When wanting to learn a little more about an opponent you just played 9 months ago, and not wanting to do any actual research yourself, the best thing to do is to ask the experts, so I did just that. K_Zim from the Arizona SB Nation site Arizona Desert Swarm was kind enough to answer a few questions and give us some insight as to what to expect on Thursday night.... regarding only the OSU-Zona game. He offered no insights into the Packers-Saints game, the Presidential speech, the Olympics, the Jessica Alba sex tape, the Superbowl, the "Gundy gets a haircut" reality show, the Friends reunion, footage of Kate Upton walking briskly in a tight shirt, Bigfoot fighting Mike Tyson, free PPV porn, a show that is just that Josh Duhamel guy running shirtless (for the ladies... and me), an extra episode of the Sopranos that shows Tony getting shot at the end, or anything else that is airing in the same time slot as the OSU game
I provided some information for Arizona Desert Swarm as well that they put up on their site. Go ahead and check it out.
1. The last time these two teams met the Cowboys pulled out a relatively easy win in a sloppily played game. What has changed about the Wildcats that could make the results different this time in Stillwater?
The simple answer here is that they'll use that Alamo Bowl game as not only motivation, but experience to avoid another disappointing showing against a very tough Cowboy team. In the offseason, the Wildcats made Nike wristbands that say, "All In. No Looking Back," and it's pretty clear that the latter phrase is in reference to Arizona's ugly finish in 2010, where they lost five games in a row including the final route by OSU. Maybe from an Arizona perspective I'm lying, but from watching the game and from the coaches said, they were mostly doomed by turnovers in the Alamo Bowl. That spotted the Cowboys 21 points -- take those away and it's a closer game than the score showed. If the Wildcats limit turnovers, obviously, they'll be in much better shape than in last December.
2. Looking through box scores, it seems that the Arizona offense gets almost all of its work done through the air. Hypothetically, if a defense (let's say Oklahoma State's) were to control the passing game, is there a legitimate running threat that the Wildcats could turn to in order to force the defense to play more balanced?
I actually just wrote about this
. Yes, there is a legitimate running threat despite a completely revamped offensive line. However, I'm would be concerned that the Arizona coaches don't go to the run game should OSU do a good job against the pass. Starter Keola Antolin is a little guy that's hard to bring down -- he's also got some speed once he hits the second level and good hands. The X-factor is true freshman Ka'Deem Carey, who's a more prototypical back with moves, size and break-away speed. He can make things happen if the O-line isn't on. Again, whether they go to him or not is an issue considering he's still learning blocking schemes. I have a feeling that Stoops and Co. will neglect the run game too much, and three-and-outs could cost Arizona in the end.
3. I know we aren't as exciting as OU or Texas, but what is the general feeling about Oklahoma State (and I guess the three other schools) potentially becoming your conference and divisional mates as early as next season?
Just yesterday, this was addressed by Mike Stoops at a press conference, and he pretty much said it was "tough enough" of a conference as is. I think his bigger concern comes from the fact that the Wildcats aren't really in a long-term contract with the league. So in general, I don't think he's too thrilled about the expansion (he wouldn't want to play his brother every year either). I honestly haven't gotten much of a grasp on the feelings of others, but I'm in the boat that is a little afraid of the idea. Take that as a compliment, because I realize the Cowboys are amongst, if not the elite, then knocking on the door of elite college football teams. Arizona could end up becoming a bottom dweller if an expansion were to happen in the near future, and I'd rather see them get stuck in a division with their old Pac-10 buddies to the West so they could compete on a regular basis. Perhaps I'll be less afraid if the Wildcats show they can, at the least, compete this Thursday.