The Arizona football team begins its 2013 season against Northern Arizona at Arizona Stadium on Aug. 30, which is six 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.
The Friday newspaper in Tucson during the football season was like a new pack of baseball cards for a kid who loved sports: I could not wait to open it.
The sports section … Give me the sports section.
Those from Tucson can relate to my experience in the 1970s and 1980s. What captured my interest was those cartoons featuring mascots of local high school teams and whatever team Arizona played that Saturday.
The artist or artists — perhaps somebody can help me with names (I scoured Google) — drew the high school mascots battling each other based on the prediction of the game. My personal favorite was the Blue Devil of my alma mater, Sunnyside High School, taking the panther from Amphi to the ringer (or something similar to that).
Wilbur the Wildcat conquering the mascot of their next opponent was also a joy to observe.
I wanted to bring those cartoons back, similar to how I want to drink Ovaltine again. Loved that stuff. I am fortunate to have befriended a professional artist in Las Vegas to fulfill my craving.
Mike Hanaoka, who goes by his pro wrestling handle of “Hawaiian Heartthrob” on Facebook, is a quality human being as well as artist. I met him working at Best Buy (my full-time employment). I marvel at his artwork. It’s very detailed. The animation comes to life off the page.
I mentioned to Mike the theme of the cartoons in the newspaper during the football season back in the day. He said he could whip something up. He came through significantly. He has agreed to make a drawing of each of Arizona’s games this season. We hope to sell prints to those interested (more on that later). Mike’s themes of Arizona’s games with Pac-12 foes should be incredible.
With Arizona’s first game week upon us — starting today — we exhibit Mike’s remarkable drawing of Wilbur pouncing on a bewildered Louie the Lumberjack of NAU. The Wildcats host the Lumberjacks Friday night at Arizona Stadium.
We hope you enjoy Mike’s series of drawings during the season. I will publish them the day before each UA game going forward. If any other artists want to share their creations during the season, e-mail me at WildAboutAZCats@gmail.com You can put a watermark on it (similar to Mike’s artwork) to protect your work on the Internet.
ABOUT THE ARTIST
Michael Hanaoka is an artist who was born and raised in Hawaii. He enjoys painting, singing, surfing and putting smiles on people’s faces. He studied at the Las Vegas Art Institute and is currently living in Henderson, Nev.
The best Arizona player to wear No. 6, according to TucsonCitizen.com’s Anthony Gimino, is free safety Chuck Cecil (1984-87). From walk-on to feared NFL headhunter, Cecil is one of the most beloved Cats ever.
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. 6: 1982 upset win keeps Sun Devils from Rose Bowl, starts “The Streak”
No. 7: “Leap by the Lake” most amazing individual play in UA history gives Cats win over Huskies
No. 8: UA loses heartbreaker to ASU wondering: “The Catch” really a catch?
No. 9: Arizona (12-1) achieves best record, highest ranking to end season with 1998 win over Nebraska
No. 10: UA wins 1926 game after McKale delivers Salmon’s “Bear Down” line
No. 11: The Desert Swarm is born in 1992 near-upset of top-ranked Miami at the Orange Bowl
No. 12: Zendejas’ 57-yard FG ties UA record, keeps ASU out of Rose Bowl again
No. 13: Arizona blows 20-point lead and shot at the Rose Bowl with 1993 collapse at California
No. 14: UA upsets No. 2 UCLA in 1980 when Bruins appeared ready to be No. 1
No. 15: L.A. Times reporter: Arizona shows “fight of wildcats” in 1914 game vs. Occidental
No. 16: UA leads UCLA late in third quarter but loses big in 12-1 season
No. 17: Unranked Arizona upsets Ohio State, Woody Hayes in Buckeyes’ 1967 opener in Columbus
No. 18: Arizona and hasty coach Mudra lose Ultimatum Bowl to ASU in 1968
No. 19: Arizona keeps “The Streak” without loss to ASU alive in ’87 with bizarre finish that ends in tie
No. 20: Arizona fit to be tied with Cal despite leading 26-3 in third quarter
No. 21: Zendejas’ last-second 45-yard FG vs. ASU generates momentum for “The Streak” to endure
No. 22: Arizona wins its first bowl behind “Heat-seeking Missile” Chuck Cecil
No. 23: Collapse vs. Utah after leading 27-0 in fourth quarter changed the face of UA football
No. 24: UA shuts out ASU, Kush during dominating run for Sun Devils coach
No. 25: Arizona’s defense and Doug Pfaff’s last-second FG enough to upset sixth-ranked Oklahoma
No. 26: UA upsets ASU from Fiesta Bowl consideration in program’s best stretch
No. 27: Trung Canidate rushes for record 288 yards and three long TDs in ’98 shootout against ASU
No. 28: UA dominates No. 3 SMU, highest ranked non-conference foe to lose to Cats
No. 29: Arizona stuns second-ranked Oregon in most significant victory in Mike Stoops era
No. 30: Arizona’s win on last-second FG over ASU ends Frank Kush’s dominance in the series
No. 31: Arizona reaches its zenith under Mike Stoops with victory over Brigham Young in Las Vegas Bowl
No. 32: Arizona owed Cal a couple, knock Bears out of BCS title, Rose Bowl run
No. 33: Arizona’s 10-9 loss at Oregon in 1994, derailing its Rose Bowl hopes, still hurts
No. 34: ASU ripe for picking in banana uniforms for “The Streak” to reach eight
No. 35: Arizona tries risky fake PAT to beat California but loses in epic 4 overtime game
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.