Arizona Wildcats 2018 countdown to kickoff: 92 days

We have reached 92 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 92nd day ’til kickoff, the best player to wear No. 92 for Arizona? That would be defensive tackle Rob Waldrop, who starred at Arizona from 1990-93. The centerpiece of the Desert Swarm defense, he won the 1993 Outland Trophy and the inaugural Football Writers’ Defensive Player of the Year award. Waldrop has also been inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame.

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A look ahead

Forty years now in the Pac-12 and Arizona has yet to have an all-conference first team quarterback. That could change this year with Khalil Tate a preseason Heisman candidate. The highest honor achieved are four second-team choices: Tom Tunnicliffe in 1983, Keith Smith in 1998, Willie Tuitama in 2008 and Matt Scott in 2012.

Tom Tunnicliffe was an All-Pac-10 second team quarterback in 1983 (Arizona Athletics photo)

Arizona has achieved 86 first-team selections since joining the league in 1978. Here are the top five honored positions for the Wildcats:

1. Defensive backs — 19

2. Linebackers — 16

3. Defensive linemen — 14

4 (tie). Running backs — 8

Offensive linemen — 8

This indicates how much Arizona has been a program bent on defense.

Alarming: Since Arizona had four first-team selections in 2008, only five have been chosen since. That does not reflect well on the last nine years under Mike Stoops and Rich Rodriguez.

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