Arizona State Sun Devils Senior Day Brings Emotion, But a Win Is Desired
There are plenty of college football games over Thanksgiving weekend that will spark interest in spectators from coast to coast. It is pretty unlikely that "channel surfers" will stumble across the Arizona State-UCLA football game at 12:30 pm PST.
In all actuality, this game will be pretty entertaining for you, your family and the turkey sandwiches. Sure, both teams are 4-6 and fighting to regain pride and bowl eligibility at any cost, but sometimes those tough, grind it out, hard-hitting games are the most rewarding.
Whether you salivate over bone-jarring defense, explosive passing or powerful running, this game will feature it all, except not at the national level.
Arizona State and UCLA share the same season record, but these teams look completely different on the field. Just last week, the UCLA Bruins were crushed by the Washington Huskies on the road, and ASU is coming off of a four-point loss to sixth-ranked Stanford.
But Bruins' fans have slowly gotten used to lopsided victories for the opposition. Four of UCLA's six losses have been categorized as "change the channel" games. Losses of 35 points, 28 and even 47 will force anyone to pick up the remote and look elsewhere for entertainment.
Just as UCLA has had their fair share of one-sided games, ASU has invented new ways to lose games, or give games away. The Sun Devils have lost four games by nine combined points.
Then again, if you are a fan still coming back for the entertainment value of the Sun Devils and Bruins, a similar story was portrayed in 2008. Once again, it was Senior Day in Tempe, AZ, and both squads rolled into the contest with 4-6 records, as both schools fought for bowl eligibility.
However, for ASU, the '08 season was filled with promise and high expectations following a ten-win season, and a Holiday Bowl appearance, but a six-game losing streak heading into the game was all the maroon and gold had to show for their efforts.
Although presently, a school record losing streak is not on the line, or in danger of being extended, the focus will be on achieving a fifth victory of the season, and taking one more step to the postseason.
For ASU, the game is more than a fifth victory to advance the team one step closer to a wild and crazy ride to a third-tier bowl game (if NCAA allows for FCS Waiver).
A win at home on Senior Day, against a team from the "Golden State," will provide momentum for Arizona State. The Sun Devils have been a team of "near misses" in 2010. Just by looking at the season results, the narrow losses at the hands of top ten opponents, and the nation's best, have displayed how far ASU has come in rebuilding the football program.
UCLA is still rebuilding. Although the Bruins went to a bowl game last season, the talk this season is about a coaching change. Similar with ASU, the head coach's seat began to warm up once fall rolled around. Wins and success are the only things that cool down the hot seat, and in Westwood, Rick Neuheisel has not done much to put out the fire in his office.
Even the great offensive mind of Norm Chow has received a lot, or most, of the blame in regards to the UCLA Bruins' poor showing.
There are plenty of questions to be asked regarding two teams that have combined for eight wins and 12 losses, but why speculate on paper, or point spreads? The game on the field always provides great entertainment, especially if Arizona State is involved.
Most outsiders will say this game does not matter, because both teams sit at the bottom of the conference, but that is absolutely not the case. Competition brings out the best in players, teams and coaches, and every single person on the field today will be playing for pride.
For the 13 Sun Devils making their final walk out of Pat Tillman Tunnel, emotions will be high, but the mistakes must be kept to a minimum, for both teams.
So, on the day after Thanksgiving, it is time to watch a loaded schedule of football, relax on the couch, grab some leftovers, and keep your television remote close, because the entertainment value will be overflowing all afternoon.
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