The team with no portfolio, no storied past, can move on now. It can fall into line behind Stanford and Oregon and return to the role of sleeper, although Saturday's loss at Cal is more apt to cause sleeplessness.
For the second time this season, Arizona added another verse to its inglorious football saga. The first, an Immaculate Deflection in a late-game loss at Washington, was viewed as a fluke, a freakish turn of events that happens every decade or three.
But on Saturday night at Memorial Stadium, a Back-to-You Deflection compromised the UA's season and proved that there is no limit to misfortune and no quota on unhappiness.
"We threw a jillion passes at Texas Tech and never saw anything like this," said UA offensive coordinator Sonny Dykes. "I've watched a lot of games and coached a lot of games, but I've never seen two games end like this, ever."
Cal beat Arizona 24-16 for a lot of reasons, and a few of them, such as a strong run defense and a superior kicking game, are easily explained. But when UA quarterback Nick Foles' third-down pass with 1:59 remaining caromed off the hand of a Cal lineman and back to Foles, it was as if the football gods were not about to permit Arizona to escape their perpetual front-row seat to unhappiness.
The line that divides Arizona from a dreamy, 6-0 Pac-10 record and its XXL-size, disappointing 4-2, is defined by two deflected passes. Washington returned the first for a touchdown, Foles illegally re-threw No. 2 Saturday at Cal.
"It's not very likely, those two passes," Foles said, quietly. "It was just a bad mistake by me. I knew it was a penalty. I knew I had screwed up."
There would be no game-winning field goal attempt, no rousing, ride-out-the-storm victory. Once again, the Wildcats will not eat off a different menu for another week; they will not order from a list of goodies related to the Rose Bowl and ESPN's Game Day festivities.
They will have to prepare for what is sure to be a howling tempest of a game against Oregon, and it won't be easy. Judging from the UA's body language as it left Berkeley on Saturday night, the Wildcats would need a shovel to get any lower.
As Mike Stoops said in a chilly tunnel at Memorial Stadium "How about that one? It's a tough way to lose a game."
Foles knows that you can't regain possession of a deflected pass and throw it again. But he had, what, 2.7 seconds to process the sudden change of events? And besides, Delashaun Dean was wide open for what looked to be a first down. Adrenaline takes over. Common sense takes a powder.
"I thought it was going to be a first down," Dean said. "But it wasn't."
It was a 14-yard penalty. Arizona was out of field goal range. It was a 2009 football horror story, Part II.
Even Cal defensive back Mike Mohamed was uncertain if the Wildcats had manufactured a near-miracle play and were a short Alex Zendejas field goal from winning 19-18, creating a colossal showdown against Oregon.
"Something didn't feel right," Mohamed said. "I had a feeling that they had a first down, but then it was like, 'wait, I don't think you can do that.'"
But Foles knew. On a night that he struggled to find his rhythm, he was nevertheless in the process of a season-altering, game-saving drive that was going to eat the clock and leave the Bears helpless and beaten.
Dykes said: "One of our rules, from Day 1 if you're a quarterback, is never catch a batted pass. Nick was trying to make a play down the stretch and it bit us in the rear end a little bit. He knows you can't throw a forward pass two times on the same play."
It's like getting bitten by a black widow spider in Seattle and a few weeks later stepping on a rattler in Berkeley. Either way, it was poison.
Cal played with a sense of desperation Saturday, and it worked. Although for the first time in a decade Arizona appears to have better players than the Bears, or at least can make it close. Cal coach Jeff Tedford worked the home-field advantage and added some psychological cooking.
"We felt Arizona was overlooking us coming in," Mohamed said. "Coach Tedford read us some headlines that showed Arizona was thinking of (bigger goals). We had to show them that they had to respect Cal football."
Headline writers don't win and lose football games, but in college football, any edge you can get is worth a try. If Tedford was persuasive enough to get his team to believe that the Wildcats were looking ahead to Oregon and even USC, good for him. Motivation is legal, even if you have to bend the truth.
Cal had positively owned Stoops' teams at Memorial Stadium, going 2-0 by a cumulative 73-27. Arizona isn't good enough to overlook anyone, especially Cal, and it wasn't guilty of such Saturday.
The Wildcats just couldn't make the one play necessary to bury the Bears the same way it couldn't make the final play required to beat Washington. Arizona is closer than it has ever been to playing in a Really Big Game - and it may still get there this season - but now it's an unlikely scenario.
"Tomorrow's a new day," said Stoops. "These are long seasons, and there's a lot left in front of us."
But it's the baggage behind the Wildcats that will follow them the rest of the way.