next bowl.

With the 21-point third quarter against the Devils we have another sign of improvement. Our three best non-Idaho, non-WSU quarters this year came in the second half. Could that be due to the proverbial halftime adjustments?

Speaking of adjustments, I guess when you beat a top-five team for the first time in seven years youíve got to talk a little hoops.

Before the game I pondered the philosophical question of whether or not Arizona would want to hire a Gonzaga coach who lost to Arizona. All kidding aside at least now if we go after Mark Few we can use the ďIf you canít beat Ďem, join ĎemĒ argument.

You have to feel happy for the current coaching staff and players because no matter what happens from here on out, RussBall already has a better win than KO Ball had all last year. In fact, if you go by the rankings, Pennell now has a better win than Lute had in his final six years.

It makes you want to travel and see this team play, doesnít it? Just another reason to be really gladÖ

Iím going to Vegas!

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