Arizona Football

Five off-the-beaten-path storylines of Arizona Wildcats’ season opener vs. UTSA


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Random off-the-beaten-path thoughts of Arizona’s season-opener tomorrow night while wondering if Rich Rodriguez is funnier than Steve Sarkasian without the booze and the vulgarities … Like my daughter would say sarcastically, “Uh, yeah” …

The value of winning season openers.

Rodriguez will attempt tomorrow to become the fourth Arizona coach to win his first four season openers. The others:

G.A. Oliver — Won all five openers in his tenure from 1933 to 1937, including two victories over ASU.

Jim Young — Won the four openers of the season he coached at Arizona from 1973 to 1976, including a victory over Auburn at the start of his last season.

John Mackovic — About all he did right in Tucson, beating Utah and San Diego State on the road in his first two openers.

How does winning the opener really impact the season? It didn’t do much for Mackovic, who was 6-18 in his other games at Arizona. Oliver and Young left to other programs after their short terms.

In seasons the Wildcats won their season opener they compiled a 178-138-5 record, a winning percentage of .562.

When losing the opening game, they have finished 47-52-3, a .475 winning percentage.

Since the beginning of the Pac-10/12 era in 1978, Arizona has lost its season opener only nine times. The last time that happened was in 2007 at BYU.

In those nine seasons, Arizona has only three winning seasons with the highest victory total of only seven games, 7-4 in 1984 and 7-5 in 1997.

How does winning the opener impact the season? It matters a great deal for setting the right tone … unless the Mackovic years are factored. Can we just forget about the Mackovic years all together? …

Click on “Next” on the slideshow to the right to read the rest of the off-the-beaten-path storylines …

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Site founder and award-winning sports journalist Javier Morales has published his first e-book, “The Highest Form of Living”, a fiction piece about a young man who overcomes a troubled upbringing without his lost father and wayward mother through basketball and hope. His hope is realized through the sport he loves. Basketball enables him to get past his fears. His experience on the court indirectly brings him closer to his parents in a unique, heartfelt way. Please order it at Amazon (for only $4.99) by clicking on the photo:
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