We are now only 57 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 57th day until kickoff, the best player to wear No. 57 for Arizona? That would be center Norman Katnik, who was part of Tony Mason’s teams in 1978 and 1979 that started Arizona’s existence in what was then the Pac-10. In 1979, he was selected as the recipient of the team’s “Tough Boot Award,” which was awarded to the Outstanding Lineman of the Year.
After earning a Bachelor of Science Degree in Public Administration at Arizona, in 1982, Norman enrolled at Western State College of Law, where he earned his Juris Doctor in 1985. He was sworn into the California State and Federal, Central District, courts. He joined the legal practice of his father, Andrew P. Katnik, in Santa Ana, Calif. Thereafter, the firm name was changed to Katnik & Katnik Lawyers. He remains a lawyer to this day.
His son Norm Jr. played at USC and the NFL.
A look ahead
Interesting to note that Athlon Sports ranks four of Arizona’s top five games this season as being on the road — Utah, Washington State, Houston and UCLA. That’s highly questionable. The games against ASU and Oregon at Arizona Stadium have to be in the top 5 more so than Utah and Houston. The struggle for supremacy for new coaches Sumlin, Herm Edwards at ASU and Mario Cristobal at Oregon should be very interesting.
Kevin Sumlin's debut season with the Wildcats features road trips to Salt Lake City, Pullman and the Rose Bowl. Which will be the toughest for Arizona to handle? https://t.co/9AXKIK8Uun pic.twitter.com/7Djx9NcgLE
— Athlon Sports (@AthlonSports) July 5, 2018
They tweeted it
Is it any coincidence the five bottom teams have new coaches this year? Oregon replaced its coach, Willie Taggart, because he moved on to Florida State, but the Ducks’ defense was porous nonetheless.
2017 Pac-12 Football – Touchdowns Allowed
1. Washington, 24
2. Utah, 33
3. Stanford, 39
4. Cal, 40
5. WSU, 41
6. Colorado, 42
7. USC, 46
8. Oregon, 47
9. ASU, 54
10. UCLA, 58
11. Arizona, 59
12. OSU, 67 pic.twitter.com/COsA8wtBlF
— SportsPac12 (@SportsPac12) July 3, 2018
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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.