Football

Why Big 12 Fans Should be Excited for the Arizona Wildcats

NCAA Football: Alamo Bowl-Arizona at Oklahoma

The Big 12 Conference is set to shift, once again, for a second straight year, starting on July 1st. The Big 12 will lose Oklahoma and Texas, and add Arizona, Arizona State, Colorado and Utah.

As we get set to welcome in four more new schools, 12 months after adding UCF, Cincinnati, BYU and Houston, Big 12 fans should be excited about what’s to come for this league in the months ahead. As we all look to get acclimated to the conference, which will soon balloon to 16 teams, we wanted to provide Big 12 fans with a few reasons as to why they should be excited for each of our new programs, who we welcome with open arms at Heartland College Sports.

Let’s start with the Arizona Wildcats. And if you’re an Arizona fan (or any fan), please join other Big 12 fans on our free Heartland College Sports message boards!

 

Basketball Powerhouse

The Arizona Wildcats are one of the most successful programs in college basketball history.

The program came to national prominence during the tenure of former head coach Lute Olson (1983-2007), who established the program as among America’s elite in college basketball. From 1985 to 2009, the Arizona basketball team reached the NCAA Division I tournament for 25 consecutive years, tied for 3rd longest in NCAA history. The Wildcats have reached the Final Four of the NCAA tournament on four occasions (1988, 1994, 1997, and 2001). They have also made two appearances in the National Championship (won over the Kentucky Wildcats in 1997, lost to the Duke Blue Devils in 2001).

With the addition of Arizona, the Big 12 solidifies itself as the dominant college basketball conference in America. Add Arizona to Kansas, Houston, Baylor, Iowa State and the rest of this deep and loaded league and you have the makings of some epic March Madness performances. However, if there is an Achilles heel of this basketball program, it’s been their inability to match their regular season success during March.

But maybe the quality of play in the regular season will better prepare the Wildcats for the NCAA Tournament. It will be a fantastic addition for the league.

 

Football’s Sleeping Giant

We saw what Jedd Fisch could do, building this program last season to a 10-3 campaign and 7-2 finish in the Pac-12.

This program has historically underachieved, but if Brent Brennan can keep the momentum going and bring over the success he had at San Jose State, the Wildcats will have a chance to be in the thick of what will be a wide-open Big 12 football race in 2024 and beyond.

The thing about Big 12 football is that there’s not an obvious “blue blood” that will go into each season as the dominant team to beat. It could, and likely will, change on an annual basis. That’s good for every school in the conference, especially with the 12-team College Football Playoff guaranteeing at least one Playoff berth for the conference. And in some years, the Big 12 may be able to get two in, if things break right for the conference down the stretch.

Arizona can find itself in a place where it is competing near the top of the conference on an annual basis, with a chance to win the league every handful of seasons. That’s not out of the question and it will make for a much more enjoyable football experience in Tucson, and for the Big 12.

 

Party in Tucson

Arizona has often been called the Best Party School in the country, according to various outlets. And it seems like the Greek Life scene lives up to the hype and expectations. You can do more “research” on your own time.

But if your team has a late-season football game or big weekend basketball game on the road, making a long weekend out of it with some time in the sun, maybe a round or two of golf (Scottsdale to Tucson is under two hours), and some R&R sounds like a great trip for those in Iowa, Kansas, Ohio or Utah that time of year.

Arizona is going to be an outstanding addition for this conference, and the countdown is on. Bear Down.

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