You are down 13-0 at the end of the first quarter. Down 20-14 at the half. And win the game 31-20. You are ASU playing Cal on Homecoming night in Tempe.
An amazing game saw the Devils go 8-0 and capture the lead in the Pac-10. Two appalling calls by the referees in the first half made life more difficult than it should have been, but overall it was a typical ASU game – let the opposition get ahead in the first half, crush them in the second; we’ve out-scored opponents 153-29 in the second half this season. As Cal coach Jeff Tedford noted, "[ASU] are a great football team and they came out and proved it."
Sunday sees the Devils one of the five remaining unbeaten teams and ranked #6 in the AP poll and #4 in the BCS. Up next is #5 Oregon at Eugene. It will be a tough game, but the mantra here in Tempe is "one game at a time."
Big game tonight with #21 Cal coming to town for Homecoming to take on the #4 Sun Devils. With #5 Oregon defeating USC 24-17, tonight’s game will be huge for the Pac10 and the BCS standings.
In a strangely unreal moment – and coming off of a by-week – ASU finds itself ranked #4 in the BCS rankings, reflecting (I guess) the fact that teams we have beaten in turn beat the likes of Oklahoma (#6), Cal (#21), USC (#12) and Oregon (#5).
Up next week is Cal who, because of losing two straight, will be dangerous though I think beatable in Tempe as long as we don’t let them get out of the gates quickly. The real test will then be Oregon the following week, a game that I will unfortunately miss because I’ll be at a conference. And the home stretch (UCLA, USC, U of A) isn’t likely to be too easy, well, except for that last game – with a 21-20 loss to Stanford, the Wildcats (2-6, 1-4 Pac-10) have guaranteed themselves a ninth straight non-winning season, and yet another year without a bowl game.
In other news, Jack Elway, son of NFL Hall of Famer John, has told ASU that he will sign a letter of intent in February. The kid is apparently a fairly handy quarterback, ranked by ESPN as #24 in the country.
On a Saturday in which #1 LSU lost, #2 Cal lost to Oregon State, and USC barely squeezed past Arizona, ASU beat Washington 44-20 after trailing 17-13 at the half- a dominant performance in the second half that nicely illustrated Dennis Erickson’s ability as a coach, particularly considering our top running back (Torain), receiver (Jones) and tight end (Miller) were all injured. Rudy Carpenter went 20 of 31 for 227 yards and two TDs, while the team ran for 296 yards of rushing. Impressive all round (though I will admit to be frustrated at the half).
ASU should crack the top 10 in the polls with this win. We’re 7-0 and clearly on top of the Pac-10 standings. Next week is a by-week. Then it’s Cal at home. I think I need to get tickets for that game.
And with the USC and UCLA losses (to Stanford and Notre Dame respectively), ASU finds itself halfway through the season and on top of the Pac-10 standings. Not bad for a team in its first season with a new coach.
A field goal with 55 seconds to go was enough to give ASU a 23-20 away win (their second away win in a row) against Washington State. I missed most of the game due to family commitments but what I saw wasn’t terribly impressive. Still, an away win is good, especially since we haven’t had two in a row since 1996. ASU go to 6-0, WSU to 2-4. Next week is Washington (2-3, 0-2) at home.
Oh, and WSU coach Doba’s "second or third best team in the conference" (Arizona) got beat 31-16 by Oregon State.
Apparently Bill Doba, Washington State University football coach, is – how shall we say – "challenged." The Cougars just got whupped 48-20 by University of Arizona (unranked, 2-3) and Doba is quoted in the Tacoma News Tribune as saying:
"Arizona, I said, is the second or third best team in the conference. I still hold true to that. They are talented – I think more than the team [ASU] we’re facing this week."
That’s the 5-0, 18th ranked ASU he is talking about. The one that is being given a nine point spread over his team.
ASU’s record aside, and even if the Cougars beat ASU at home on Saturday, to claim that the Mildcats are nearer to the ranks of USC, Cal & Oregon than ASU is, well, that’s just crazy talk.
So let’s put this in perspective …
- ASU hadn’t won in California in fourteen games.
- ASU hadn’t won in Stanford since 1997.
- Nine of the top-25 teams lost over the weekend.
- Colorado – whom ASU beat – went and won against #3 Oklahoma.
- The Cal/Oregon game was a good one. Cal should rise through the ranks, particularly given losses by Florida and West Virginia and ineptitude by USC.
- Speaking of which … USC only beat unranked Washington by 3 points. It’s clear that there is no way that they can be considered the #1 team in the country – winning is not enough. But than again, the fanboys who vote will continue to fellate Pete Carroll. Such is the travesty of the system that is in place.
So overall, a 41-3 win against the Cardinal looks good. A win next week against Washington State (2-3, 0-2) will put ASU 6-0 for the first time since the 1996 Pac-10 championship season. The offensive line needs to improve though – too many mistakes, too many sacks allowed.
W00t! ASU are back among the ranked teams – #23 in the AP and #25 in the USA Today poll. That means four Pac-10 teams are currently ranked – USC (#1), Cal (#6), Oregon (#11) and ASU (with UCLA also receiving votes).
Week 3 of last season was our last time in the rankings (#22), so hopefully this is the mark of something good happening.
I spent Saturday night in Sun Devil Stadium watching ASU beat Oregon State 44-32, to go 4-0 for the season. This after spotting the Beavers 19 points in the first seven minutes and given that OSU had the second-rated run defense in the country. Five interceptions and a lot of big third-down plays (both on offence and defense) helped the Devils.
Next week sees us at Stanford (1-2, 0-2 Pac-10), a game that will be televised by Fox Sports AZ.
I had the pleasure of spending Friday evening as Guest Coach for the Sun Devil women’s soccer team. The Guest Coach program honors faculty who are selected by student-athletes and allows them to get behind the scenes on game day. So 5:30pm saw my daughter and I at the soccer stadium, meeting the players & coaches, and having a good time. I will always remember the look of happiness on my daughter’s face as she sat in the locker room among the players, so a thanks goes out to everyone for making the evening so much fun.
Nine PM unfortunately saw the Sun Devils lose 1-0 to the third ranked UT Longhorns. It was a great game and the Devils never gave up. There was nothing to be ashamed of.
Tomorrow the ASU football team take on Colorado after whupping San Jose State last week. On Sunday the soccer team take on UNC-Charlotte. If you are in the Phoenix area, you could do much worse with your time than turn up to the game.
Ah, Labor Day weekend. Sun, fun, and the start of college football. ASU plays San Jose State (home of my Scibling Janet) tomorrow night – the first game under Dennis Erickson. There is should be little doubt that ASU will win, though they may struggle against the Spartans.
ASU are heading to the College World Series on a 7-1 defeat of Ole Miss tonight and a 4-3 comeback last night. Next stop, Omaha! Oh, and the ASU Women Track & Field are NCAA indoor and outdoor champs. All good.
As some of you may know, I don’t care for pro-football or pro-baseball. NCAA is something else, however.
The third-seeded Lady Sun Devils worked past a terrible start, and rallied from a 14-point deficit in the final 11 minutes to beat Louisville 67-58 on Monday night to reach the Sweet Sixteen for the second time in three years. Which is more than the men have been able to do.
ASU got beaten by Hawai’i 41-24 in the Hawai’i Bowl, Leading 10-3 at the half, but down 24-10 late in the third, ASU rallied for two touchdowns and had a third negated by penalty to nearly pull out a final win for Koetter. But no joy. You can’t win a game if you allow the opposing QB throw for 559 yards and five TDs, while your All-America tight end Zach Miller (in what might be his final ASU game) has just one catch for three yards. We finish 7-6 for the season. Let’s see what Dennis Erickson can do with this.