ASU’s spring football camp is now over, and it was obvious to all observers that things have changed. Discipline, teaching, and hustle defined the practices. A clear break from the Dennis Erickson regime. Nothing has been proven on the gridiron just yet, but the trend is exciting Sun Devil Nation. Time to buy your season tickets.
For the fourth straight year, ASU has improved its Graduation Success Rate, reaching an all-time high. It now sits one point shy of its 80% goal (established when the GSR was created) and only 4 points from second place in the conference.
“The graduation success rate is the most significant measure of student athlete academic achievement that exists, ” said Jean Boyd, Associate Athletic Director for the Office of Student-Athlete Development. “This is the fourth consecutive year that we have improved in our Graduation Success Rate. The 79-percent ranks us in the Top 5 of the Pac-12, which is an elite academic and athletic conference. We are just one percentage point away from our goal of reaching 80-percent and are working hard to reach that goal.”
In addition, ASU’s football team ranks third in the conference, trailing only Washington and perennial leader Stanford. UA, which has often unfairly denigrated ASU’s academics while performing much worse, again manages to rank dead last.
ASU has been helping to set the national lead in academic support services and innovation in the last few years, owing much of its success to Jean Boyd and a renewed athletic department commitment to academics. Kudos to another year of solid improvement.
It wasn’t necessarily a pretty game for the Sun Devils, but it was enough of an effort to knock off #22 Missouri in a nationally televised and highly anticipated matchup.
The Sun Devils took control of the game in the fourth quarter, only to squander a 14-pt lead late and survive overtime. The win, which broke Missouri’s long streak of out-of-conference wins and gave ASU’s its first win over a ranked team since its 2007 Pac-10 co-championship year, lived up to the hype of the Blackout.
The sellout crowd was in it from beginning, had a great showing of black to match the new uniforms on the field, and rejoiced when Jamal Miles scored a touchdown in overtime and the defense held Mizzou on fourth down to secure the win.
For those of you who wanted to relive the thrilling overtime period, check out the video below:
I cannot wait for tonight’s game—this has been a very long offseason.
Expectations for the season
Dennis Erickson needs to win at least 8 games to save his job. He’s been building this team for too long.
The defense will be generally solid, especially against the run. We have enough talent on the offensive side of the ball to really challenge opposing teams. Team speed will be on display all season long.
With high expectations, new uniforms, and some experience, this team may return to the swagger of 2007.
Prediction for the season:
We will win 8 games this season. I was solidly in the 9-win camp until the rash of offseason injuries and departures. I think that the injury bug could easily steal at least one win from the team this year, so now I’m down to 8. If Brock plays well and doesn’t make too many critical mistakes, and if our pass rush makes up for the injuries in the secondary and at linebacker, I think we can easily win nine games, maybe even ten. The early stretch is going to be key. If the Devils can come out of the first four games at 3-1, we’ll be well on our way to a good to great season.
- Net turnovers. That includes our turnover margin, as well as stupid penalties and dumb mistakes that stall offensive drives and give opposing offenses a second chance. ASU has not excelled in this area since Erickson’s arrival.
- The kicking and punting game – new punter, new snapper, new holder, new kicker. Hey, what could go wrong here?
- Depth, particularly on defense: starters Lawrence Guy, Omar Bolden, James Brooks, and Brandon Magee all gone, with additional injuries to backups such as Devon Spann. On offense, we’re missing experienced backups in Threet and Sakacsy, and significant contributors TJ Simpson and Deantre Lewis. Does this team have enough depth to overcome the string of bad luck we’ve had? If Brock goes down, it’s hard to think we’ll be able to compete for a South Division title.