The Arizona Wildcats have surprised several people this year. The Iowa Hawkeyes are living up to their high expectations. Saturday night, each team will find out how close or far they are from where they need to be to reach their 2010 goals.
Arizona has been overlooked in a wide open Pac-10 this year. Oregon, Oregon State, Stanford, USC, and even Washington got attention in the preseason, but Arizona is making people notice them. They have outscored their first two opponents 93-8, while rolling up over 1,000 yards of total offense.
After winning a BCS bowl last year, Iowa is expected to push Ohio State for the Big Ten title and, possibly, a spot in the BCS National Championship game. Ricky Stanzi has stepped up his game and the offense has more fire power than a year ago.
On paper, Iowa is clearly the better team, but don’t count Arizona out. If I am a Hawkeye, I am concerned about the start time of this game: 9:30 p.m. local Iowa time. When this game ends, it will already be Sunday in Iowa. I don’t think the Iowa players are used to playing so late at night. I would also be concerned about the revenge factor. Iowa beat Arizona 27-17 last year. Since this is the first real game for Arizona, that means the Arizona players have been staring at this game since January.