Arizona Wildcat Football on a December afternoon? Don’t mind if I do.
Selection Sunday Summary
Arizona’s dream of playing in one of the Texas bowls likely ended when the Phoenix-based Cactus Bowl selected Arizona State. That dropped Cal into the at-large pool and there was no way the Armed Forces Bowl was going to pass on a 7-5 team to take a 6-6 squad. The Heart of Dallas Bowl then chose Washington over the UA (not a surprise considering how the two teams finished the season) and Arizona dropped to the New Mexico Bowl. So if a return trip to Albuquerque doesn’t excite you, blame the Sun Devils.
But, hey, at least the Cats aren’t playing a conference foe.
ASU’s opponent in the aforementioned Cactus Bowl is none other than Rich Rodriguez’s alma mater and former employer, West Virginia. If you haven’t heard, the Mountaineers don’t like RichRod so much anymore. So Arizona was one win away from getting into that bowl and literally setting the state of West Virginia on fire.
The Arizona / New Mexico football rivalry dates back 107 years. You can read the full story of the now-retired Kit Carson Rifle here.
(My old site does not date back 107 years, even if it looks like it.)
Arizona and New Mexico used to play for this: Kit Carson's rifle pic.twitter.com/gzxC9rcfNU
— AZ Desert Swarm (@azdesertswarm) December 7, 2015
The Lobos are making their first bowl appearance since 2007. UNM fans hate Arizona thanks to Lute Olson. This will be a hostile environment for the Wildcats. It doesn’t help that Vegas has already established the Cats as the second-largest favorites in the 40 bowl games.
You all know what happened the last time Arizona visited ABQ. The football win over Nevada and the hoops victory over Florida on the same day will be forever known (by me anyway) as the Comeback-to-Back. It was a day so good they made t-shirts.
The greatest memories were made by the fortunate fans who were able to attend both events. Rushed the field in Albuquerque, hopped on a plane and made it to McKale in time for tipoff. Sadly, that won’t be happening this year.
Yes, there’s a basketball game that night, as the Wildcats host UNLV at 7:30 p.m. on the 19th but unless you own your own plane you’re not going to get there. Southwest Airlines discontinued its ABQ-TUS direct flights so the fastest flights are on American through Phoenix. If you have tickets to the basketball game you’ll have to leave the football game early to catch a 3:30 p.m. flight. If you want to be sure to see the end of the football game you’ll have to watch the basketball game on TV or else it’ll be over before you land.
The games may still end up being t-shirt-worthy, but you’ll have to choose to attend one or the other.
(Be sure to say hi to the guy in the red hat watching the hoops game at the Albuquerque airport bar.)
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