The qualifying draw from World Cup 2010 in South Africa was made today. Europe’s Group 8 looks like a challenge for the Irish (current rankings in brackets):
- Italy (3)
- Bulgaria (18)
- Republic of Ireland (35)
- Cyprus (65)
- Georgia (77)
- Montenegro (172)
The Sun Devils (9-2) dropped to thirteenth in the BCS after their loss to USC Thursday night. No surprises there. Had the second half been closer a higher ranking would have been possible. But no point dwelling in the past as a number of possible scenarios are possible for the future:
- A trip to the Rose Bowl is still possible if we beat U of A and UCLA surprises everyone by defeating USC.
- A Fiesta Bowl appearance is possible if we win and Missouri beats Oklahoma in the Big 12 title game.
- If we win and Oklahoma wins, we’re looking at the Holiday Bowl.
- Worst case scenario appears to be the Sun Bowl.
ASU dropped to 9-2/6-2 with a 44-24 home loss to an admittedly superior USC team. Disappointing overall, particularly because the running game was non-existent, and this means USC has bested us eight years in a row. A 17 point burst by the Trojans in the third quarter put the game away and an overall inability to tackle and run (and for that matter, punt) hurt us a lot.
ASU will no doubt drop in the rankings and will probably be heading to either the Holiday or Sun Bowl depending on how we handle Arizona next week. While the run for the Rose Bowl is over, the season has turned out better than any of us could have imagined. It’s clear that expectations for next season will be high.
- West Virginia
- Ohio State
Now, some thoughts.
- ASU lost (by 12 points, away) to the then #5 team in the country. OSU lost at home to an unranked team.
- Oklahoma lost to Colorado, ASU beat Colorado. Oklahoma’s SOS is lower than ASU’s (68 vs 50).
- Kansas’ schedule (e.g. Central Michigan, SE Louisiana, Toledo, Florida International all at home) is weaker than ASU’s (SOS of 73 vs 50). They beat Colorado 19-14, we beat them 33-14.
Just suggesting that ASU should be ranked higher than #8, that’s all.
ASU managed to squeak past UCLA 24-20 to go 9-1 for the season and take the lead in the Pac-10 (Oregon have a bye-week). After years of not winning in California, two straight road wins in that state are welcome.
Next up (on Thanksgiving) is USC followed by Arizona. Both are home games and perfectably winnable. A Rose Bowl appearance against either Ohio State or Michigan is still on the cards.
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.
Tonight #16 Hawaii played San Jose State and won 42-35 in overtime. That’s the same San Jose that ASU beat 45-3. Hawaii go 7-0 but frankly, given whom they have beat, are horribly overrated. Despite being unbeaten. Hawaii haven’t really met any real opposition (witness Northern Colorado, Louisiana Tech, UNLV, Charleston Southern, Idaho, Utah State). They certainly don’t deserve a BCS bearth. As for Colt Brennan’s Heisman hopes. Nope, ain’t gonna happen.
Later tonight, it’s ASU (#14, 6-0) versus Washington.
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.