Editor's Note: ESPN Insider has teamed with Blue Ribbon College Football Yearbook to provide a comprehensive look at all Division I-A teams. To order the complete 2008 edition of Blue Ribbon College Football Yearbook, visit www.blueribbonyearbook.com or call 1-866-805-BALL (2255).
(All information as of June 20, 2008)
COACH AND PROGRAM
It can be argued that before Mike Stoops arrived in Tucson that Arizona was nothing less than the worst BCS conference program in the country. The Wildcats had won six conference games in the four seasons before Stoops left his older brother, Bob, at Oklahoma to tackle a ground-up rebuilding project. This wasn't the kind of situation where Stoops could sign three or four JUCO prospects and compete for a bowl bid overnight.
After back-to-back three-win seasons in 2004 and 2005, Arizona finished Stoops' third season at 6-6 and was more or less jobbed out of a bowl invitation. And then came last year, the season that was supposed to produce the finished result of the four-year reclamation project.
And on paper, Arizona appeared more than ready to compete against any team in the Pac-10 outside perhaps USC. Blue Ribbon predicted a third-place finish for the Wildcats and expectations, to say the least, were lofty in Tucson.