Greg Hansen: Without Scott, UA like Buffs or Wazzu

2012-11-05T00:00:00Z Greg Hansen: Without Scott, UA like Buffs or WazzuGreg Hansen Arizona Daily Star Arizona Daily Star
November 05, 2012 12:00 am  • 

The truth, the whole truth, half-truths, shades of the truth and other items admissible as sports news:

• Minus Matt Scott, Arizona is Colorado. That's the personnel difference between the two teams: a skilled quarterback.

That should tell you two things. One, how important quarterbacking is in football and, two, how well Rich Rodriguez and his staff have coached this season.

They have done so well in covering up deficiencies, everywhere, that one of the major dailies in Los Angeles referred to UCLA's victory over Arizona as a "signature win."

That's pretty funny. Arizona is Wazzu with better quarterbacking.

• Until the UA addresses the issue publicly and with transparency, a significant segment of the school's constituents will believe that Scott suffered a concussion against USC and should not have been cleared to play against UCLA.

It looks bad. Those innuendos won't go away anytime soon.

This is what I believe: Dr. Don Porter, the team physician, and Randy Cohen, director of medical services, are men of integrity and conviction, and would not, under any circumstances, have allowed Scott, or any UA athlete, to play if impaired.

It is their call, not that of RichRod or athletic director Greg Byrne. From what I know of Porter and Cohen over the years, and from what others have told me, I would trust them with my children's care.

• At his weekly media session, RichRod is always asked big-picture questions, but he never bites.

"We're not thinking about things on the other end,'' he said last week. "Shoot, we've got a long ways to go before we start thinking about that stuff.''

At Arizona, the "other end'' is 2014, at the earliest. This season is, as I've said from the beginning, a freebie. If Arizona wins six regular season games, RichRod should get strong consideration for Pac-12 Coach of the Year, although I suspect Oregon State's Mike Riley will be almost impossible to overcome.

Arizona needs two more recruiting classes before it starts developing a big picture, and UA fans better be prepared for it. It's still a two- or three-year process, at best, exacerbated by what will be a vulnerable QB situation minus Matt Scott next year.

• On Sunday, after firing coach Joker Phillips, Kentucky athletic director Mitch Barnhart said: "Kentucky football needs to be and will be a championship contender in the SEC.''

Is there a man on earth who truly believes that?

Kentucky falls into a football category similar to that of Arizona and most Pac-12 schools: those who will be good every few years, but otherwise fall into a predictable and fluid cycle that includes six categories.

1. Teams In A Death Spiral. That would be Colorado and Cal.

2. Teams Coming Out of A Death Spiral: That would be Arizona and maybe Wazzu.

3. Teams With No Identity Trying To Figure It Out: That would be Washington, ASU and Utah.

4. Teams Rotating Toward National Prominence: That would be UCLA and Oregon State.

5. Teams Desperate to Stay Near The Top: That would be Stanford and USC.

6. Oregon.

In five years, the cycle will change. It always does. Think of it this way: Somehow, Arizona beat UCLA five years in succession, 2007-2011. That's almost preposterous given UCLA's recruiting advantages in Southern California. It's not likely to happen again in the next 25 years.

• In UCLA's recruiting class of 2010, the one that essentially got Mike Stoops fired and is creating serious personnel issues on the UA defense, the Bruins had 12 four-star recruits, including Fresno Hoover High School linebacker Eric Kendricks, who had 13 tackles and two sacks against Arizona Saturday.

Kendricks now leads the Pac-12 with 9.2 tackles per game. Arizona probably hasn't had a linebacker like Kendricks since Spencer Larsen and more likely since Lance Briggs.

The Bruins acquire linebackers like Kendricks every year. Arizona gets one every five years.

• Last Monday, RichRod said: "I knew we were going to have to hang on this season (defensively). We can fix some of that now, some we can fix over the next few seasons."

He referred to his defense as the "no-name crew.''

But it was still a shock to see someone, anyone, hang 66 points on an Arizona defense, whatever the name. Over the last 50 years, only the 2001 Oregon Ducks (63-28) scored 60 or more on Arizona.

Before that, it was Colorado, 65-12, in 1958.

The Wildcats are allowing 498 yards per game, which would be the worst in school history; last year's club yielded 461.

But perhaps the UA, its fans and coaching staff will get over it the way UCLA and its fans got over a 52-14 Tucson loss to Arizona in 2005, when the No. 7 Bruins, a nine-point road favorite - a team that would finish 10-2 - was blown away by a 3-8 Stoops team just beginning a brief run on the inevitable up cycle.

I suspect most UA football fans are still optimistic, but for the next few days, it will be a sober optimism.

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Pac-12 South football standings

  Conference Overall
Arizona 7 2 0 0.778 10 4 0 0.714
USC 6 3 0 0.667 9 4 0 0.692
UCLA 6 3 0 0.667 10 3 0 0.769
Arizona State 6 3 0 0.667 10 3 0 0.769
Utah 5 4 0 0.556 9 4 0 0.692
Colorado 0 9 0 0.000 2 10 0 0.167

Pac-12 North football standings

  Conference Overall
Oregon 8 1 0 0.889 13 2 0 0.867
Stanford 5 4 0 0.556 8 5 0 0.615
Washington 4 5 0 0.444 8 6 0 0.571
Cal 3 6 0 0.333 5 7 0 0.417
Washington State 2 7 0 0.222 3 9 0 0.250
Oregon State 2 7 0 0.222 5 7 0 0.417
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