Yesterday, University of Arizona football officially announced a home and home series with Alabama starting in Tuscaloosa in 2032 and continuing in Tucson in 2033.
Most of the reaction was either "Good god that's going to be ugly" or "2032 is so far into the future maybe UofA's robotics program will be more competitive than their football team" or some variation.
Here's what every Arizona fan's reactions should've been: "Thank you".
I would rather see Arizona football get slaughtered 77-0 by Alabama in the year 2032 than watch another second of Arizona losing to a team like Hawaii.
There is nothing to be gained for a struggling program by scheduling inferior conference teams year in and year out. Win and no one cares. Lose and its a massive embarrassment.
Did you know from 2000-2010 Arizona football played ten total non-conference games against what we now call Power 5 schools? Ohio State, TCU, Wisconsin twice, Purdue twice, LSU twice and Iowa twice.
They went 2-8 in those games, some of them outright blowouts.
From 2011until last season, Arizona played three games against Power 5 schools: Oklahoma State twice and Texas Tech.
They were 2-1. But also during that time they played and lost to New Mexico, BYU twice, Houston twice and Hawaii.
The program today is a far cry from where it was under Mike Stoops or even early Rich Rodriguez.
Arizona isn't going to build its program by scheduling what they think are winnable games because they usually aren't good enough to win them. They are going to get better by iron sharpening lead, or something like that.
Want more proof? Look at ASU. Herm Edwards has lost to San Diego State, Fresno State, Oregon State and bad UCLA and Colorado teams. But all anyone remembers is they swept Michigan State the last two years. Right now, Arizona State football is probably in the best position they've ever been in, which wouldn't have been possible if Michigan State wasn't on their schedule.
The good news is help is on the way for the Wildcats. From 2022-2033, Arizona football has games scheduled against Mississippi State, Kansas State, Virginia Tech, Nebraska and Alabama.
They have open dates from 2024-2026 and 2028-2033 and should be looking to add the biggest names in the biggest conferences they can.
Arizona can't shed its label as the team that has never won the Rose Bowl until they actually win the Rose Bowl. In the meantime, they should proudly become the program known for scheduling the toughest non-conference schedule in the Power 5 conferences every single year.
Take your lumps and build a program. It's the best path Arizona has left to one day smell the roses.
Or at least have the robots smell them for us.