We are just 26 days away from the start of Rich Rodriguez's fourth season as the head coach of the Arizona Wildcats.
26 is also the number of wins Rich Rod has accumulated in Tucson so far. From the crazy New Mexico Bowl comeback, the upsets of Oregon in consecutive seasons, the "Hill Mary", the Territorial Cup victory to clinch the Pac-12 South, and 21 other wins, there has been no shortage of excitement in the Rich Rod era.
In his first three years, Rich Rod is 26-14 with 8-5 seasons in 2012 and 2013, and a 10-4 season in 2014.
While that's not an "elite" record, so to speak, it marks a significant improvement for Arizona's football program.
Before his arrival, Arizona struggled to just reach the 8-win mark, doing so just twice from 1999-2011. They failed to even appear in a bowl game from 1999-2007. Mike Stoops was able to get the Wildcats to a bowl game in 2008, and back to a level of respectability after the program became a dumpster fire during the John Mackovic years, but he failed to move the needle past that.
Rich Rodriguez, on the other hand, has not had that issue.
In three years, he has successfully made Arizona a national name on the college football landscape. He has led the team to a winning season in all three years, two bowl game wins, an appearance in a New Year's Six bowl game, a top-10 ranking, and a Pac-12 South Championship.
And he's just getting started.
Rich Rod has not even been in Tucson long enough to truly make the program his own. In his first couple seasons -- and somewhat in his third season -- he was using leftover players from the Stoops era. He has also never once had the luxury of having the same quarterback for consecutive years.
Yet, he has masterfully worked with what he was given. His patented fast-paced spread offense, the 3-3-5 defense, and relentlessness gave Arizona football a unique identity it desperately needed.
Hard Edge Football.
Now, armed with a sophomore quarterback on a record-setting pace, the second-best player in the country, improved recruiting classes, and his own players, the sky is the limit for Rich Rodriguez and the Arizona Wildcats moving forward.