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The Daily Wildcat

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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    Commentary: It just wasn’t Arizona’s time

    I should start this by telling you all that I was not at the game on Wednesday night. Not even on the west coast, in fact. I was sitting at home in Allendale, N.J., on the eve of a snowstorm, staring longingly into the television at the warm yet rainy skies of San Diego.

    It was the first time I’d watched the Arizona football team from somewhere other than a press box this season, and while I wished I was at the Holiday Bowl, watching it from home on the other side of the country helped me gain perspective.

    For weeks I’d been telling my east coast friends, family, and anyone would would listen about how good Arizona was this season. “”They’ve turned the corner,”” I would tell them. “”They’re for real.””

    Boy, do I look stupid.

    Nothing about this bowl game seemed right. Beating USC, finishing second in the Pacific 10 Conference, and reaching the Pacific Life Holiday Bowl felt like Christmas came early in Tucson, but after the initial euphoria wore off the entire scope of things felt uncomfortable.

    This was supposed to be Arizona’s opportunity to insert itself into the spotlight, but the Wildcats never got the chance.

    Nebraska wasn’t an opponent that jumped off the table. The Cornhuskers were, well, boring. But then defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh went from the best player in college who you’ve never heard of to the best player in college who you can’t get away from.

    After almost winning the Heisman Memorial Trophy, Suh’s superstardom made him the top storyline for Nebraska’s showdown with Arizona, and suddenly Nebraska’s middle-of-the-road team that lost 9-7 to Iowa State was as dominant as the 1985 Chicago Bears.

    Then, with Arizona already taking a backseat to Suh and the Gang, Texas Tech head coach Mike Leach got fired to end the saga of all college coaching sagas—no disrespecting Florida’s Urban Meyer, of course.

    Leach became the top story of the day. Suddenly the scripts on ESPN’s “”SportsCenter”” and “”College Football Live”” changed from an Arizona/Nebraska preview to total Leach coverage. Even commercial breaks and the halftime show during the Arizona game was focused on the swashbuckling Red Raider head coach.  

    Don’t forget about the football action on the field, either. And of course by that I mean the instant classic between Idaho and Bowling Green in the Humanitarian Bowl. It was great football—and the only competitive gridiron action of the night—but the late-game heroics extended beyond its allotted television slot, cutting the Arizona pregame show as well as the first few plays of the game.

    The first action I saw from my basement was Nebraska converting an extra point after a touchdown on the fifth play of the game.

    I don’t really think you need me to tell you what happened during the game.

    A season full of almosts and could-have-beens followed suit on Wednesday, leaving a sour taste on what was a fantastic season for Arizona football.  

    Just as it was against Washington, California, Oregon, and a trip to the Rose Bowl, it just wasn’t meant to be.

    Tim Kosch is a journalism senior. He can be reached at sports@wildcat.arizona.edu.

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