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The Daily Wildcat

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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    A Slice of Bacon: Three things in three years

    Shane Baconstaff writer
    Shane Bacon
    staff writer

    It has been almost five years since an Arizona team has won a national championship.

    Yep, five years. It’s been nine years since men’s basketball’s heroic national championship and almost 14 years since men’s golf took the title with Jim Furyk, and the football team has gone 107 years without ever winning a championship.

    The downside – since the Wildcat sports teams began winning national championships (starting with baseball in 1976) a winless year this year will tie the longest drought Arizona has gone without a team national championship (1986-1991 was the only other time).

    The upside – we actually have a lot to look forward to in the coming years with some of the talent the teams continue to bring in.

    With that said, here is a look at three things to look forward to in the next three years.

    2007-08 women’s golf national champions

    It has been a tough couple of years for the Arizona women’s golf team after the departure of now-pro Erica Blasberg.

    Before the recent troubles, Tucson was a factory for producing winners in college and later in the pros.

    Notable names include Blasberg, Lorena Ochoa and a lady by the name of Annika Sorenstam, who has had a little success in the past.

    With a group of freshmen that is led by Adriana Zwanck and includes Lauren Espinosa, Sommer Scholl, Amanda Wilson, Marisa Smith, Brooke Schneider and Brittany Pepler, experience will make this team almost unbeatable.

    Give the team another year to improve the little things and look for the 2007-08 Wildcats to add their third national championship.

    Football team (finally) makes the Rose Bowl

    Dick Tomey? Nope. John Mackovic? Not even close. Mike Hankwitz? Just Kidding. Mike Stoops? Who knows?

    It has been a long road home to finally get the Arizona football squad in the Rose Bowl, and 2008-09 might finally be the year that the Wildcats play on New Year’s Day.

    With then-senior quarterback Willie Tuitama taking the Wildcats on his back and Stoops wanting to make an impression in Tucson before taking his brother’s head coaching job in Norman, Okla., the Wildcats stomp Michigan 24-10 as Tuitama takes home the player of the game honors and incoming President John McCain gives the Wildcats a tour of the White House (This is the same year I’m planning on qualifying for the Masters and securing a spot on the U.S. President’s Cup team).

    Men’s basketball – champs again

    1997. That is the year we can all agree has made our great basketball team better, but it has also put the program between a rock and a hard place.

    Now, Arizona head coach Lute Olson’s squad can’t just make the Final Four, it has to win it. It can’t just win 20 games, it has to destroy its Pacific 10 Conference foes.

    The good thing about the latest struggles is they have brought the expectations down a little as the team continues to bring in solid talent. If freshman forward Marcus Williams stays past his sophomore year (which could be like asking Ron Artest not to act like a nut job for longer than a week), this team could be very scary.

    Close your eyes and think about this – the 2008-09 Wildcats could have Williams, guard J.P. Prince, forward Fendi Onobun, guard Jawann McClellan, guard Daniel Dillon, guard Nic Wise, forward Chase Budinger, guard Jerryd Bayless, forward Jamelle Horne and possibly forward Darrell Arthur. Throw in a few choice big men, and you could be looking at the biggest talent pool Olson has ever had to choose from.

    Maybe by 2009, the Tucson Police Department will think of another way to control the rioters on Fourth Avenue beyond rubber bullets and eye-poking beanbags. Just a thought.

    With that, the upside is positive in Tucson. It might not be forever before you see our sports programs taking a turn for the better, so don’t get impatient.

    Good things are still in store for those who wait for them.

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