Next up on the Cougars’ road show: the University of Arizona Wildcats. We have our first look on the link. Read on.
• Here is the first look at UA …
WASHINGTON STATE AT ARIZONA
Time: 12:30 p.m. (PST) Saturday. TV: FSN (delayed to 7:30 p.m.)
The records: WSU (1-7, 0-5 in Pac-10); Arizona (5-2, 3-1)
Last week: Arizona had a bye; defeated UCLA, 27-13, Oct. 24
WSU lost to Notre Dame, 40-14
Last time: Arizona defeated WSU, 59-28, in Pullman last year.
The line: Arizona by 31
What it means for WSU: By playing a non-conference game last week, the Cougars moved up a spot in the Pac-10 standings. Thanks to UCLA’s loss to Oregon State, the Bruins and WSU are tied for ninth. And that’s whom the Cougars meet in Pullman next weekend. So, on their last long road trip of the year, they should have a few modest goals. An upset to snap a five-game losing streak would be nice, of course, but nothing WSU has shown recently points toward finding a way to win in a hostile environment. But playing competitively in Tucson and returning home without any more player losses should probably be considered a positive week for the Cougars.
What it means for Arizona: There are two teams that control their destiny in the Pac-10: undefeated, seventh-ranked Oregon and the 21st-ranked Wildcats. Of course, UA has yet to play the Ducks, Cal or USC, so the gantlet hasn’t really begun. A homecoming stumble against Washington State would not only ruin any chance for Arizona to get to its first-ever Rose Bowl, it might end up costing the Wildcats any postseason play considering the rest of the schedule. Is that enough incentive to play well?
Key matchup: Arizona running back Nic Grigsby vs. WSU’s linebackers.
Grigsby has given the Cougars fits since stepping on the UA campus in 2007. As freshman, Grigsby rushed for 186 yards in only his second collegiate start, helping the Wildcats to a 48-20 win. Last season, Grigsby topped that with a then-career-high 189-yard effort in a 59-28 UA win. Now a junior, Grigsby has been hampered by a shoulder sprain (and by sharing time with Keola Antolin and Greg Nwoko), but still has gained 535 yards on 71 carries, an impressive 7.5 yards–per-carry average. He is expected to be healthier following the Cats’ bye week. The Cougar linebackers were overpowered at times by Notre Dame’s 234-pound running back Robert Hughes last week, but that shouldn’t be much of a problem Saturday. The 5-foot-10, 190-pound Grigsby is known more for his quickness. That means tackling in space will be critical.
• That’s it for now. By the way, the game is scheduled to be televised live on Fox College Sports but you may not have that on your television. The FSN replay is probably the best bet. … We’ll be back in the morning with links. Until then …