The world of sports generally breaks down pretty simply: To be the best, you have to beat the best.
And the biggest.
In the next 10 years, Arizona State football will face non-conference opponents Texas A&M, Michigan State, Notre Dame and LSU.
The Sun Devils open their season against the Aggies in Texas, and continue through the conference schedule with back-to back matchups of USC and UCLA.
Then they’ll visit Utah, who has played ASU tough the last two years, and host Oregon the next week. You know, the team that came within four quarters of a National Championship last season. That Oregon.
It’s exhausting to even write it down. But ASU athletic director Ray Anderson only feels enthusiasm.
He told Arizona Sports 98.7 FM’s Bickley and Marotta there’s a high amount of intensity involved with a schedule like that — and expectations, too.
Especially when the program has started to schedule series with big non-conference names.
“I love the scheduling. I love that Todd (Graham) wants to schedule tough teams out of the box, and going forward you’ll see us play a number of big teams,” he said.
“If we talk about wanting to be National Champions and wanting to prove ourselves to be the best, then you’ve got to go take on some of the big boys whenever you can.”
Starting September 5.
“Opening the season with Texas A&M just gives us focus going in, because you know in your mind you’re not going in for a softy-cone,” Anderson said. “You better be ready.”
Anderson said there will be a higher level of focus than usual, even in training camp, with an opponent of that caliber headlining the opener.
That’s a good thing, in his mind. He wants to start strong, and maintain.
“We want intensity from day one. And when (we’re) playing Texas A&M on the first day of our season, we’ll be ready and we’d better be intense,” he said.
Anderson also said he won’t be surprised to see big networks pick up ASU games throughout the season.
“I’m not going to be surprised if you see ASU on TV six or seven times,” he said.
“What we did last year and the year before got everyone’s attention.”