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Saturday, October 25, 2014 | Last updated: 3:11am

Confused at the game? A guide to understanding football



Let’s be honest, you don’t care about Arizona football.

If you did, football games wouldn’t fall thousands of fans short of a sellout every week. But that’s fine. Arizona hasn’t been great at football since the 90’s.

Football games are a social event here. Always have been, always will be. They’re a reason for college students to get drunk on a Saturday afternoon.

At the same time, I don’t sit in the Zona Zoo anymore. I’m up in the cozy, air conditioned indoor press box. We get mediocre cold cuts at the outset of games and chocolate chip cookies at halftime.

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Larry Hogan / Arizona Daily Wildcat

I don’t have to worry about halftime hangovers because — stop the presses — I don’t drink any alcohol on game day (game ‘night’ is different).

But I still sat in Zona Zoo for three years.

I know there are legions of Arizona ‘fans’ that really don’t know much about football, and they are idiots.

Just kidding.

You don’t have to know everything about football, but you should know enough to look like you know about football.

Don’t be that guy or girl who yells that the quarterback should be benched for the backup when he throws an incomplete pass, only to turn around and jump for joy when he throws a touchdown.
Some of you might not even know what the heck I just said.

If you can just sound like you know the basics of the sport, though, you will be all the better for it.
I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t attracted to a girl who knows her football. I also like blondes in case you’re wondering.

-A touchdown is six points, and when a team scores it has the option of kicking for one point, or running a play for two points. A field goal is worth three points, and takes place when a player kicks the ball through the uprights (the big yellow things at the back of each end zone).

- Each team gets four chances to gain 10 yards and get a “first down”, which resets the set of four downs. The team can do this until it scores or gives the ball up to the other team.

- There are four quarters. That long wait after the second quarter? That’s halftime.

- When a referee throws a yellow flag onto the field, that means there was a penalty. Wait until they say what team the penalty was on before you act upset, and especially before you start cheering.

- Arizona was very bad at football last year. Like, really bad. It only won four games.

- Arizona is a lot better at football this year, but still not great.

- Rich Rodriguez is the new head coach, and Arizona has one of the best offenses in the Pac-12, which is the conference Arizona plays in alongside teams like UCLA, USC, Washington and Colorado (this weekend’s opponent).

- Arizona has one of the worst defenses in the country. If you say something like “The Wildcats couldn’t tackle their way out of a paper bag,” you might get a laugh or two.

- Names to know: running back Ka’Deem Carey, receiver Austin Hill and quarterback Matt Scott. They are on offense, meaning they are on the field when Arizona has the ball.

- Scott (No. 10) likely won’t be playing on Saturday against Colorado. B.J. Denker (No. 7) will be the quarterback. Fun fact: his nickname is Vanilla Vick because he’s fast and a lefty like Michael Vick. Michael Vick is a quarterback for the Philadelphia Eagles in the NFL. The Vanilla is because he’s white.

That’s not everything you need to know, but it should be enough to help you avoid sounding like a jackass.

Follow us on Twitter @wildcatarts.


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