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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


OPINION: New versus old football uniforms — so what?


Wildcats lose to the Beavers 38-56 and by losing this game, Arizona has now had three consecutive loses. 

The football team is bringing back the Desert Swarm uniforms. So what?

The hype built up around the Arizona football team this year is enormous, from banners hanging up of football players to social media clips of intense practices and constant interviews of players and coaches about the upcoming season. 

The theme the football team has adopted this year is “It’s personal.” Clearly, the coaches and players want to send a message to Tucson and NCAA teams around the country that this season is going to be different. 

On Aug. 4, 2021, the Wildcats made their first big statement of the year when they announced the football team would change their uniform to the “Desert Swarm” design permanently. 

The history of these uniforms is they were worn during the 1990s in what Arizona fans say was the most dominant era of football in the school’s history. The Wildcats finished with double-digit wins for the first time in 1993 and later went on to win the Fiesta Bowl against Miami 29-0. A broadcaster by the name of Russ Francis likened Arizona’s style of defensive to the Persian Gulf War, and hence the nickname of the uniforms was born. 

Any fan or college student may get hyped over this news and cannot wait to see the first game played, but is this news about the uniforms a big deal? 

This sounds like nothing more than a sad attempt to get people excited for the upcoming season. It is a desperate mission to erase the awful memories of the worst season Arizona has ever had last year. To me, it showcases a lack of confidence in that you need to hype up a uniform for fans to come out to a game instead of the team. That makes sense though, because the football team has given Arizona fans nothing to cheer about in a while. In case nobody remembers, here are some stats from the 2020 football season. 

  • Arizona finished with an overall record of 0-5, the first time in school history the football program finished without a win in a season. 
  • Finished with the worst record in the Pac-12 conference and one of the worst records out of all the power conferences.
  • Finished last in the Pac-12 in total points per game (17.4), third-down conversion percentage (33%), fourth-down conversion percentage (25%), kick-off average (17.1), red zone percentage (69%) and touchdown percentage in the red zone (38%).
  • Currently riding a 12-game losing streak dating back to the 2019 season. The Wildcats have not won a college football game since Oct. 5, 2019. 
  • Lost to ASU 70-7 on Dec. 11, 2020, the worst defeat to the Sun Devils in program history. Arizona has not beat ASU since the 2016 season. 
  • Across all five games last season, Arizona only led in games for a total of around 44 minutes. 

RELATED: What are Arizona Football’s expectations this season?

The Desert Swarm uniforms are considered a symbol of dominance, so it makes no sense to allow a team that has not won a game in two years to wear them. 

One of the highlights of the ’93 Fiesta Bowl team was its defense, which only allowed 50 yards per game that season. Last year, Arizona boasted one of the worst defenses in the conference. The Wildcat defense allowed the most points per game (39.8), yards per game (473), rushing yards per game (270.6), had the fewest sacks (2), defensive touchdowns (0) and tied for the least number of interceptions (2) and fumble recoveries (1). 

This is a team full of athletes who have not proven anything other than they know how to lose and finish last at almost everything. 

I have seen sports fandom enter a new era over the last few years where if fans or journalists criticize a sports team or state facts, they are considered “mean” or “insensitive,” which I find to be silly. Every stat I have listed about the team above is true, so it is not mean or insensitive; it is just the truth. 

No matter how good a uniform looks, it does not help a team win games and this year is going to be tough for Arizona. 

Here are some more facts about some of the upcoming opponents Arizona will face this year. 

  • Arizona will open the season with BYU. In their last two meetings, Arizona lost in 2016 (18-16) and in 2018 (28-23). The Wildcats have not defeated the Cougars since 2008.
  • Week four features a matchup against Oregon in Eugene. The Wildcats have not won at Oregon since 2014. 
  • Week seven features a matchup against Washington in Tucson. The Wildcats have not beaten Washington since 2014. In their last four matchups, the Huskies have outscored the Wildcats 179-85.
  • Week eight features a matchup against USC in L.A. The Wildcats have not defeated the Trojans since I graduated high school (2012) and have not won at the Coliseum since I started high school (2009). 
  • Week 10 features a matchup against Utah in Tucson. The Wildcats have not beaten Utah since 2015.
  • Week 11 features a matchup against Washington State in Pullman. The Wildcats have not beaten Washington State since 2017 and have not won in Pullman since 2014. In the last two meetings in Pullman, the Wildcats were outscored 138-35, with the Cougars hanging 69 points on Arizona both times. 
  • The final game of the year is against archrival Arizona State in Tempe. Arizona has not defeated ASU in Tempe since I was 16 years old (2011).
  • Arizona has not had a winning season since 2017 and has not won a bowl game since 2015. 

If the Wildcats dream of accomplishing that final bullet point, they must have a history-defining season. They will have to defeat each team listed above to secure a winning season and a potential bowl game bid. Keep in mind, I did not mention they still play UCLA. 

While I will be cheering on Arizona, I am realistic about the road ahead, which won’t be easy. 

Follow Sean Fagan on Twitter

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