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Arizona State is a victim of a tough schedule, and the Beavers could be 3-0 too if they played schools like UNLV, San Jose State, and Austin Peay (Wisconsin's other three opponents besides ASU).
Not only did Arizona State stay in the games against Wisconsin and Oregon, ranked No. 11 and No. 4 respectively, but they nearly topped them. The Sun Devils lost to the Badgers by just one point, and were poised to send the game into overtime before a blocked extra point with just seconds remaining sent them packing.
Against the Ducks, ASU lost by 11 points despite seven turnovers. Oregon entered the game as the leader in the nation for points scored, total offense, and total defense. However, for most of the game, the offense sputtered while given several chances to pull away.
Besides the losses to ranked teams, the Sun Devils have blow-out capabilities against smaller schools, a characteristic that gets the attention of pollsters. ASU blew out the meager Portland State in its opener 54-9, which shows the improvement of the program over the last few seasons under Dennis Erickson.
In fact, Arizona State was only a few points away from national attention last season, but was the victim of a tough Pac-10 schedule and timely miscues. They lost to No. 21 Georgia by a field goal, No. 24 Cal by two, and No. 12 USC by five.
Make no mistake, Arizona State's record doesn't reflect the talent on this team.