The University of Arizona is known as a basketball school, and for good reason.
Sean Miller’s program — and before that, Lute Olson’s — is one of the best in the West Coast, and is a perennial Pac-12 and NCAA tournament contender.
Things are not quite the same for football.
Head coach Rich Rodriguez is about to enter his sixth season in Tucson, and it’s a big one as the team in 2016 finished 3-9, with a 1-8 record in the Pac-12.
The hope is for a bounceback campaign, and with a little more luck in the injury department, it may very well happen.
But even if Arizona takes a step or two forward, the Wildcats have fallen pretty far from the Pac-12 South championship season they had in 2014, which is only part of the reason why when ranking the Power 5 coaching jobs, Travis Haney of 247sports.com put UA’s 42nd.
Industry sources have been down on Zona in recent years, noting Rich Rodriguez’s desire to move on as an illustration. They’re only going to dislike the job even more now that affable, effective AD Greg Byrne is on his way to Alabama.
Those sources feel that it’s very difficult to remain consistently competitive in the Pac-12 South.
“It’s not a fair fight, not with what those (Los Angeles) schools have,” one of the sources said.
In reality, Arizona isn’t any worse positioned than Colorado; Colorado just happens to be on the uptick while Arizona is coming back down after Rodriguez won the division in 2014.
Rodriguez explored leaving Arizona for South Carolina following the 2015 season, but decided to remain in Tucson in part because of his relationship with Byrne. The athletic director accept a job with Alabama last month, however, and Arizona has yet to name a permanent replacement.