Green: A UofA fan's take on ASU
OK, first off, let me just admit that I am fairly biased when I judge anything ASU. As a University of Arizona graduate, the mere thought of Maroon and Gold makes me want to, well, throw up. Of course, living in Phoenix and working for KTAR, the flagship station of the Sun Devils, means at the very least I have to pay attention to what goes on over in Tempe. Which is exactly what I did Saturday night.
The Devils opened their season against Idaho State and, after a slow start, finally got their act together and made sure the scoreboard appeared as it should when a Pac 10 squad takes on a team as bad as the Bengals: 50-3.
Now, as much as I would have loved to see the Sun Devils lose, I knew the chances of that happening were about the same as the Diamondbacks'Eric Byrnes actually being worth his contract but still, a Wildcat could dream.
But instead the defense, which figures to be the Sun Devils' strength this year, stepped up and dominated a helpless Bengals offense.
Senior linebacker Mike Nixon picked off three passes, returning one for a touchdown, and the rest of the defense allowed a measly four first downs and 37 total yards. That would be called domination. It would also be called taking advantage of a cupcake opponent.
Biased or not, you can't argue that this was not expected. And it wasn't all great for ASU Saturday night. I'm not trying to make you Sun Devil fans feel bad - oh wait, maybe I am - but the offense certainly had its fair share of struggles.
Senior Danny Sullivan wasn't good or bad; he was solid. His numbers would have looked much better if his receivers could have just caught the ball, but instead more than one touchdown pass fell disappointingly to the turf.
The running game was solid all night, but not spectacular.
And, depending on how you look at it, freshman Brock Osweiler coming in during the third quarter and later throwing a touchdown pass could be a great thing for the team or, really, be one of the worst things that could happen.
We all know that most Devils fans want Osweiler to be the team's QB. The true freshman has a ton of potential - even I can't deny that - and there is a general feeling that the team's ceiling with Sullivan running the show just isn't that high.
From what I've heard and read, even in a win, people are now calling for the freshman to take over. While he may end up being a great QB and the future of the program, is that really fair to Sullivan, who has patiently waited for his turn and done things the right way while doing so? USC may be going with a freshman QB, but come on now, the talent around Matt Barkley is far superior to what is running out of the tunnel at Sun Devil Stadium.
Sullivan was under pressure for much of the night, as it doesn't seem the offensive line has gotten much better from last season's train wreck. Combine that with receivers who can't hold onto the ball and you have a recipe for disaster for any QB, let alone a freshman.
Oh, and the Sun Devils committed 8 penalties for 67 yards, something that surely will not make Dennis Erickson a happy coach.
Really, after one week, the Sun Devils are where they want to be when it comes to their record. They get a week off before a game Louisiana Monroe (which they need to win) and then head to Georgia to take on the Bulldogs. While a 2-1 record after three games is the likely scenario for ASU, if they don't improve in many areas it could be another long season in Tempe.
Which would be fine with me.