The Arizona Wildcats won't play their first game for another six weeks. But they're already winners at the box office.
The UA has sold 23,537 season tickets for this fall, 353 more than were purchased all last season, according to figures obtained by the Star.
The Wildcats' ambitious home slate and growing excitement for the upcoming season are two reasons for the spike, said James Francis, the UA's associate athletic director in charge of ticketing.
"Iowa, USC and Arizona State make for a really attractive home schedule," Francis said. "I would hope and think, too, that when you look at back-to-back eight-win seasons, back-to-back bowl games … overall, those are two good years.
"Hopefully, people are excited and buying into the program."
With season ticket sales on the increase, the UA will now turn its attention to partial-season and single-game sales.
Three-game "flex packs" that include tickets to the Sept. 11 home opener against The Citadel and two Pac-10 games go on sale to the public Saturday.
Those who buy "flex packs" have the option to add tickets for the Sept. 18 game against Iowa, Francis said.
The Week 3 showdown will likely mark the first sellout of the season. Some Hawkeyes fans - Francis put the number at fewer than 100 - have purchased UA season tickets specifically so they can have good seats.
Single-game tickets go on sale to the public Aug. 21. Go to arizonawildcats.com or call 621-2287
Ransom still waiting
Wide receiver Dexter Ransom is still dealing with a paperwork issue that could put his UA arrival in jeopardy.
Ransom, a transfer from Blinn College in Brenham, Texas, said via text message that he is still waiting for news. Ransom's issue stems from an online math class that he finished earlier this summer. The UA signee said he mailed the forms required to complete the course, but they were not received.
Ransom said last week that he was going to "re-do it and send it back," putting his arrival date in jeopardy. The Wildcats open training camp Aug. 6.
Many view Ransom as the Wildcats' top incoming wide receiver. In two seasons at Blinn, Ransom caught 55 passes for 1,146 yards and seven touchdowns.
Expert: Carey, Hankins worth watching
The UA has already received 12 verbal commitments for its 2011 recruiting class. A pair of four-star recruits - running back Ka'Deem Carey and linebacker Rob Hankins - might just be the best of the bunch.
"Those two are the ones that jump out," said Jeremy Crabtree, national editor for the Rivals.com recruiting service. "Nationally, (Carey) might be one of the most underappreciated guys around. … Rob Hankins is a tremendous get. Coach (Mike) Stoops has got a kid who's hard-nosed. If Coach Stoops asks him to run through a brick wall, he'll do that. Hankins is the type of kid you can build your defense around."
Carey rushed for 2,738 yards and 45 touchdowns as a junior at Canyon del Oro. Many consider the 5-foot-10-inch, 180-pound runner the best player in the state.
Hankins, a senior-to-be at Dallas' Parish Episcopal High School, is the highest-rated Texan to ever commit to the UA. He led the team with 125 tackles and 12 sacks as a junior. Rivals.com lists him as a four-star prospect and the nation's ninth-best inside linebacker heading into his senior season.
UA recruits can sign national letters of intent in February.
On StarNet: Follow the Wildcats as the season approaches on Ryan Finley's blog at go.azstarnet.com/finley
BY THE NUMBERS
Season tickets sold so far this summer
Season tickets sold in 2009
Starting cost of 2010 season tickets