B y T o m D a n e h y
QUESTIONS I NEED answers to...LIKE RIGHT NOW!!
1. OK, where are all those people who've bitched over the years because the UA football team didn't pass the ball enough?
Over the past few years, while Arizona was compiling the best conference record in the Pac-10, a vocal group of fans decried the Cat offense as being boring and predictable. Run Ontiwaun Carter to the right, to the left and then up the middle. Throw the ball like there was a tariff placed on each attempt. Grind away with a boring offense and have your stellar defense keep you in the game.
Well, all that did was give Arizona a three-year mark of 24-11-1, including back-to-back 6-2 Pac-10 records, good for second place in the league two years in a row. Obviously second place carries a certain frustration, but it's way better than eighth, where the Cats currently reside.
From 1992 to '94, the Cats beat every team in the Pac-10 at least once. They muscled their way into the national consciousness, not by passing (nor, for that matter, by running the ball), but rather by crushing the life out of the opposition with a defense that made football purists want to cry with joy.
Arizona didn't miss out on the Rose Bowl in 1993 because they couldn't pass the ball. They missed out because they played one horrible half against Cal. Same for last year. One awful pass-interference call against Mike Scurlock in the Oregon game cost the Cats a trip to Pasadena. That's the way things go. Football can drive you crazy.
Last year's team had a turnover margin of plus-one, a statistic that borders on the bizarre for a defensive team that was as dominating as that one was. If the Cats had a decent turnover margin (maybe two-to-one) they could have challenged for the national championship. It will forever be a mystery.
What's not a mystery is that the Cats are losing this year because the turnover margin is going against them in a big way. They coughed the ball up five times the other night against Washington and that led to two quick TDs, which just happened to be the margin of victory.
A look at the stats from the game gives one the impression Arizona was in it. The Cats ran more offensive plays, had more yards through the air, averaged nearly one more yard per offensive play than the Huskies, had more return yards and outgained Washington by more than 100 yards. Yet the game was never in doubt because of the turnovers.
As for the people who've been crying for more passing, well, you're getting your way. Arizona threw 51 passes the other night against Washington in a game that was close until it started. The Cats are averaging 35 passes per game and currently stand at 3-4, headed down. Last year Arizona averaged only 27 passes per game and finished 8-4. The year before that, they averaged only 20 passes per game, went 10-2, beat the living shit out of Miami in the Fiesta Bowl and finished the year in the Top 10.
All you passing fans (in both senses of the phrase) out there, I hope you're happy.
2. What's the deal with the Pueblo High mascot furor?
Some of you may have seen it on TV last week; a group of Pueblo High students marched from their school all the way over to the TUSD offices near the UA to protest a district decision to change the school's mascot from Warriors to something else. The student body is scheduled to vote on a new one soon.
It seems that a few Native Americans are upset with the term Warrior, claiming it carries a negative stereotype of indigenous people.
I've long been on record that some such mascots are degrading and should be changed. The Cleveland Indians' mascot is absolutely scandalous and the feeble defenses offered for keeping it heap shame on those who bring them forth.
Stanford University saw fit to dump the name "Indians" nearly a quarter-century ago and several other schools have followed suit. But then it gets tricky. A few Native Americans complained about Florida State being called the Seminoles and demanded a change. But then the Seminole tribe spoke up and basically said, "Mind your own damned bidness." (Even the natives speak that way down there.) The tribe went so far as to pass a resolution showing their collective pleasure and pride with being associated with Florida State, although no one is quite sure how much FSU's national ranking has to do with that.
Likewise, several Indian schools around the country use the names "Warriors" or "Braves" and wouldn't think of changing them.
As for Pueblo, it's been Warriors since the school opened. No one has complained until now, which doesn't make it right, but does carry with it a stink of political correctness. I mean, if they were called Papagos (a decidedly non-Warrior people) or something, I could understand it. But Warrior seems rather generic.
Furthermore, the mascot looks Aztec or Mayan, of which there are few, if any, in Tucson. I'm not really sure who complained about the mascot, but I have to wonder whether they were truly offended or acting out of some political agenda.
You can probably find somebody somewhere who'd be offended by just about anything. I probably have a relative someplace who doesn't like Notre Dame being called the Fighting Irish. It's tricky trying to balance the wishes of the majority with the sensitivities of the minority. Somebody's always going to be disappointed. In this case, I hope it's not those kids who want to keep their mascot.
Fight on, Warriors.
3. Why can't USC beat Notre Dame, even a really crappy Notre Dame team like the one they have this year's?
Answer: Because they're Fighting Irish, that's why.
4. Why are all the national magazines dissing the UA basketball team, picking them to finish no higher than third?
I have an answer for that, but I'm out of room. Another time, perhaps...
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