Through two weeks of the college football season, the Pac-12 teams in state 48 are in different positions.
The University of Arizona is 0-2 under new head coach Jedd Fisch. Those losses pile on to what is now a 14 game losing streak, the longest in the FBS. Arizona State is 2-0, with wins over two inferior opponents that looked chunky at times.
Jon Wilner has a lot to say about both programs.
The University of Arizona
Last week, the Wildcats were steam rolled by the San Diego Aztecs. Losing 38-14 to a team in the Mountain West is not ideal for anyone in the Pac-12 conference.
“Everybody’s gotta play until they get punched in the mouth. San Diego State did that to Arizona right away,” Wilner said on The Brad Cesmat Show. “It was a reality check for the Wildcats.”
Despite the losing streak, there’s been untapped buzz around the program from the moment Fisch took the reins this offseason. While the attitude towards the programs is changing, the results aren’t there yet.
“He’s mending relationships with high school and high school coaches, he’s trying to get the fans involved,” Wilner said. “But, that [a blowout loss to a Mountain West school] can’t happen. That tells you how far they have to go. And it also tells you that we don’t know the he [Jedd Fisch] can do it. Maybe he can.”
This week U of A plays a game they’re supposed to win easily against Northern Arizona University. If the game is closer than it should be, Wilner sees that as an alarming signal.
After last week’s struggles, Fisch announced Will Plummer as the starting quarterback.
Jedd Fisch says Will Plummer will start over Gunner Cruz at quarterback against NAU pic.twitter.com/LMkDKD3OPr
— Justin Spears (@JustinESports) September 13, 2021
This is a big week for No. 19 ASU as they travel to Provo, Utah to face No. 23 BYU. The Cougars are 2-0 with wins over Arizona and Utah. They’re looking for three consecutive victories against PAC-12 opponents.
“I can’t wait for it frankly,” Wilner said. “It’s two levels up in competition for ASU. You can get away with mistakes against UNLV and Southern Utah. BYU will make you pay.”
Headed to Provo in primetime. pic.twitter.com/s4zYcfni9t
— Sun Devil Football (@ASUFootball) September 13, 2021
Moving forward, this game holds high stakes for the Sun Devils. A win puts them in a position to contend with Oregon and UCLA for a Pac-12 title. Plus, if BYU were to win out following a loss, the win would look even better. Of course, Herm Edwards’ squad needs to take care of business first on Saturday night.
“The only way ASU’s non-conference schedule gets any legitimacy is if BYU has a good season,” Wilner said. “It’s going to give us a good look at the state of the [Pac-12] South. The Pac-12 can’t afford to lose another undefeated team.”
ASU, Oregon, and UCLA are the remaining unbeaten teams in the Pac-12. For comparison, the SEC has 10 and the Big 10 has seven.