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Arizona football: Five reasons to be excited (including one really big one)

CREDIT: Arizona Athletics
CAPTION: Wilbur plays NCAA Football 12 on the video board against Nathan Hughes, who won a Twitter contest from athletic director Greg Byrne.

I was driving south through campus the other day … and there it was.

The biggest, brightest, most wonderful TV I’d ever seen. Love at first sight.

The athletic department was testing out its new 5,356-square foot video board at Arizona Stadium, showing footage of the team’s final fall scrimmage. Running back Daniel Jenkins had just twisted his left ankle and had crumpled to the turf in magnificent HD.

Jenkins is doubtful for Saturday’s scoreboard debut — otherwise known as the season-opener vs. NAU — because of that sprained ankle. That will delay his hopes of galloping into the end zone and then staring up to watch just how brilliant he looked doing it.

“I try to focus on the game, but that thing goes sideline to sideline. It’s going to be hard not to look,” Jenkins said.

“That video board is wild. I think it’s going to bring a great environment to our fans. I’m excited to see how our fans react to it, and the Zona Zoo. I’m excited, man. I’m excited.”

Senior safety Robert Golden tweeted after seeing the board in action: “This thing soooooo clear in person… After a big play saturday, yall might see the #Goldenshuffle”

KVOA-4 Sports Director Ryan Recker tweeted that senior cornerback Trevin Wade told him that one of the mottos in the secondary is, “Don’t get beat or you’ll be in HD”.

A couple of things about the board:

– It is not the largest in the Pac-12, as is sometimes reported. USC is also debuting a new board, spanning 6,000 square feet, on Saturday at Los Angeles Coliseum. But Arizona’s mega-board is still one of the biggest in college football, and rates, according to ever-reliable wikipedia, as the second-largest in an on-campus facility. That would behind Texas, which just has to have the biggest.

– Athletic director Greg Byrne jokes that “I think everybody but the officials will think it’s a heck of a thing,” but, according to Pac-12 rules, teams can show a replay only once. Mike Stoops better not miss his chance to look at those questionable calls before he turns his evil glare to the refs.

OK, so other than the scoreboard, what is there to look forward to?

2. The September home schedule — Stoops has defeated a ranked opponent in each of his first seven seasons. Games against preseason Top 10 Stanford and Oregon are opportunities as well as obstacles.

3. The rest of the Pac-12 South is relatively lousy — Could a 6-3 record with the right combination of victories win the division?

4. A record-setting passing attack — Remember when Arizona fans hated winning by scores like 10-7? That they complained 20 times a game about “Mike Streidnig up the middle?” Now, you hear, “Why do we run that screen pass 30 times a game?”

5. The possibility of snow in Boulder on Nov. 12 — As long as you don’t have to be in it, it would make Arizona’s first conference journey to Boulder that much better. (I can hear echoes of Dick Tomey exhorting his 1988 team in Seattle, “The harder it rains, the better we play!”)

EDITOR’S NOTE: This is the 18th installment of our 24 Hours of Arizona Football Blogging — one post at the top of every hour. Keep checking back at TucsonCitizen.com through Friday at 11 a.m. or follow the entire series with the “24 hours of blogging” tag.

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