Arizona Football: What a Win in the New Mexico Bowl Would Mean for Wildcats

Tom Greenhalgh@@Tom_GreenhalghContributor IIIDecember 14, 2012

October 6, 2012; Stanford, CA, USA; Arizona Wildcats head coach Rich Rodriguez watches action from the sideline against the Stanford Cardinal in the third quarter at Stanford Stadium. The Cardinal defeated the Wildcats 54-48. Mandatory Credit: Cary Edmondson-USA TODAY Sports
Cary Edmondson-USA TODAY Sports

Bowl games have been unkind to the Arizona Wildcats.

In 16 bowl game appearances, the UA has come away with just six wins (6-9-1).

Most recently, in December 2010, the 'Cats were embarrassed by Oklahoma State, 36-10, in the Alamo Bowl. Before that came a 33-0 trouncing at the hands of Nebraska in the 2009 Holiday Bowl.

If Arizona is able to reverse its fortunes Saturday in the 2012 New Mexico Bowl, it would mean much more than just snapping a two-game bowl losing streak and inching its overall postseason mark closer to respectability.

It would mark one of the best years the program has seen in two decades.

With the exception of the best season in Wildcats history—1998, in which the 'Cats finished 12-1—no UA team has won more than eight games in a single season since 1993.

Further, of the three eight-win teams since 1993, only one won a bowl game. The 2008 team, which finished 8-5, defeated BYU in the Las Vegas Bowl.

So, what's at stake for Arizona in the New Mexico Bowl? Capping what would be Arizona's second-best season in nearly 20 years. 

Arizona's athletic director, Greg Byrne, hired Rich Rodriguez to put the Wildcats back on the map. 

While a win in the New Mexico Bowl won't propel the Wildcats to national relevance, it would do a heck of a lot for a program that's long been mired in mediocrity.

And, perhaps more importantly, it would signal that new heights can be reached under RichRod's watch. Perhaps heights that haven't been seen before or after 1998.

Related

    Ole Miss AD Believes NCAA Appeal Ruling Could Come ‘Any Week Now’

    College Football logo
    College Football

    Ole Miss AD Believes NCAA Appeal Ruling Could Come ‘Any Week Now’

    Jake Rill
    via Saturday Down South

    Arizona Wildcats in the NFL: Dane Cruikshank named AFC Special Teams Player of Week

    Arizona Wildcats Football logo
    Arizona Wildcats Football

    Arizona Wildcats in the NFL: Dane Cruikshank named AFC Special Teams Player of Week

    Arizona Desert Swarm
    via Arizona Desert Swarm

    Taggart Takes Hands-On Approach After Awful Start

    College Football logo
    College Football

    Taggart Takes Hands-On Approach After Awful Start

    Rivals
    via Rivals

    UCF Suspends LB After Arrest on Sexual Assault Charge

    College Football logo
    College Football

    UCF Suspends LB After Arrest on Sexual Assault Charge

    Adam Wells
    via Bleacher Report