Updated Nov 8, 2012 - 2:01 pm
Graham, ASU looking for 'signature win' vs. USC
But Saturday's game at USC will thin the herd of contenders even more. A loss for either team would be their fourth conference defeat and would effectively eliminate them from the division race.
On Thursday, Graham acknowledged that a win over the 19th-ranked Trojans would be huge for a lot of reasons.
"Obviously, this is one of those wins we need right now for this program -- a signature win," Graham said. "We have a great plan, we've talked about the mental aspect of it and making sure we don't have mental mistakes because that's the thing that hurt us last week."
Last week's loss at Oregon State was a missed opportunity for the Sun Devils to collect a "signature win". Arizona State hung with the 11th-ranked Beavers in the first half, but was outplayed in the second half in a 36-26 loss.
The last time ASU beat a ranked opponent on the road was all the way back in 2002, when they toppled then-6th-ranked Oregon 45-42. Since then, in road games against ranked foes, the Sun Devils have gone 0-16. The average margin of defeat has been 17.4 points.
Graham is happy with the way the Sun Devils have played this season, but acknowledges it's time to take the next step.
"We've won some ball games, and I think, made great progress and done some great things," he said. "For these guys to go and win this game when everybody else has pretty much counted us out and given up on us as far as having a chance to win the South, if you can and win that thing, it's immeasurable what it does for you."
Southern California has long been a staple in ASU's recruiting efforts, so a win over the Trojans in their backyard could do wonders for the future of the Sun Devil program.
"These are the kind of wins we have to have, that's why we're here," Graham said. "I think it's very critical."
- Arizona State picked to finish third in Pac-12 preseason media poll
- The Pulse: Fans expecting 8 or 9 Arizona State wins in 2014
- Vince Marotta's 2014 Pac-12 Preview: Oregon Ducks back on top
- Taylor Kelly, D.J. Foster and Jaelen Strong named best offensive 'triplet' in the Pac-12
- Four-star DT Dalvon Stuckey not enrolling at ASU because of academics
- Adam Archuleta, former ASU & NFL defensive back - Wednesday July 16Former ASU & NFL DB Adam Archuleta is the guest on this week’s ASU Fork Report.
- Darren Woodson, former Sun Devil & NFL defensive back - Wednesday July 9Former Sun Devil DB Darren Woodson shares his thoughts on ASU football.
- Herb Sendek- ASU men's bball coach - Wednesday June 25ASU men's basketball coach Herb Sendek talks Sun Devil basketball and the NBA Draft.
- Fran Fraschilla- ESPN college basketball insider - Friday June 20ESPN College basketball insider Fran Fraschilla joins the show to discuss the 2014 NBA Draft.
- Willie Bloomquist, Seattle Mariners infielder & former Sun Devil - Wednesday June 18Is managing in former Sun Devil Willie Bloomquist’s future?