A slice of bacon: What is fan old fan to do?

By Shane Bacon
Arizona Daily Wildcat
Wednesday, October 19, 2005

It isn't easy being an Arizona football fan. You know that "how the hell did we just turn the ball over again, is there a pill to make this anguish go away" sort of feeling you get deep in your gut?

It isn't depressing, it's perplexing. Can someone get Dr. Phil on the phone so we can have a group intervention?

I've started thinking maybe it was something I was doing to make this team's ability to win as questionable as Kenny Chesney's sexuality.

Am I not cheering enough? Should I have arrived at Arizona Stadium earlier so I could get a better spot in the Zoo? Is it possible that more encouragement to the players during the week might get them over the hump?

I'm in a different situation than most fans. I had the "privilege" of covering the football team in 2003.

Remember 2003? It was that year when head coach John "I might as well kick Wilbur in the nuts" Mackovic had the whistle, and Clarence "Dumb doesn't even describe it" Farmer didn't know the difference between bitching and bench pressing.

Covering that team left a spoiled-milk taste in my mouth. Not the two-month-old milk that shouldn't even be served to prisoners, but the stuff that is just a couple of days past the date.

I sit. I wait. I ponder the possibilities. I've preached to everyone I know, ministers included, about the potential of the Wildcats in 2005, and it has still left me empty-handed.

What is an old Wildcat fan to do?

Some just quit going to the games, but I have seen myself twice this year up and leave the game after an incredibly terrible play.

The grumbles have started against head coach Mike Stoops, and as much as I defend the ex-Sooner, my dad has made a good point to me. Oklahoma hasn't been the same team since its head coach's brother left to become a Wildcat. The Sooners are having a worse year than us, mostly because they are so hyped year in and year out.

We can't grumble about a coach who has had only two years to rebuild Tucson's version of Sodom and Gomorrah. It was in ruins when Stoops arrived, and he is still trying to piece it together.

Being a fan, I have been pleading for a quarterback change.

Current starting QB Richard Kovalcheck has been producing quarterback ratings just over a solid blackjack hand, while Adam Austin and Willie Tuitama collect dust on their barely used jerseys.

With the quarterback conundrum still more twisted than a six-year-old strand of Christmas lights, you have to look at what seemed to be our fall-back: What in all of religion's name has happened to our defense?

Our rushing defense is 99th in the nation, pass efficiency 68th, and the Cats are 76th overall.

When you combine that with a total offense that is 96th out of 119 teams, you just about want to rip the crimson off your Arizona T-shirt.

Want something to make you reach for your Pepcid AC? The only team ranking we have to be proud of is punting, in which we lead the nation at 42 yards a kick.

Punting? We rule schools in the part of the game where we kick the ball to their teams because our offense is doing a bad job of bullfighting?

I've been a fan four years, and I'll be bragging for the next 20 about how we can punt.

Shane Bacon is a journalism senior. He can be reached at sports@wildcat.arizona.edu.