ASU Football: How Will the Sun Devils Respond After "the Sky Was Falling?"

Kristian SiutaCorrespondent IIOctober 29, 2010

MADISON, WI - SEPTEMBER 18: Head coach Dennis Erickson of the Arizona State Sun Devils waits with his team and a referee to enter the field before a game against the Wisconsin Badgers at Camp Randall Stadium on September 18, 2010 in Madison, Wisconsin. Wisconsin defeated Arizona State 20-19. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

When looking at the 2010 ASU schedule back in July and August, surely everyone out there circled this Saturday’s Washington State game as a potential upset or trap game, right?

Oh, you didn’t?

Of course not. The Washington State Cougars have not won a conference game on the road since November 24, 2007. Although, after the Sun Devils were absolutely crushed a week ago in Berkeley, everything seems to be going wrong with ASU’s football program.

Writers and sports talk show hosts were stating that the “sky was falling” and Erickson was a sitting duck.

Neither of which is true.

ASU Athletic Director Lisa Love was on XTRA Sports 910’s “Bickley and M.J.” show and in response to the question about a “hot seat,” she stated, “He is our guy and I fully expect Dennis to be our head coach next year.” 

Love continued to say, “We want our program to be a Rose Bowl caliber team, and we have a guy who can get us there.”

That’s all well and good, but the Cougars are coming to town tomorrow and are hungry for a win.

Now, I am not predicting this, but imagine if the Sun Devils actually did lose to Washington State. Would that quote and Love’s outlook on the program change?

Absolutely, even if Love stated otherwise. 

Washington State is very dangerous even if the results do not confirm that. Last week the Cougars were trailing 31-7 entering the fourth quarter. However, Paul Wulff’s team never gave up.

The final score read 38-28, and the man who engineered the comeback was Jeff Tuel. The sophomore tossed four touchdowns in the 10 point loss in Palo Alto. 

No, Tuel is not Locker, Barkley, Foles or even Luck, but he might be the best quarterback that you don’t know. Tuel has 14 TD passes and over 2,000 yards. Granted, he plays in Pullman, WA, for a team that has won just two games in his two-year career. 

Those two wins came against Southern Methodist in overtime last season, and a one-point win against Montana State earlier this Fall.

Not exactly impressive, but those same sentiments were expressed a week ago heading into the California game after the Trojans beat down the Bears.

Sure the sky was falling after a 50-17 loss on the road to Cal, but if the Sun Devils do not control the Cougars’ passing game, then the headlines on Sunday will read “Hell freezes over at Sun Devil Stadium.”

But don’t count on it.

ASU sees the writing on the wall. The idea of an upset by Wazzu is etched in the players minds as well as the coaches.

It is time for the maroon and gold to step up and prove, to their own fans, that ASU is a competitive and highly motivated football team.

Neither of those traits were on display last week, and no one hid behind any excuses even though such a shield could have been used.

The coaching staff took the hit a week ago. Now it is time to prove their worth.

The same goes for all 11 players on the field.

Erickson preaches the word “accountability” constantly in regards to the Sun Devil program. It is now or never for ASU.

The time for a complete team effort that exudes precision, attention to detail, determination and accountability is Saturday afternoon.

After all, it is homecoming Saturday, and fans expect a win. The Washington State Cougars are also the team lining up across from them.

A win is an absolute must.