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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    Nine years of suffering for UA football fans

    Zona Zoo cardholders in the student section cheer on the Wildcat football team in last seasons 28-14 loss to ASU at Arizona Stadium Nov. 25. After nine bowl-less years, the Arizona football program looks to make to redeem itself.
    Zona Zoo cardholders in the student section cheer on the Wildcat football team in last season’s 28-14 loss to ASU at Arizona Stadium Nov. 25. After nine bowl-less years, the Arizona football program looks to make to redeem itself.

    It may be only nine years since the Arizona football team last reached a bowl game, but it sure feels like more than that to any fan of the program. Just talk to the crazies talking bowl after rushing the field following the California win on Homecoming last year.

    It’s tough to realize just how long nine years is until you compare the Wildcats’ futile run with other programs around campus.

    Nine years has been enough time for the softball team to win three national championships, appear in eight Women’s College World Series and take home five Pacific 10 Conference titles, while finishing second the other four years.

    Mike Candrea’s juggernaut of a program has produced a whopping 31 All-Americans, including 19 first-teamers. The club has also yielded two National Player of the Year winners, both Jennie Finch, three Conference Pitchers of the Year and two Newcomers of the Year.

    Across the street from Arizona Stadium, in McKale Center, you could say Lute Olson’s men’s basketball program has had a down nine years by his squad’s standards, but only if you consider the three Final Fours and one national championship from the previous 11 years.

    Olson’s squads still managed to win 20 games and reach the NCAA Tournament in all nine seasons, including one national championship game appearance. They also reached two other Elite Eights.

    That’s not to mention a fourth Sweet 16 and 13 NBA draft picks, an average of almost 1.5 per season, including four players selected in the lottery.

    Looking around the Pac-10, USC football has won a pair of national championships – and came a Vince Young fourth-down scamper away from a third – to go with five conference titles in the same nine long years. The Trojans also gained three Heisman Trophy winners.

    In all, 44 different teams have represented the Pac-10 in postseason play since the last time the Wildcats earned that distinction, with every school but Arizona reaching a bowl twice – even Stanford. Five of those teams have made at least six bowls (including ASU), led by Oregon’s run of seven in nine years.

    Back in 1998, UA head coach Mike Stoops made his living as an assistant coach for Kansas State, defensive coordinator Mark Stoops coached the defensive backs at Wyoming while serving as assistant coach, and new offensive coordinator Sonny Dykes worked as receivers coach at Northeast Louisiana. Needless to say, they were a long way from Tucson.

    Stoops represents the fourth coach in Arizona’s bowl-less run, following Dick Tomey, Mike Hankowitz and John Mackovic, as the Wildcats have compiled a 34-58 record.

    Stud freshman tight end Rob?Gronkowski was all of 9 years old in ’98, and senior linebacker Spencer Larsen, who spent two years on a Mormon mission, was just 14.

    As another football season kicks off with hopes of the sweet smell of a bowl berth at the finish line, UA fans can take solace in at least one fact.

    Misery loves company, and the Arizona Cardinals have not sniffed postseason play in nine years, either.

    Michael Schwartz is a journalism senior. He can be reached at sports@wildcat.arizona.edu.

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