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Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Citgo Watch: Long Gone in the desert


Mike Stoops, brother of Bob Stoops, is out as head coach of Arizona.  This year, they are 1-5 and are coming off a loss to a previously win-less Oregon State, 37-27.  Dr. Saturday thinks it is stupid.  I think it has been a long time coming (see: UCLA). 

Stoops came in during the '03 season after a player mutiny against John Malcovich and a 1-4 start.  The Wildcats finished 2-10 and Stoops' first two full seasons they went 3-8 both times.

The Wildcats posted 8 win seasons in 2008 and 2009, and along with last year, the 'Cats made 3 consecutive bowls for the first time since '92-'94 (Desert Swarm).

2009 was Arizona's "breakout" season.  They were in the Rose Bowl race well into November.  Last year, riding that momentum, they spent 11 weeks ranked, topped off at no. 9 and top 20 through Thanksgiving.  Zrizona finished with 5 straight losses (more on that later).

This year, the home stretch isn't the problem.  After a win over Sacramento State, they have dropped 5 straight again.

The schedule has been a bit top heavy:
at Oklahoma State, ranked no. 9
Stanford, ranked no. 6
Oregon, ranked no. 10
at USC, currently 4-1

Those are likely and probable losses for the majority of college football teams.  Ohio State may have ended up 0-6.

What I have taken from watching Arizona on Thursday v the Pokes, the Ducks and Stanford was that they hung in there due to Nick Foles' arm, but they are not close to the top tier of the Pac-12.  But it's not like they are looking at a 1-11 season.

Their remaining schedule sets up like this:
UCLA next Thursday: really winnable
at Washington: small underdogs
Utah: winnable
at Colorado: very very winnable
at ASU: tough, but you know rivarlies, "throw the record out"
ULL: laughable, I think

After 1-5, they most likely finish anywhere from 4-8 to 6-6 and a bowl bid.  Did they fire him too soon? Maybe.  Was a change needed?  Perhaps, but it's not like they were top 10 for years and this season is a complete tire fire (see, Columbus).  I will tell you one thing, UCLA off a bye week on Thursday night at home is cowbell to their losing fever.

U of A gave him 8 years, what's the point of not letting him finish out the string?  His recent success was ultimately his downfall, and after 8 years, unless you are a championship contenter, things can get stale and a change is usually necessary.  The late season losses have not helped either.

The 2010 season ended with 5 straight losses and the streak is 10 against Div. 1-A opponents.  The only question I have is why not let him ride this out and dump him if they get under .500 and let him coach the bowl game if they finish 6-6.  Arizona football, is, Arizona football and to get rid of a coach after 8 seasons, mid season is a bit questionable.  I'll be looking for Mike on tv soon, I hope.