The Arizona football team begins its 2013 season against Northern Arizona at Arizona Stadium on Aug. 30, which is 36 days away. From now until then, this Web site will count down the days with facts about the Wildcats, their players, coaching staff and opponents. This is not a ranking, only a list of 100 facts and observances related to the 2013 Arizona football team and coach Rich Rodriguez.
Arizona’s All-Time All-Pac-10/12 Defense is complete with the additions of Chuck Cecil and Tony Bouie at the safety positions.
The defensive unit consists of eight All-Americans including Cecil and Bouie: Ricky Hunley, linebacker; Rob Waldrop, defensive tackle; Josh Miller, punter; Tedy Bruschi, defensive end; Chris McAlister, cornerback; and Antoine Cason, cornerback.
Those not listed as first-team All-Americans are still some of the most legendary players in Arizona history: Byron Evans, linebacker; Lance Briggs, linebacker; Brooks Reed, defensive end; and Dana Wells, nose tackle.
Cecil, who played at Arizona from 1984-87 after starting as a walk-on, is the Wildcats’ career interception leader with 21. He is a College Football Hall of Famer along with Hunley, Waldrop and Bruschi. McAlister may be the next UA Hall of Famer.
Bouie, an All-Pac-10 and consensus All-American in 1993, has his name spread throughout the UA’s record book. Bouie added to the Desert Swarm legacy of 1993, when the Wildcats finished 10-2 with a 29-0 win over Miami in the Fiesta Bowl. A 2000 inductee in the Arizona Sports Hall of Fame, Bouie ranks in the school’s top 10 in career interceptions (tied for seventh with 13) and interceptions in a season (tied for fifth with seven in 1993).
Other UA safeties of note include free safeties Brandon Sanders and Allan Durden, both two-time All-Pac-10 selections. Al “Bubba” Gross and Jeff Hammerschmidt also merited first-team honors at free safety.
Dave Liggins was a first-team All-Pac-10 choice at strong safety in 1980.
Cecil and Bouie were important parts of two of the greatest victories at Arizona Stadium: Cecil’s 106-yard interception return for a touchdown in Arizona’s upset win over ASU in 1986, and Bouie’s jarring hit on a Washington receiver that resulted in the ball popped loose and intercepted by cornerback Keshon Johnson to thwart a Husky drive in the UA’s 16-3 win over the top-ranked Huskies in 1992.
Although they played with a physical, brash style, both are highly intelligent.
Cecil, the defensive secondary coach with the St. Louis Rams, was a three-time Pac-10 All-Academic pick. He was also a two-time first-team Academic All-America selection (1986-87). Bouie earned two Master’s degrees — Master of Arts in literacy and education at the UA in 1997 and Master of Business Administration at ASU in 2005.
Bouie, a cancer survivor, is also a successful entrepreneur who resides in the Phoenix area.
The best Arizona player to wear No. 36, according to TucsonCitizen.com’s Anthony Gimino, is fullback/tailback Gilbert Harris (2002-05). He had his best game in Arizona’s 52-14 dominating win over No. 7 UCLA in 2005. He rushed for 116 yards on 16 carries, including a 17-yard touchdown run.
Last year, this site and TucsonCitizen.com ran a Top 50 Games in the history of Arizona football series. I will relive that list here with less than 50 days to kickoff and add one game to it: Arizona’s improbable 49-48 win over Nevada in the New Mexico Bowl last December, which landed as No. 38 on the list. Note, after clicking on the link, you will notice last year’s ranking. The list on this page is the current ranking.
No. 36: Veal to Hill “Hail Mary” pass highlights “The Streak” reaching seven games against ASU
No. 37: USC outlasts Arizona 48-41 in one of most wild games played in Tucson
No. 38: Arizona Wildcats’ comeback against Nevada No. 38 in Top 50 games list
No. 39: Arizona shows signs of life under Mike Stoops with rout over No. 7 UCLA
No. 40: Art Luppino “The Cactus Comet” rockets toward 38 yards per carry and five touchdowns
No. 41: Fumblerooski enables Arizona to sweep USC, UCLA in L.A. for first time
No. 42: Sun Devil nemesis Dan White quarterbacks Arizona into Fiesta Bowl with win over ASU
No. 43: Struggling UA gets improbable win against ’83 Pac-10 champ UCLA
No. 44: Closing chapter of “The Streak” includes Arizona’s dramatic fourth-quarter heroics
No. 45: Arizona overcomes rival Texas Tech with unfathomable late-game rally
No. 46: Dick Tomey, the Desert Fox, does a number on UCLA by changing offense in midseason
No. 47: “The Streak” reaches three games, UA achieves best Pac-10 finish
No. 48: Arizona’s first game at Arizona Stadium in 1929, a 35-0 win over Cal Tech
No. 49: Underdog Arizona’s 2011 thriller over arch-rival Arizona State
No. 50: Arizona’s first win over arch-rival Arizona State, then known as Territorial Normal
Dropped out: Arizona’s first win in program’s history: 22-5 over Tucson Indians
WILDABOUTAZCATS.net publisher, writer and editor Javier Morales is a former Arizona Press Club award winner. He also writes blogs for Lindy’s College Sports, TucsonCitizen.com and Sports Illustrated-sponsored site ZonaZealots.com.