There’s two FBS schools in Arizona: Arizona State
University and University of Arizona. Both have been
around since before 1900 and both sport excellent academic
opportunities, but there’s another thing these schools
have in common.
The number zero.
Combined these schools have zero national championships in
Arizona has seen plenty of success in basketball,
producing plenty of NBA talent and winning the title back
in 1997. Arizona State has won five titles in baseball,
and just last year ASU’s softball team won a title and had
two national champions at wrestling.
So what’s the deal with football?
ESPN Insider Mark May, who resides in Arizona, can’t
understand why these teams aren’t in a better position.
“When I look at Arizona and Arizona State I think they’re
hidden gems,” May said on Arizona Sports 620’s Burns and
Gambo. “It’s a head scratcher, nationally we sit around
and talk about why these two schools can’t win.”
This season was supposed to be the year Arizona State
broke out of mediocrity. It started out well, then these
past two weeks came and the Sun Devils lost to UCLA and
Washington State. The team could still win the Pac-12
South, but at this point it’ll probably be by default.
Over in Tucson the Wildcats season has been, well,
forgettable. The team has only beaten one FBS opponent in
the last 14 tries and is currently looking for a new head
coach after firing Mike Stoops.
May believes the tides are in favor of the Arizona teams,
and the key for the Wildcats and Sun Devils is to think
“If you’ve got somebody that can put the money up and go
recruit nationally, especially in the east, and bring
those kids out on a recruiting trips in December you’re
going to steal a couple of those kids,” May said. “All you
need is a handful of those kids and then you build a
pipeline, that’s what Frank Kush was able to do.”
Another factor in both teams’ favor is the current NCAA
infractions USC is under, which takes away scholarships
from the Trojans.
“There’s no excuse that you can’t go get those kids,” May
said about recruits in California. “You should have great
facilities here and have the money and the fan support to
The weather is another thing that should benefit both
schools recruiting efforts.
“You’ve got perfect weather, that’s number one,” May said.
“If you’re a young college kid and you can go some place
that has great weather, great opportunity and great
facilities there is no excuse not to win.”
So with almost everything favoring Arizona State and the
University of Arizona, what’s each school’s excuse for not
winning on the gridiron?
With U of A throwing around names like Urban Meyer and
Chris Peterson as their possible new head coach and
Arizona State probably making a coaching change within the
next two seasons, the coming years will tell if these
programs will ever step into the national spotlight and be
seen as the teams they can be.