Friday, November 23

Arizona State's Bandwagon: Population Zero

I have bad news: I injured my leg last night jumping off the Arizona State bandwagon. Maybe I hadn't seen enough of the team before last night (the only other game I had seen of theirs, incidentally, was the Oregon-ASU game), but they didn't look like a team that should be challenging for the national title game for at least 45 out of 60 minutes last night.

I'm probably being a little harsh with that judgment, as USC was playing a fantastic game. In addition, the Sun Devils' defense didn't get any favors dealt in the first part of the game; while Burgess' TD return on ASU's first kick was fantastic for getting the crowd energized, it also meant that the Sun Devils' D was on the field for the first 4:25. If you toss out the 23 seconds that the Sun Devils' offense took up before punting again that becomes the first 7:10 of the game. It goes without saying that is a lot of time for your defense to spend on the field in the first quarter - although 7:10 isn't a backbreaker when spread among 15 minutes. When that 7:10 is spread among the first 7:33, that's when it hurts. What also didn't help was that all three of those drives went for scores.

Looking over the box score today, it hits me that the Sun Devils seemed way more into the game - especially into halftime - than the stats indicated. I think it may have something to do with their history of play; a 27-17 deficit isn't too difficult to come back to tie from when the losing team gets the ball first, as a TD and a stop means it's anyone's ballgame. I didn't realize how badly the Trojans dominated both sides of the line; it looked obvious early on, but I didn't see the stat line translation. (Looking back at it, I'm more surprised that Booty got sacked once.) One other quick time-related stat: save for USC's time-killing drive in the 4th quarter, all their drives took less than 3 minutes.

I wish I had some way to tie this all back together, but I don't. Arizona State got their asses handed to them. Now I'm rooting for West Virginia as a last-ditch option. At least I like watching their offense.