Random thoughts from a random mind…

Don’t Believe the Hype! (we were warned)

In the immortal words of Chuck D and Flava Flav – “Don’t Believe the Hype!” We should have stuck to this advice as we so eagerly awaited the start of another season, but Sun Devil Nation was in awe of what could be.  With talks of a Pac-12 South title, a spot in the first ever Pac-12 Championship game, and even a few whispers of a National Championship, Devil fans around the nation were on the edge of their seats in anticipation for this, possibly, legendary season.  I mean, how could they not be good this year, we were returning 30 seniors! And then, injuries…oh yes, the unthinkable, season-ending injuries of some of our top players began to deplete this team, and deflate the bubble of hope yet again.  Spring and summer practices brought more hope though, as the team began to show depth in the positions affected by the devastating injuries.

The season began with the standard “cupcake” game, and a Devil win.  Week two would record the first Black Out game at Sun Devil Stadium, and a big win against Missouri – could this be a sign of the strong season everyone had been talking about? Nope…It was just the first blip of false hope that had been an ASU tradition for way too long.  Proof of this would be the lack of being able to close out a close game on the road (and a weak secondary), as the Devils lose to Illinois by 3.

The biggest “upset” of the season was the commanding win against USC.  I say this was the biggest upset, because it was the biggest tease to make us think that things could be different for the Sun Devils.  They shut an arguably, overrated Matt Barkley and USC team down, showing other teams that if you can get to Barkley, he WILL crumble (see you in the NFL, kid).  With this win, Devil fans began to feel that this really could be the sign of hope we had been looking for.  With a win over USC, all we needed to do was, at the worst, come in second to them in the Pac-12 South, and we’d be in the championship game – and looking ahead at the schedule, this seemed doable, with the only major road-block being the Oregon game in Eugene – which, in fact, turned out to be our next loss.

At this point, we were still in the hunt of the Pac-12 South title – sitting at 5-2 with the next 5 games being ones where we would definitely be favored.  This “great” season was still within reach – Pac-12 South title, Pac-12 Championship, and even a possible BCS game.  But this was when reality hit, and the wheels fell off.  The hype had run its course, and we lost 4 of those very winnable 5 games.  “Very winnable” is an understatement here; we lost to a Washington State team with a coach who has only won 9 games in his four years at the helm.  We also lost THE game; the one that can cost you an entire season if you lose no matter the final record.

Ending out the season at a measly 6-6 was never a thought for this team.  There was no reason that the Sun Devils should not have won at least 9 games with the talent on this team, and the state of the teams they played.  The hype was just that, hype. As usual, the Sun Devils are placed in a category before the season starts, and are unable to perform.  The sad thing is that each season when the critics talk about ASU and their potential of being a “good” team, it is followed with the thought of being able to live up to the hype.  When the critics take note of the trends that are followed each year, and aren’t able to put much stock in “potential,” there are definite problems.

As I am finishing this post, it was just announced that Erickson will be let go as the Head Coach of the Sun Devils – well, he is “retiring.” (Wonder how that translates into buying out his contract?)  Should it stop with the coach though? What about the AD? Currently, the hype “issue” doesn’t stop with just the football team:

  • The basketball team has struggled for a very long time now.  Although, I truly feel that Herb Sendek is the man for the job; he just needs better backing from the top.
  • The baseball team is still in its appeal process for violations stemming back to Pat Murphy’s wrong doings.

Are we cursed as Sun Devils? Or would putting more money into our facilities, recruiting and coaching staff make things better?  Would hiring a $10+ million coach be the answer? Who knows, but I do know, it is hard to be a Sun Devil, and I will ALWAYS be one!

 

Sparky and I at the ASU Alumni Tailgate at the Utah game

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