10. ASU Paints Own “A” Green to Motivate Themselves Against Oregon
9. RichRod Hires Jeff Casteel as Defensive Coordinator
8. Arizona Defeats Oklahoma State
7. Arizona Defeats the Mighty Trojans
6. Arizona Acquires Two Veteran Point Guard Transfers
And now, the moment you have been waiting for: the Top 5 Moments of the Arizona Wildcats in 2012 (according to one fan):
5. Arizona Defeats Arizona State in Bottom of the Ninth to take Pac-12 Championship
Such was the headline throughout the Arizona baseball season–when the game was on the line, Arizona’s bats simply got it done. Johnny Field’s rip over the third baseman’s head in the bottom of the ninth to send home the winning run was not the only walk off hit the Wildcats had pulled off. Earlier in the season, there was also the memorable 1-0 win against ASU in the bottom of the ninth when Robert Refsnyder ignored the base coach’s sign to stay put at third and sprinted for home instead. Not to mention the equally memorable four run comeback in the bottom of the ninth to knock off then #2 Stanford. Those games get honorable mentions, but this one gets the icing on the cake considering the award for the win was a Pac-12 Championship (Arizona would not have been champs with a loss). And that the opponent was ASU.
4. Arizona Goes 12-0 in Non-conference Schedule with Victory in the Diamond Head Classic Championship
If Derrick Williams’ block against Washington was the Block of 2011, Nick Johnson’s block against San Diego State was the Block of 2012, sealing the Diamond Head Classic Championship in Hawaii and a 12-0 record for Arizona going into the Pac-12 season. Wildcats basketball is back and better than ever. Barring an utter collapse during the Pac-12 season, Arizona’s undefeated record in the non-conference has earned them a spot in the NCAA Tournament, with quality wins over Southern Miss, Florida, Miami and San Diego State (all are currently top 50 RPI wins).
3. Ka’Deem Carey Carries the Ball All Over the Place
Consensus All-American , Heisman Trophy Candidate and holder of Arizona’s single game rushing record (just to name a few of the honors he has received), Ka’Deem Carey earns Zona Zealots’ Player of the Year Award. He is also currently the leading rusher in the nation and, barring outstanding performances by a few players that still have a bowl game to play, is in good shape to stay on top. The scariest thing of all this: the dude is only a sophomore.
2. 12.15.12 #BearDown
I could have split these two games up and both of them would have easily still made the top 10, but it was the unfolding of events throughout the entire day that made December 15, 2012 special for Arizona Wildcat fans everywhere. No other school can claim one point victories in the final seconds of critical games that they shouldn’t have won in two different sports on the same day. It is a day that every fan will remember in their own special way.
1. Arizona Wildcats: National Champions
Though 12.15.12 probably makes it as #1 on other fans’ lists, nothing–at least to me–beats a National Championship in football, basketball or baseball. And it wasn’t just winning the Championship, but the entire story of getting there that made Arizona Baseball special this year. The move to Hi-Corbett reignited Tucson’s passion for college baseball and reinvigorated my own childhood memories of watching baseball in the sun, eating sun flower seeds and waiting for a foul ball to land in my glove (though, instead of a glove my left hand is now usually holding an iced cold beer, courtesy of Hi-Corbett’s ability to serve it). The large size of Hi-Corbett was not very friendly to home runs, but considering that its dimensions are similar to the dimensions of the field where the College World Series is played, prepared the Wildcats for success in Omaha; instead of going for bombs–which often ended up as easy pop-ups–like players from other teams, Arizona settled for solid and successful base hitting (before the season ended, there was talk of moving the Hi-Corbett fences in. After winning the CWS, however, those talks abruptly halted). With the best offense in the country and a will to win in the clutch, Arizona was the most exciting team to watch in the country. They were so hot in the playoffs that they did not lose a single game.