We are now 68 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.
To catch up on the countdown click on this: Arizona Wildcats 2018 countdown to kickoff.
A look back
— With it being the 68th day until kickoff, the best player to wear No. 68 for Arizona? That would be none other than Tedy Bruschi, one of the stars of the Desert Swarm defense 25 years ago. Bruschi, who holds the untouchable Arizona career sack record of 52 (also tied for the NCAA record), is a College Football Hall of Famer who was a two-time consensus All-American. He went on to win three Super Bowls with the New England Patriots and is now one of the most informative NFL analysts on ESPN.
Bruschi, who turned 45 on June 9, certainly belongs in the Mount Rushmore of Arizona athletes who are top ambassadors of the athletic program along with Golden State Warriors coach Steve Kerr, Cleveland Indians manager Terry Francona and softball standout Jenny Finch. Legendary athletes Ricky Hunley and Sean Elliott and Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Nick Foles, the Super Bowl MVP, also certainly deserve that honor as well.
A look ahead
Fansided’s SaturdayBlitz.com on Saturday suggested Arizona with a “few good breaks” can do the unthinkable and make the College Football Playoff this season.
“Under Sumlin, Arizona is a few good breaks from history,” the site’s Matthew Bartlett states. “Arizona gets USC, Oregon and Arizona State at home in 2018. Their road trips to Utah, UCLA and Washington State are difficult, but not impossible. Especially when (Khalil) Tate’s theatrics are always on the table. The Heisman Trophy would be a nice prize, but Arizona has much higher hopes in 2018.”
For this to happen, Arizona would have to stay mostly injury free, its defense would have to be as good as Washington’s has been the last couple of years and Tate would certainly have to play worthy of a Heisman candidate. Can it all come together? Starving Arizona fans, who have never experienced an outright title in the Pac-10 and Pac-12 years AND WAC years, will believe it when they see it. The Wildcats have not experienced an outright conference championship since winning the Border Conference in 1941. Yes, 1941.
They tweeted it
A long drought for both Arizona schools …
Pac-12 Football – Last Appearance in Top 4 of AP Football Poll
– USC, 2017
– Washington, 2016
– Stanford, 2015
– Utah, 2015
– Oregon, 2014
– Cal, 2004
– WSU, 2002
– Colorado, 2001
– UCLA, 2001
– OSU, 2000
– Arizona, 1999
– ASU, 1996