Coming off a huge win at home against a top 10—at the time No. 9—Iowa Hawkeyes 34-27, Mike Stoops and Tucson crazed fans were going bonkers thinking of a possible nine-win season.
The past three seasons have ended on fairly tough notes, as they have come up short three years in a row from winning a possible ninth game. Last year, they were smoked in the Alamo Bowl despite out-gaining Oklahoma State 370-312.
They got crushed in the turnover battle at minus-four and eventually lost the game 36-10. The previous year they were obliterated worse in a loss to Nebraska, as they were pummeled 33-0! They did, however, defeat BYU in the Las Vegas Bowl 31-21 to finish 8-5, but they came up short of reaching that nine-win plateau.
What is so important about that nine, or dare I say, ten-win season? Although most experts look for a seven-win squad to turn their next season around and reach a possible New Year’s Day Bowl, the 9-to-10 win plateau is often used as a springboard towards amazing future success.
Before you take one huge leap, you must learn to take an average-sized leap first.
The magical thing about success is consistency. Unless the next Cam Newton is walking through the door, you must win eight or nine before you even sniff a 10-win season. Also, AZ has not won 10 or more games since Dick Tomey was the coach in 1998 (12-1).
Trung Candidate and Chris McAlister were the stars of the team, and it just happened to be the very first year of the Bowl Championship Series, which just goes to show you how long it has been since the ‘Cats have been nationally recognized.