Arizona Football

Wings Over Broadway Arizona Wildcats Football Countdown (8 Days Until Kickoff): What Are You Looking Forward to the Most?


Don’t let 2018 happen again with the losing record and collapse against ASU.

No more 2017 miseries losing four out of the last five games after a 6-2 start and a Khalil Tate-for-Heisman push. Arizona’s defense yielded 177 points in those four losses (average of 44.3 points) including a 42-30 loss at ASU.

Take back your John Mackovic years and your late Mike Stoops and Rich Rodriguez eras.

Arizona fans such as this one are looking forward to no more embarrassment in 2019:

Don’t embarrass yourself or the fans or alums — Jim Patterson

You can sense the frustration.

Yesterday, I touched on Arizona on average winning about 6.8 games in a 12-game schedule based on its history. That defines mediocrity.

Terrence Johnson (83) makes the catch against Blake Washington (32) in a recent scrimmage (Mike Christy/Arizona Athletics)

The game at Hawaii next Saturday is significant in the young Kevin Sumlin era because it can either give hope that Arizona is trying to move past the mediocrity, or if a loss occurs, it can signal another season of despair, and, yes, embarrassment.

There are two forms of embarrassment for a team — not living up to expectations or not being competitive.

The 1998 team that finished 12-1 and ranked No. 4 in the country could have set up Arizona’s program for an extended successful run. The Wildcats were ranked No. 3 when they were embarrassed 41-7 at No. 4 Penn State in the 1999 opener. Dick Tomey’s team that year lost three of its last four games including a 42-27 defeat at ASU.

The embarrassment continued with Arizona forcing Tomey out of a job the following season, showing its impatience, after the Wildcats lost their last five games, including a 30-17 setback against the hated Sun Devils in Tucson.

Then Mackovic happened. Embarrassment. The program really has not been the same in more than 20 years even though Rodriguez coached the Wildcats to the Pac-12 South title in 2014. That turned out to be a flash in the pan with Rich Rod going 17-21 in his last three seasons, including a 9-18 mark in the Pac-12.

When will the embarrassment stop and the pride of the 1980’s and 1990’s be restored in the Arizona program?

Quotable

“I appreciate Coach (Sumlin) for giving me this opportunity to coach a good group. They are a very young but vibrant, athletic group this year. … We have a fast package where it’s all defensive ends or a big front, so a lot of different combinations (with the four-man front), just trying to find the right chemistry for these guys. It’s a great group. These guys are working hard. There are no excuses. They’re doing what they’re asked to do.” — Arizona defensive line coach Iona Uiagalelei

By the numbers

71

Sumlin’s ranking among 130 coaches in the nation by Athlon Sports. He ranks No. 9 in the Pac-12 ahead of only USC’s Clay Helton (No. 10), Oregon State’s Jonathan Smith (No. 11) and Colorado first-year coach Mel Tucker (No. 12). ASU’s Herm Edwards is ranked No. 8.


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ALLSPORTSTUCSON.com publisher, writer and editor Javier Morales is a former Arizona Press Club award winner. He is a former Arizona Daily Star beat reporter for the Arizona basketball team, including when the Wildcats won the 1996-97 NCAA title. He has also written articles for CollegeAD.com, Bleacher Report, Lindy’s Sports, TucsonCitizen.com, The Arizona Republic, Sporting News and Baseball America, among many other publications. He has also authored the book “The Highest Form of Living”, which is available at Amazon.

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