Arizona Wildcats 2018 countdown to kickoff: 96 days

We have reached 96 days until the Arizona Wildcats kick off their 2018 season under new coach Kevin Sumlin.

When Arizona hosts BYU on Sept. 1, it will mark the 40th anniversary since the Wildcats joined the Pac-12 (went from the Pac-8 to the Pac-10 then) and also the 20th anniversary of the 1998 team with the best record in school history, 12-1, and the 25th anniversary of the 1993 team that went 10-2 with a win over Miami in the Fiesta Bowl.

To get ready for the upcoming season, All Sports Tucson offers another countdown, which will include memories from former Wildcats, history notes and a look ahead to the season. Think of it as a way to keep Arizona football on the mind in the summer months leading up to fall camp in early August and then kickoff against the Cougars marking the start of the Sumlin Era.

A look back

— With it being the 96th day ’til kickoff, the best player to wear No. 96 for Arizona? That would be defensive tackle Brad Henke, who played on Dick Tomey’s first two teams in 1987 and 1988. He was a JC transfer who had 90 tackles in 1988. He later became an actor who has been part of 92 movies on TV or cinema, most recently playing Jonah Walsh as part of the new MacGyver TV series.

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A look ahead

USC’s potential national title run in 2018 includes a dangerous game at Arizona on Sept. 29, one of the top 10 “trap” games of the upcoming season, according to The Sporting News. “It’s a similar trap-door setup as last September, when USC had to get through Stanford, Texas and Cal before a Friday night game they lost at Washington State,” The Sporting News states. “This year, the Trojans play at Stanford, at Texas and at home against Washington State before a trip to Tucson, where Khalil Tate should be settled in with first-year coach Kevin Sumlin.”

They said it

Former Scottsdale Saguaro standout Christian Kirk, a wide receiver who was recruited by Sumlin to Texas A&M and was a second-round draft pick of the Arizona Cardinals, had this to say about Sumlin during a recent radio interview with 98.7 FM in Phoenix:

“I think he’s going to have a great time over there at U of A. I think he’s going to do real good recruiting the Valley. He’s just a true players’ coach and does everything for his players.”

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