Thursday’s Coverage of the Cats

Arizona practices for the first time under head coach Rich Rodriguez and his staff ( video still)


>> takes a look at key matchups and stretches in the 2012 season for Arizona. I differ on most of the assessments. The “must-see matchup” is not ASU at Arizona — that’s a must-see game regardless — but in my estimation it’s Oregon State at Arizona on Sept. 29. The teams traditionally play close and the game is sandwiched between road games to Oregon and Stanford for Arizona to start conference play. The Wildcats can ill-afford to lose that game against the Beavers and potentially start 0-3 in the Pac-12.

Upset alert should be Oklahoma State at Arizona in the second week. The Wildcats and their fans will be hungry after two humbling losses to the Cowboys the last two seasons. The Cowboys will be difficult to beat, but the Wildcats finally get them in Tucson. Ask Iowa if Arizona has a chance. … I don’t see an “easy” stretch unless you call two games a stretch — consecutive games against UCLA and Colorado that start November. … the most brutal stretch is not three games, but four: at Stanford, Washington, USC and at UCLA. The Bruins have lost five straight to Arizona. Do you think they will be ready for that one? …

>> sports director/writer Anthony Gimino is helping with Lindy’s start of a new Web site (he has also asked me to pitch in from time to time). Anthony takes a good look at the college football scene here with his list of the Top 25 storylines to watch this season.

>> Scott Bordow of The Arizona Republic spends time with UA football coach Rich Rodriguez and reports on Arizona’s first practice, highlighted by loud music and non-stop maneuvers during practice

>> looks back at some painful Arizona losses as therapy for “preparing for the worst” — as the site calls it — in Rodriguez’s inaugural year.

>> writes about high-profile Casa Grande High School junior quarterback JaJuan Johnson looking like he has Arizona in the lead of a lot of programs.

>> is running a 2012 Fall Camp Central with stories, pictures and videos. Great idea by the athletic department.

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