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!
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.
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.