Rich Rodriguez, Arizona Wildcats soaring after win over USC

TUCSON, AZ - Rich Rodriguez's desert project is ahead of schedule.

Exceeding expectations in his first season at Arizona, Rodriguez has led the Wildcats to five wins, putting them within a game of becoming bowl eligible.

Arizona narrowly missed two wins over ranked opponents and bounced back with its biggest victory under Rodriguez last Saturday, holding on to beat No. 10 Southern California 39-36 in an offensive shootout.

The Wildcats have one of the nation's most prolific offenses and a dynamic quarterback in Matt Scott, while the defense has fought its way through a lack of depth.

Arizona re-entered the AP Top 25 this week at No. 24 and debuted in the BCS standings at No. 22.