I just realized I haven’t posted anything about Sun Devil football this season. Well, the season came to an end today with an excruciating 20-17 loss to the University of Arizona Wildcats, with the difference being a field goal with time running out. Late field goals also saw us being defeated by California and Georgia. The Sun Devils finished 4-8 (2-7) for the season after losing six in a row for the second year in a row.
It’s of course interesting to consider what could have been. The games against California, Arizona, USC & Georgia were winnable (the margin for each was 5 points or less for a total of 14 points) and we could easily have gone 8-4 (5-4). And we won’t even mention the embarrassing loss to UCLA last week.
It will be interesting to see what effect, if any, this has on Dennis Erickson‘s future here at ASU. After a 10-3 season in 2007 (and a trip to the Holiday Bowl versus Texas), the Devils have now gone 9-15 with no bowl appearances. Erickson has to take much of the blame for the offensive ineptitude of the Devils as he was the one calling the plays. Acquiring a good offensive coordinator should be a priority for the off-season.
The AP pre-season top 25 was released today and featured a somewhat predictable triumvirate of Florida, Texas and Oklahoma at the top. The Pac-10 are represented by USC (4), Cal (12), and Oregon (16). Georgia – whom ASU play in Athens – are #13. It’s going to be a tough season for ASU if those teams can maintain their ranking. First game is in two weeks against Idaho State.
Male Flame Skimmer, Libella saturata (source)
We had one of these sit on an agave in our back yard for about three hours yesterday afternoon. Beautiful looking creatures.
Last seven days were busy here. New classes to prepare and other stuff left little time for blogging and suchlike. Don’t know if things are going to improve next week.
ASU’s football season has started with two wins against NAU and Stanford leading to a #15 ranking. Last night’s 41-17 win over Stanford was satisfying. Up next is UNLV before the big home game against #2 Georgia. And things don’t get easier after that – three more ranked teams (Cal, USC and Oregon) in a row.
OK, back to class prep!
Irish boxer Kenny Egan is in the light heavyweight final against Xiaoping Zhang as I type. Naturally, I can’t see it live in this country … instead I get to see a bunch of overpaid millionaires play basketball against Spain. Here’s hoping the Spaniards win.
Best I can do is follow the fight round by round on RTE (video not allowed outside Ireland, damn it!). We’ve two bronze medals already this Olympics (for boxing). A gold would be nice, given that it’s only the fifth time in Olympic history that an Irish boy has made a boxing final.
Update: End of round 1 … Egan is down 2-0.
Update: End of round 2 … Egan down 5-3.
Update: End of round three … he’s down 7-5. There’s still hope but he’s going to have to give it everything. A win here would be Ireland’s first gold since 1992.
Update: And it’s over. 11-7. No doubt the home crowd is going wild.
That last round clearly didn’t help. Maybe I’ll get to see it sometime tomorrow.
A silver is good. Over the years we’ve won nine gold, twenty-two silver, and 16 bronze (not including the ones when we were, ahem, “Great Britain & Ireland”), so the extra medals wont hurt.
And while I’m at it …
Happy to see that Spain beat Germany today. Better team definitely won. Perhaps the Germans should have fielded the squad seen above?
Just finished watching the Dutch implode and get beaten 3-1 by Russia, making them the third group winner to lose.
I can now only hope that Spain beats the Italian Diving Squad tomorrow to avert any possibility of a Germany v Italy final.
Spain v Turkey would be more fun.
It happens every two years … a veritable orgy of high-quality soccer. In 2006 it was the World Cup, this time around it is the European Championship.
So far, the Germans look efficient, the French were underwhelming, the Italian Diving Squad choked (badly), and the Dutch … well they just dominated the Italians in their 3-0 win yesterday.
So, any predictions on the finalists?
Last time I wrote about ASU basketball was early January when we beat the University of Arizona Wildcats 64-59 in overtime to go 3-0 in Pac10 play. Much moaning came from Wildcat supporters with claims that, had they had their phenom freshman (Bayless) the score would have been different.
Soon after that game the Sun Devils entered a tail-spin and went to 4-5 in conference before finding themselves today facing the full strength Wildcats away from home. Wildcat supporters predicted a massacre. Well, guess what? ASU came back from a sixteen point deficit to win 59-54. I wonder what the excuses from the U of A faithful will be now?
Both teams are now 5-5 in conference play.
Coming on the end of the week here and all is good. My classes look sharp, so it should be a good semester of teaching. Various non-teaching bits and pieces have clicked together over the past few days, so it looks like a good semester.
And ASU basketball has done it again – beating Cal 99-90 in double overtime to go 14-2 (4-0 in the Pac-10). Up next is Stanford (14-3, 3-2) who beat Arizona tonight to send the Wildcats to 11-6 (1-3). Could we even imagine that ASU would go to March Madness and Arizona end up in the NIT? Only time will tell.
I wouldn’t have believed it had I not seen it with my own eyes, but ASU beat Arizona 64-59 in overtime. That after being behind by 12 points and seven at the half. That after scoring only six points (and shooting 15%) in the first ten minutes. To put this in perspective, Arizona had won 24 of the last 25 meetings and is ranked #25 in the ESPN/USA Today poll.
ASU go 13-2 (3-0 in conference play) and get their ninth straight win, taking the lead in the Pac-10. Arizona fall to 10-5 (1-2).
What makes this even more enjoyable was that throughout the football season, Wildcat fans were continually excusing the failure of their team with choruses of "but we’re better at basketball".
The final AP Poll standings have been released and unsurprisingly, LSU finds itself in the #1 slot, followed by Georgia, USC, Missouri, and Ohio State. ASU find themselves at 16 and two other Pac-10 teams are ranked (Oregon @ 23 and Oregon State @ 25). Predictably, Hawai’i slid to #19 and Illinois to #20.
Next season will be interesting for ASU. USC are likely to be strong and we play them and Cal back-to-back in California. We also have a non-conference game against Georgia. Yikes!
I’m not a college hoops fan, but this is surely a sign of something. While neither team is ranked in the AP Top 25, Arizona State got more votes (53) that the University of Arizona (26). ASU are 12-2 (2-0 in the Pac10) and face Arizona on Wednesday.
It’s not like ASU did wonderfully against Texas (losing the Holiday Bowl 52-34), but at least they turned up to play somewhat (albeit not in the first quarter). The same can’t be said for Illinois in the Rose Bowl (49-17 to USC) and Hawai’i in the Sugar Bowl (41-10 to Georgia). Clearly neither of the teams deserved a BCS slot and Hawai’i (and Colt Brennan) showed itself to be nowhere near being able to play outside the WAC.
Those BCS games are really working out well – two down, two blowouts. Methinks something is amiss with the system.
As I stayed up late last night to watch Hawai’i stumble past a mediocre Washington team (who are last place in the Pac-10), I got to thinking. Sure, Colt Brennan is a very talented kid who has been able to work well with some good receivers, but the Warrior’s record of 12-0 is vastly overrated and not deserving of a BCS bowl slot. They took on a single ranked opponent (Boise State) but the rest of their schedule was powder-puff: Northern Colorado (1-11), Louisiana Tech (5-7), UNLV (2-10), Charleston Southern (5-6), Idaho (1-11), Utah State (2-10), San Jose State (5-7), New Mexico State (4-9), Fresno State (8-4), Nevada (6-6), Boise State (#19, 10-2), and Washington (4-9). That’s a combined record of 53-92, with only three opponents ending the season with 0.5 record or above.
Let’s compare that to ASU’s opponents: Jose State (5-7), Colorado (6-6), San Diego State (4-8), Oregon State (8-4), Stanford (4-8), Washington State (5-7), Washington (4-9), California (#21, 6-6), Oregon (#5, 8-4), UCLA (6-6), USC (#11, 10-2), and Arizona (5-7). That’s a combined record of 72-74, with three ranked opponents and six opponents at 0.5 or above.
I guess what I’m getting at here is this. I cannot see why Hawai’i is ranked as high as it is and certainly why it eligible for a BCS game. As I type this, the AP rankings have placed Hawai’i at #10.
BCS title game prediction: Ohio State v. LSU
Update: AP are reporting that ASU (#11) are heading to the Holiday Bowl to take on Texas (#19, 9-3).
The Territorial Cup is the oldest college football trophy game and the 81st edition of it will be played tonight at Sun Devil Stadium when ASU (#13, 9-2, 6-2) take on the University of Arizona (5-6, 4-4). Depending on the result (and that of other games), ASU could still make either the Rose or Fiesta Bowl, and seal their tenth 10-victory season in school history. UA are trying to snap an eight year bowl drought and are coming off three consecutive wins, the latter two of which (UCLA & Oregon) were games in which their opponents were largely without their starting quarterback.
Weather here is predicted to be cold and rainy. It rained for about twelve hours yesterday (for about an inch and a half of rain) and is drizzling today. Field conditions may be interesting.
Update: ASU wins 20-17 to go 10-2 for the season and condemn the Wildcats to yet another losing bowl-less season. The game was closer than it should have been, but the game against U of A is always crazy. With USC winning and Missouri losing, ASU shares the PAC-10 championship with the Trojans and is more likely than not heading for the Holiday Bowl, though the Fiesta Bowl remains an outside shot. As Bob Davie pointed out on ESPN, an ASU team playing in Glendale would not generate as much money as an out of state team such as Kansas and, despite their 10-2 record, are unlikely to be chosen.