Was I the only one who snuck out of my room in the middle of last night to see what presents Santa Claus had left for me under the Christmas tree? Well, whether I was the only one or not, you get the point. Football season is finally here and no other season this decade has held more promise for the Wildcats then this one. So much so that the only thing I can compare this past week to is the week leading up to Christmas day as a kid. Behind every closed door might have been an unwrapped present, within every conversation may have existed a slipped tongue that reveals what gifts lie in wait, and so on. For me, a week of checking my computer every hour to get the latest news, a quick factoid, or to obtain information regarding the status of our young players gaining eligibility was done so with baited breathe. Today, the long wait is over as I awoke to the gift that is football.
From morning Kickoff Shows to tailgate parties and from tailgate parties and barbeques to tailgate parties with barbeques there is no denying that the group of people who first partook in pre-game festivities such as grilling sausages, drinking ice cold beers, singing fight songs, and getting into heated discussions over which tailback should be starting should be enshrined in some sort of hall of fame. I don't know where you'll be for tonight's game, but I'll be with friends doing most of the above. I say most because I doubt I'll break out a Dazzo rendition of Bear Down at my buddy Troy's house but you can bet your bottom dollar that if we win I'll be singing our fight song at the top of my lungs on the car drive home.
In regards to the game itself, I actually do think we are going to win and I think we're going to win big. Here's why:
Momentum, momentum, momentum…we have it and we haven't even played a single down yet. Students, alumni, the guy at the corner deli, we're all talking Arizona football. There's a buzz in the air and I'm not even talking about the buzz on campus. Last weekend I was at a Food & Beverage Convention in Los Angeles and met two UA grads, Lauren and Dave, at the Samuel Adams booth. We talked UA football for nearly three hours. After a while, I forgot why I was even there in the first place.
In a season opener with two evenly matched teams you can throw out the statistics because it's the intangibles that will play a defining role. For me, I think UA will win the turnover battle because our improved defensive speed will get to loose balls quicker than they did last year. I also think UA will win the kicking game in that we have an experienced junior college transfer handling punting responsibilities and a proven place kicker with an outstanding leg. Similarly, although BYU will score, I believe our defense will be a bit stingier this year and force more teams to settle for field goals instead of touchdowns. Finally, the momentum the crowd brings to the game and the collective positive vibe Arizona fans will telepathically infuse into our football team from the four corners of the earth should be enough to get our boys through any jitters they may have in the locker room.
I see a final score of UA 31 BYU 16. Of course I've been wrong before and if I am I'm guessing the score will be more like UA 34 BYU 10 because Uncle Mo will have reared his ugly head in the direction of the Cougars.
Bear Down, All!