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Updated Sep 6, 2011 - 3:11 pm

Sun Devil fans have a chance to step up against Missouri

Rarely does an opportunity like this come along for a Valley team.

Arizona State, ranked in the top 25 in some polls, hosts Missouri, ranked in the top 25 in all polls, in a Friday night matchup that will be broadcast nationally on ESPN.

The game is a "blackout" for the Sun Devils, as they will wear their new black uniforms for the first time.

With a nation's eyes glued on Sun Devil Stadium in Tempe, Arizona, there is a golden chance for those in black to step up and make a name for themselves.

Yes, the players could play well too, but this game is about the fans.

To be honest, as an Arizona alum/fan/homer (really, pick whichever one you feel suits me best) I've made no secret of the fact I think ASU fans are a rather apathetic group.

There are some diehards, sure, but I've found a good number of Sun Devils who actually cheer for other schools -- if any schools at all -- first. Small sample size? Yes. But is that indicative of just how little they care about the university and its teams? Maybe.

The point is Arizona State fans don't exactly have a great reputation for being into (or even at) games. Yes, the game last week was against UC Davis and the temperature Thursday evening was in triple digits, but it was the season opener and having a listed attendance of 45,671 there to see it isn't good enough, especially when the building has room for 73,379. For comparison's sake, 51,761 of a possible 57,803 showed up to watch UA host NAU when the game time temperature was 95 degrees. A lot of people missed the game in Tempe. Do they care?

We'll find out Friday.

"We're excited to be on a national stage on a Friday night when we're the only football game that's out there," ASU Head Coach Dennis Erickson said.

Indeed, with a great stage to play on comes great responsibility, and the fans have as much as the players. Yes, a win would go a long way towards ASU actually living up to the hype surrounding them, and a good performance would go a long way toward showing they are a legitimate Pac-12 title threat.

A victory would turn a country into believers, the Sun Devils into contenders and possibly a Valley into fans. Already known for not being the best fans, the entire state is counting on the Sun Devil faithful to represent Friday evening. Remember, your team hasn't really played a meaningful game in the last three seasons, so don't just enjoy the atmosphere; go out and make the atmosphere.

Sun Devil Stadium should be full and blacked out. It should be loud and intense. Missouri should not feel comfortable playing this game, and it should have nothing to do with the heat.

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