The Arizona State Sun Devils had a unique opportunity to not only market their football program on a national stage, but to knock off one of the sport's traditional powerhouses.
The Devils only got to check off one of those two boxes, as they lost to Notre Dame 37-34 in the Shamrock Series game in Arlington, Tex. last Saturday.
Head coach Todd Graham is still very optimistic about his ASU's chances heading into the teeth of the Pac-12 season, as the South Division title is well within the team's grasp, even with two non-conference losses on its ledger.
"I think beating Notre Dame would have been a better statement because it was on a national stage, it was at a neutral site," ESPN college football analyst Mark May told Burns and Gambo Tuesday. "All eyes were on them, you had an opportunity to go out and show America about Arizona State football, and then first of all, you come out with those uniforms. Those helmets, I did not like.
"Second of all, you lose to Notre Dame when you had the opportunity to beat a team that just got decimated by Oklahoma the week before. That would have made the statement."
Many feel that the hardest part of the Sun Devils' schedule is behind them, but May disagrees, citing a home game against a very good Washington team in two weeks and a trip to Pullman to visit the resurgent Cougars of Washington State on Halloween night.
"This team could be a 7-5 or 6-6 football team," he said. "It all depends on how they come together and Todd Graham's got to do a great job of keeping this team together."