Tom gets his game on, college football-style

A few things that even the vegan-est among you might like to know about this college football season:

· The University of Arizona is 2-2 after its first four games. That's only one fewer win than the UA has managed each of the past two seasons under Coach Mike Stoops. With eight games left to play this regular season, they have a chance to break that elusive three-win barrier, but only a chance. If they don't figure out how to put some points on the scoreboard, this season could turn out to be uglier than Condi Rice's prom date.

The Cat offense is so distressing, it reminds me of a joke I once heard. See, these Polish kids were playing some Italians in football down by the rail yards. A train went by and blew its whistle; all the Polish kids thought the game was over, so they went home. Three plays later, the Italians scored.

· Even the most die-hard and blinded-by-love Wildcat football fans have to be happy that Arizona is 2-2 after the first four games. After all, two of the games were against teams that won or shared national championships in the last three years (Louisiana State University and the University of Southern California).

Nobody expected them to win either of those games, and many had their doubts against Brigham Young University, a team the Cats beat on a last-second field goal.

Now, Arizona has eight games left, and they only have to win half of them to go to a bowl game for the first time since back when America had friends in the world. Unfortunately, even the most optimistic of those who went through the schedule before the season had Arizona at 7-5 max and, more realistically, 6-6. Those optimists had the Cats beating both Washington schools, Oregon State and Stanford. Alas, this week's opponent, Washington, has gotten good in a hurry, beating UCLA last Saturday and powerful Fresno State the week before.

· I have to ask: Why would a black guy go to BYU? I don't care how good the football team is; that place has a sketchy history. And it's got to be the only school in the country where none of the women will mess with you.

· Several members of the local media have anointed Arizona quarterback Willie Tuitama as "the first great quarterback in UA history." The word great is thrown around a lot, and I sincerely hope that he grows into it. He has skills, to be sure, and my son, who has a class with him, says Tuitama is a regular guy, not all bigheaded, so I wish him the best.

What I wonder about is how short of a memory these sports-media people have. I remember Jason Johnson, just a few years ago, throwing for more than 400 yards against USC. And a couple of years before that, Keith Smith carved up the Trojans in a nationally televised game from Arizona Stadium.

That latter game was on a Saturday afternoon in October, and it was one of the most uncomfortably hot days I've ever experienced. I usually sit up in the press box, but my son wanted to go, so we sat way up on the east-side addition. It was so hot that day that Tucson Water was giving away free samples of their newly formulated CAP-Real Water blend. It was the best water I've ever drank. Even the little pieces of fiber floating in it tasted good.

· The other day, while I was at the Laundromat washing stuff that my wife won't let me wash at home, I was reading an article in a copy of The Wall Street Journal that someone had left behind. Not only is that a true story; it sounds like the plot of a movie that could win at the Sundance Film Festival.

Anyway, the article was about the latest must-have item for people with way too much money to spend. Get this: luxury condos built within walking distance of one's favorite college football stadium. People are paying six figures for these things and then using them six or seven weekends out of the year. Instead of having to stay in a hotel and then fight the game-day traffic, they stay in their own condo, do the tailgate thing and then walk to the game. Some people leave the places empty except for those game weekends, while some rent them out the rest of the year. However, there's one cardinal rule: No renting to students under any circumstances.

I can see these things being built on Sixth Street near Campbell Avenue. As long as they don't disturb the Cheba Hut sandwich place, it's OK with me.

· Two football disses. Q: Why does the University of Tennessee have orange as its school color? A: That way, fans can wear the shirt to the game on Saturday, when they go hunting on Sunday, and when they're picking up trash by the freeway the rest of the week.

When someone once asked legendary Marquette basketball coach Al McGuire about what he thought of Notre Dame, he said, "A Notre Dame grad will pick his nose just to show you his class ring."


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