In the 50 days leading up to Arizona’s season-opener against Toledo, on Sept. 1 at Arizona Stadium, TucsonCitizen.com and its affiliate WildAboutAZCats.net will rank the Top 50 games in the history of the football program. The ranking is at No. 2 as the kickoff to the Wildcats’ season — and the start of the Rich Rodriguez era — is only two days away.
SCORE: No. 12 Arizona Wildcats 16, No. 1 Washington Huskies 3
DATE: November 7, 1992
SITE: Arizona Stadium, 58,510 in attendance
WHY IT MADE THE LIST: The definitive voice of college football broadcasts — Keith Jackson — punctuated the ABC-TV telecast of Arizona’s dominating 1992 win over No. 1 Washington this way:
“And now you know why they play the games …”
But was the one-sided victory really an upset?
“I don’t think it was an upset,” Arizona coach Dick Tomey said after the game. “We expected to win.”
Another translation to Jackson’s comment: Washington had to play Arizona to realize how suffocating the Desert Swarm defense — a phenomenon in college football at the time — can be to an opponent’s offense. Considering Arizona’s four-game winning streak entering the game after a near-upset of No. 1 Miami on the road, and the way the Wildcats shut down the Huskies, was anybody surprised the UA won?
Washington was ranked No. 1 with an incredible 22-game winning streak, but anybody who followed college football closely that season knew Arizona belonged on the same field. The Desert Swarm was No. 1 in the nation against the run and No. 4 overall.
“I’ve never been more confident going into a game,” Tomey said.
This statement coming from a coach whose team less than two months earlier tied an Oregon State club that finished 1-9-1. Washington beat its first eight opponents in 1992 by an average margin of 20.1 points. The Huskies annihilated the Wildcats 54-0 the previous season in Seattle. Still, the Wildcats believed they were the better team and who could argue?