Even if the Arizona Wildcats were at full strength this week against the Stanford Cardinal, it would be tough to see the 'Cats pulling the huge upset in Tucson. Fortunately for Andrew Luck and the Cardinal, Arizona comes into this week's showdown with nearly half of their defensive starters injured, and now star wide receiver Juron Criner may miss the game as well.
Criner, who underwent an appendectomy nearly two weeks ago, is listed as questionable for the game. The all-american candidate missed last week's game against the Oklahoma State Cowboys and the 'Cats passing attack -- a unit capable of putting up 400+ yards on any given night -- suffered mightily because of it.
As for the defense, Mike Stoops will be without starting linebacker Jake Fischer, cornerback Jonathan McKnight, and safety Adam Hall. The other safety, Robert Golden, has battled injuries in the first two games of the season as well and his availability is at a play-by-play basis at this point. Compile these losses to losing four starters to the NFL Draft or graduation from last year's team and it is easy to see why Arizona has struggled defensively.
If Criner does not play, the game could be a blowout pretty early. If the dynamic receiver does play -- and honestly, no one quite knows his availability at this point other than he and the coaching staff -- the 'Cats may be able to work a little magic and keep the game close.