The first half of the Arizona Wildcats' season featured an upset victory, a pair of heartbreaking losses and enough promise to portend better things.
The second half will hinge on how well the Wildcats play at home.
The UA (3-3, 0-3 Pac-12) will take on Washington (3-3, 1-2) at 7 tonight at Arizona Stadium, the first in a string of winnable games against Pac-12 Conference opponents.
Four of the Wildcats' final six games will be played at home, and at least three of them - tonight, Arizona's Nov. 10 game against Colorado and the Nov. 23 rivalry game with Arizona State - seem, on paper, winnable.
That's why quarterback Matt Scott says its "real important" to hold serve at home, starting this week. Arizona is 3-1 at Arizona Stadium this year; it's lone loss, to Oregon State last month, came by three points.
"I think we have to win every home game from here on out," Scott said.
Asked what a 4-0 home mark the rest of the way would get the UA, Scott smirked.
"That'd be a bowl game," he said.
Winning at home is the most likely way the UA can turn around a season that's slipping away. The Wildcats upset Oklahoma State aat home but have lost their last three games, most recently a 54-48 overtime loss at Stanford; first-year coach Rich Rodriguez has not won a conference game.
But the UA might not be as bad as its record suggests. The Wildcats have already faced ranked teams; just one of their remaining six opponents - USC, next week's opponent - are likely to be listed among the nation's best.
"It's been a tough six games. None of the games have been easy - with the exception, maybe, of South Carolina State," Scott said. "We've played some big teams, and we'll finish off the season against some good teams."
In the middle, however, the UA must take advantage of its remaining winnable games.
Washington has been similarly flawed through the first half of the season. The Huskies scored 21 points in their season-opening win over San Diego State; since then, they're averaging 13.75 points per game against their FBS (Division I) opponents.
Quarterback Keith Price has struggled, a year after torching the UA in Seattle and leading the Huskies to the Alamo Bowl. UW's starting tailback, Bishop Sankey, is overachieving in his first season as starter, and tight end Austin Seferian-Jenkins is one of the league's budding stars.
The Huskies have already faced LSU, Stanford, Oregon and USC.
But they're human, a main reason why Las Vegas oddsmakers have listed the UA as a 7 1/2-point favorite for tonight's game.
"Everybody knows where we're at," Rodriguez said. "We've played pretty well at home; we've lost just the one game at the end. We hope the home crowd gives us a jolt."
Added Arizona linebacker Jake Fischer, an Ironwood Ridge grad: "Our goals and expectations haven't changed. We still have a chance to win the Pac-12 South."
No place like home
Arizona has played in eight bowl games since 1992. Here's a look it how UA fared at Arizona Stadium during the last eight winning seasons.
Year at home (overall)
1992 4-2 (6-5-1)
1993 6-0 (10-2)
1994 5-1 (8-4)
1997 5-1 (7-4)
1998 5-1 (12-1)
2008 5-2 (8-5)
2009 5-1 (8-5)
2010 4-3 (7-6)
• What: Washington at Arizona
• When: 7 p.m.
• TV: Pac-12 Arizona (Cox 75; Comcast 103, not available on DirecTV, contact Dish for information)
• Radio: 1290-AM, 107.5-FM, 990-AM (Spanish)
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