Commentary

Stoops will be back next season at Arizona

Updated: November 7, 2007, 5:19 PM ET
By Ted Miller | Special to ESPN.com
Mike Stoops will be back at Arizona next season, according to a vote of confidence given to him and athletic director Jim Livengood by university president Robert Shelton and reported Monday in the Arizona Daily Star. The newspaper wrote that Shelton told the two they were safe even before the Wildcats win at Washington on Oct. 27. In the preseason, expectations were high that Arizona would break a streak of eight consecutive nonwinning seasons and reach its first bowl game since 1998. That appears unlikely. Still, Stoops said this week he always expected he'd be back. "If the president felt like he needed to say that, then I'm happy -- and I plan on being here a lot longer than a year's period of time, that's for sure," he said.

• The Wildcats, riding a two-game winning streak, are off this weekend before Oregon comes to town on Nov. 15. They will need to beat the Ducks and then rival Arizona State -- both top-10 teams -- to become bowl eligible, a prospect that could be charitably described as unlikely. Still, the resurgence of the offense makes it possible to imagine at least one upset. Arizona has scored 82 points in its past two games, and quarterback Willie Tuitama extended his school single-season touchdown pass record to 24 with three scoring tosses in the win over UCLA. With 3,145 yards passing -- by far the best total in the conference -- he needs just 183 yards to establish a new school single-season yardage record. "We're much more confident as an offensive football team," Stoops said. "This offense can move the football."

Arizona State

Does Arizona State's visit to bedraggled UCLA on Saturday (ABC, 3:30 ET) feel like a trap game, wedged between the Sun Devils first loss of the season at Oregon and their bye week in advance of a visit from USC? Coach Dennis Erickson acknowledged the possibility, but hoped his team recognizes that it still could end up in BCS bowl game if it wins out. "We're in a situation where we have some opportunities in front of us," Erickson said. The ideal scenario for ASU -- barring an Oregon collapse -- is the Ducks winning out and earning a berth in the BCS title game in New Orleans. If the Sun Devils also hold serve, it would be a near-certainty that they would end up in the Rose Bowl for the first time since 1997. It's noteworthy that the Sun Devils haven't won in the Rose Bowl since that regular season and haven't won a game in Los Angeles since 1999.

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