The Pac-12's bowl season gets rolling Saturday with the Gildan New Mexico Bowl. Arizona is coming off a disappointing 6-6 season, and New Mexico is playing in its first bowl game since 2007. It will be interesting to see whether the motivation levels are notably different.
So here's why you should watch.
1. The return of All-Everything LB Scooby Wright: Arizona's pregame injury report didn't include Wright, the nation's most decorated defensive player from the 2014 season who has been injured pretty much all of 2015. All indications are that Wright will play, which means this is his showcase. He should be motivated as heck for a variety of reasons. It's uncertain whether he will return next fall or enter the NFL draft early, so this might be your last chance to see a guy who is an absolute beast when healthy. He also should enjoy a game against a team that really, really wants to run the ball. That means plenty of opportunities for contact.
2. Up-tempo-spread Arizona vs. triple-option New Mexico: Speaking of New Mexico's running game, it ranked eighth in the nation. The triple-option is not terribly popular in the Pac-12, so this will be a new look for the Wildcats, who were decidedly mediocre against the run. Of course, they've had 13 days to prepare. Meanwhile, Arizona's inconsistent offense, led by a healthy QB Anu Solomon and a deep crew of receivers, might feast on a Lobos defense that struggled against weak competition.
3. "Anu" way to finish a disappointing season: With RB Nick Wilson out, Solomon should get plenty of chances to throw the ball. Solomon didn't have a bad year, but he did have a disappointing one because he didn't take a step forward after flashing ability as a redshirt freshman starter in 2014. Although he threw only four interceptions, his playmaking and effectiveness were way down -- see his No. 6 ranking in the Pac-12 in passing efficiency. There's no way to salvage a mediocre season but finishing strong might build everyone's confidence -- including Solomon's -- that next year will be different. The Wildcats have a lot coming back in 2016, so a strong performance from him could create some offseason momentum. And a weak one might have some wondering whether his job is up for grabs this spring.