UA football will open with Penn State
The rumors of the Arizona football team starting its 1999 season against Penn State came true last week as the Wildcats were selected to play the Nittany Lions in the Pigskin Classic in State College, Pa., Aug. 28.
"This is the kind of game that will help our team," UA head coach Dick Tomey said. "You schedule tough non-conference games to help you get ready for conference play, and this game will do that for us."
Penn State finished last year 9-3 and ranked 17th in the final AP poll. The Nittany Lions will return 42 of their top 48 players and 17 starters total.
Arizona finished 12-1 and ranked No. 4, and will return a total of 16 starters.
The game will be televised on ABC and marks the first time for Arizona to play in a traditional preseason game.
1999 Arizona football schedule
Date Opponent Time (tentative)
Aug. 28 at Penn State(ABC) 1 p.m. EDT
Sept. 4 at Texas Christian 6 p.m. CDT
Sept. 11 Middle Tennessee 7 p.m. MST
Sept. 18 Stanford 7 p.m. MST
Sept. 25 at Washington St. 2 p.m. PDT
Oct. 2 Bye week
Oct. 9 Southern Cal 7 p.m. MST
Oct. 16 Texas-El Paso 7 p.m. MST
Oct. 23 Oregon 7 p.m. MST
Oct. 30 at UCLA 12:30 p.m. PDT
Nov. 6 Washington 7 p.m. MST
Nov. 13 at Oregon State 1 p.m. PST
Nov. 26 at Arizona State 4:30 p.m. MST
Following the Penn State matchup Arizona will travel to face Texas Christian, which ended its 1998 campaign 7-5 after upsetting Southern Cal in the Sun Bowl 28-19.
"We've got two Bowl Championship Series teams to play in the first two games, so this is a tougher start than we've had in a long time," Tomey said.
Arizona's other non-conference games are against lightly-regarded UTEP and Middle Tennessee State, but Tomey said scheduling Penn State was not to impress the BCS, nor to improve UA's strength of schedule.
"It has nothing to do with that," he said. "Absolutely nothing."
Tomey said Camp Cochise, the team's preseason practice series, will not be affected other than it will probably start "a couple" days earlier.
With next season's schedule set, Tomey and his staff will return to the recruiting wars, with national signing day coming Feb. 3. Arizona has received a total of 17 verbal commitments so far, but those commitments are non-binding.
Chris Jackson can be reached at Chris.Jackson@wildcat.arizona.edu.