On the day we say goodbye to the best football and basketball schedules known to conferences of all-time, we say hello to the Pac-12. Utah Utes and Colorado Buffaloes, you better make this worthwhile. Don't embarrass us. Just kidding, sort of.
OK I'm a little bitter about the loss of a round-robin format that Arizona Wildcats' coach Sean Miller cited in his first year in Tucson for making the league the best in the country. I, too, thought it was pretty awesome. But times change and we must move on. This feels like when Facebook and Twitter change their user format; awkward at first but eventually, you get the feel for it and take advantage of its new features.
Being 22 years old and only vividly remembering about the past 10 years of those, I'm not the biggest expert on the history of all players Pac-10. With football the first big sport to start a new era, here's Pac-12 blogger Ted Miller's list of All-Time Pac-10 football players from Arizona during a reign that began in 1978, when UA and ASU joined what was previously the Pac-8 (like Noah, I guess we do things in twos).
Here's Arizona's best of the Pac-10:
Oh right. Since the beginning of history, Arizona has never had a good offense. To supplement the lack of, uh, anything in this list, I guess I'm forced to make my own list. Again, please realize this is probably only the best of the last decade coupled with whatever obvious statistics are in the record books. If any of you have better suggestions, please let me know:
RB Trung Candidate (1996-99): He only piled up the records for most yards in a game (288), season (1,602) and a career (3,824).
RB Ontiwaun Carter
RB Mike Bell: Best Mike Bell moment? Bouncing outside and pointing to the UA fans in his senior year against ASU.
WR Bobby Wade: He leads the Wildcats in career reception yards. At a diminutive size, any ball thrown Wade's way was going to be caught. He was the only good thing going in the downturn of Arizona's program.
WR Mike Thomas
WR Dennis Northcutt
QB Willie Tuitama: I give Tui credit for being the program-changing quarterback that everyone thought he'd be at Arizona. Sure, the Buffalo Wildwings' rumors didn't help, nor did people constantly calling for his head whenever he'd make a mistake. Honestly, I wish Nick Foles would have a little more Tui (see, cajones) in him.
QB Tom Tunnicliffe
TE Rob Gronkowski: Duh.
OL Eben Britton
Defense (via Ted Miller this time)
DT Rob Waldrop, Arizona (1993): Outland and Bronko Nagurski winner. UPI lineman of the Year. Two-time consensus All-American. College Football Hall of Fame.
DE Tedy Bruschi, Arizona (1995): Two-time consensus All-American. Three-time first-team All-Pac-10. Morris Trophy winner.
LB Ricky Hundley, Arizona (1983): Two-time consensus All-American. Three-time first-team All-Pac-10. College Football Hall of Fame.
CB Antoine Cason, Arizona (2007): Thorpe Award winner. Consensus All-American. Two-time first-team All-Pac-10.
Left off this list who deserve mention for their Wildcat careers are Chris McAlister, Antonio Pierce and Lance Briggs.