Monday, September 29, 2008

Kickoff times for the rest of the season -- Update #3

Updated 9/29/08: as predicted, the ASU @ USC game on October 11 has been selected by ABC for the 12:30pm timeslot. As with the Cal game this coming week, this will be a regional telecast. If you live outside the far West, you'll need to sign up for ESPN Gameplan ($22 for the day) or head to a sports bar.

The next game with a kickoff TBD is Oregon on October 25 at Sun Devil Stadium. Expect an announcement on October 13. The only open slot that day is the 12:30 ABC telecast, and the only other possibility for that time is UCLA at Cal, so the game this week in Berkley will probably have a major influence. If the Oregon game is not picked by ABC, expect a 7pm kickoff with no live TV coverage.


Updated 9/22/08: the ASU @ Cal game has been picked up by ABC with a 12:30pm kickoff. This is a regional telecast, and given how poor the Pac-10 is doing this season you can be sure it will be shown in the Pac-10 region and maybe a few other western states only. For those of us outside that area, you'll need to sign up for ESPN Gameplan ($22 for the day) or head to a sports bar.

The USC game on October 11 is still TBD, with an announcement to be made on Monday, September 29 or Sunday October 5 if ABC uses one of its 6-day selections. ABC's other options that day are:

This is a pretty sorry slate of games, so I think it's likely that ABC will select the ASU/USC game, but no guarantees!


Numerous posts are starting to show up on various message boards asking when certain games will kickoff. Keep in mind that apart from a few games that are selected before the start of the season, most weeks' games are not selected for TV until 12 days prior to gameday. Twice per season, ABC is allowed to wait until 6 days to announce their picks.

Three invaluable resources are the full Pac-10 schedule, the Pac-10 TV schedule, and Matt Sarzyniak's excellent listing site.

The most important thing to keep in mind is that if you are planning to travel to a game, kickoff could be as early as 12:30pm or as late as 8pm, so keep your plans flexible. Typically if a home game is not selected for TV, it will kickoff at 7pm.

Here's what we already know about the 2008 season:

The first three games (NAU, Stanford and UNLV) were not selected for network TV and are being shown by FSN Arizona with a 7pm kickoff.

The Georgia game was selected by ABC prior to the start of the season with a 5pm kickoff.

The three big October matchups are all TBA:

The October 4 game at Cal is likely to be televised, and would kickoff at either 12:30pm on ABC or 4:30pm on Versus.

The October 11 contest at USC is also likely to be televised at either 12:30pm on ABC or 7:15pm on FSN. Remember, ABC cannot show USC every week (it just seems that way!).

The only open TV slot for the Oregon game on October 25 is 12:30pm on ABC, but UCLA @ Cal is also a candidate for that window. If the game is not picked by ABC, I assume ASU would schedule it for 7pm.

On November 1, the game at Oregon State is already set for 7:15pm on FSN.

Daylight savings time ends on Sunday, November 2.

If Washington keeps losing, the game in Seattle on November 8 is unlikely to be televised, because there is only one open slot that day, at 1:30pm on ABC. I think UW prefers daytime games so I would assume an early afternoon kickoff.

November 15 has two open timeslots: 1:30pm on ABC or 8:15pm on FSN. I would be surprised if ABC wanted to show Washington State so the early start is unlikely. Since this is the homecoming game, it's possible that kickoff will be late afternoon if not selected for TV, but unlike homecoming games in years past, this game is officially listed as TBA on the ASU website.

The UCLA game is already set for ESPN2 at 7:30pm on Friday, November 28 (the day after Thanksgiving).

The contest with Arizona in Tucson will be televised, but the kickoff could be 1pm or 6pm.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

The greatest of the great, redux

18 months ago, I started a project to name the All-time ASU football team. I received some great feedback from fans, and got in touch with some past players who provided invaluable insight. The project stalled for two reasons: mostly, I got distracted by work, but also, the selections proved far more difficult than I ever anticipated.

I don't want to quit, so the project is back on my front burner. But I need assistance.

First, a recap of the rules (which I set for myself): most importantly, this will be a true team, with the right number of players at each position. That means one halfback and one fullback for example. I'm not going to cheat like the NFL did when they named four quarterbacks to their 75th Anniversay All-Time team. This defeats the entire purpose: it's easy to say that Baugh, Graham, Unitas and Montana were all great; it's a lot harder to say which of them was the very best.

Players will be evaluated based on their college career, not their pro performance, and extended careers will carry more weight. So while Derrick Rodgers' performance in '96 was one of the great single seasons in Sun Devil history, it's not enough for him to make the team. Players will be judged at the position they played in college, not the pros, so Darren Woodson will have to make it as an OLB, not a SS. Football performance will also outweigh off-field contributions or all-around popularity, so while Pat Tillman was without doubt one of the greatest men ever to wear a Sun Devil uniform, he wasn't necessarily one of the two best OLBs in ASU history.

Realistically, only players from the WAC era and beyond will be considered (that's 1962 onwards). It is almost impossible to fairly evaluate players from the Border Conference days, although please let me know if you feel strongly about anyone excluded.

Some positions are relatively simple; others are very difficult. I already named the two cornerbacks: Mike Haynes and Eric Allen. Just 20 more to go. Please send me an e-mail with your suggestions or post comments to this article.

Clearing the archives -- hoops edition

As we continue to retire the archives, today's selection features a recap of the roller-coaster ride that was ASU hoops from the mid '90s to the mid '00s.

The Bill Frieder era was a black mark in our program's history. I would gladly have traded the sweet sixteen appearance for some integrity. I have long argued that one of the most overlooked heroes in recent ASU history is Don Newman. We forget just how bad things were at the start of the 1997-98 history. The Sun Devils were expected to be awful on the court that year, and no one would have been very surprised had some additional scandals arisen off the court. Instead Newman led the team to an 18 win season, and NIT tournament berth, and (far more importantly) restored discipline and respect to the program. John Dougherty's article, The Stopgap Coach, published in March 1998 recaps Newman's season and the decision not to hire him as the permanent Head Coach. Others will disagree, but I said at the time, and I continue to believe that Kevin White should have had the guts to stick with him -- he earned it. I'm glad that things worked out well for him, and he has been an assistant coach for the San Antonio Spurs for several years now.

Kevin White's "splashy" hire was, in retrospect, a mistake. Rob Evans was the classic example of a great guy who could not, for whatever reason, take the program to the next level. At least he continued to improve the school's reputation in the national media, as evidenced by articles like this one from 1999 and another in 2001.

The Evans era peaked in 2003 with the NCAA tournament selection, as captured beautifully in Paul Rubin's essay Winning Season: Devils go dancing for the first time in years.

After eight years, Lisa Love fired Rob Evans and surprised pretty much everyone with her hiring of Herb Sendek. So far, so good.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Clearing the archives

Back in the early days of Wired Devils, I maintained an Archives page where I could save links to articles of interest related to ASU athletics.

Blogging has rendered this page obsolete, so in a series of articles over the coming weeks I am going to post summaries of the archives and eventually retire the page.

We start with a couple of classics. In 1994 New Times writer Paul Rubin followed the baseball team from opening day in January until the last out at the College World Series. Coach Jim Brock died of cancer on June 12, four days after his team's season ended.

Rubin's first story BROCK SOLID was written before the legendary coach's death.
"Jim Brock's place in the pantheon of all-time-great college baseball coaches is secure."
The second piece, JIM BROCK LIVED FOR BASEBALL, was published a couple of weeks after he passed.
"The old baseball coach sits motionless in his chair, appearing sadly fragile. He is running on fumes now, his body wracked with liver and colon cancer that will snatch his life in just eight days."
Many years later Rubin wrote a fascinating piece on Brock's successor, Pat Murphy.

Monday, September 22, 2008

And so it all comes down to this

It seems like every season there is a defining game. For ASU's 2008 edition, the next game at Cal on October 4 is just that. Win, and the Devils are 2-0 in Pac-10 play and looking good for a decent season. Lose, and the season could get very ugly very quickly. Can we beat Cal? Sure; Maryland was able to beat Cal, and Maryland is not very good. Will we beat Cal? I have no idea.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

First Regular Season National Network TV Game since???

OK, trivia buffs. This week's game versus Georgia is a national telecast on ABC. National meaning every TV in the country will be able to receive the game.

I cannot recall another Sun Devil regular season game ever being broadcast on national TV. We've been on ABC a lot over the past 20 years, but always on regional telecasts; the ESPN/FSN games are only available if you have cable.

There probably has been a national broadcast in the past. My first game was 1990 so I don't have direct memory from earlier than that. Maybe the Nebraska game (the 35-28 loss at Sun Devil Stadium) in 1987?

Please post to comments if you can recall another national broadcast.

PS It's Thursday and I am still not over the UNLV loss. I still feel gutted, and I'm finding it hard to care about this game.

Monday, September 15, 2008


It takes something like the loss to UNLV to make me realize that I take football way too seriously. I feel completely gutted, like the past 9 months of buildup have been a total waste of time. The Georgia game has gone from being the biggest day of the year to just another Saturday.

For those still interested, the Georgia Sports Blog will give you some good insight about the Bulldogs. Oh, what could have been...

Friday, September 12, 2008

All eyes on Pac-10 officiating this weekend

Most people around the country will be watching USC host Ohio State this weekend. At the same time, ESPN will be televising Oklahoma's visit to UW. This will be the first time the Sooners have played at a Pac-10 stadium since the infamous Oregon officiating debacle.

Duck fans hate the Huskies. Trojans and Bruins don't get along. We despise the Rats. But one thing all Pac-10 fans can agree on is that our conference's officiating in terrible. I don't believe Pac-10 officials are biased, but I do believe they are incompetent.

In some ways, I hope that the Pac-10 officials do screw up a major call this weekend, because it may generate enough noise for change to happen. Of course, putting the words "change" and "Pac-10" in the same sentence is pretty funny.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

The Hoff

Must read post from the world's greatest sports blog, Deadspin: David Hasselhoff Is a Crazy, Wild Arizona Football Fan.
If I was recruiting against Arizona, I think I'd just play this video. Unless you're competing for a German basketball star. In which case Arizona is golden.

Monday, September 8, 2008

Could be a rough NFL season for ASU fans

First, a little background.

When I moved to the Valley to attend ASU in 1991, I had no allegiance to any specific NFL team, so I quickly adopted the Cardinals. Sure they were terrible, but they were the hometown team, and they played on campus. I could scalp a ticket to most games for $5 and sit on the 50 yard line of the upper deck. Even if they were the worst team in the league, it was still NFL football.

After graduating, I became a season ticket holder for a few years, primarily to get into the Super Bowl lottery (I got tickets!). Even after leaving the Valley, I still followed them. In fact, I was at the Eagles/Cardinals game at the Vet where Jake Plummer made his pro debut.

All that changed, however, on the day that the Cardinals filed their lawsuit against ASU. Remember, this was just nine days after the citizens of Arizona had given the franchise a $400 million gift. How did the Cards respond? By suing a state agency for over $20 million. Nine days. Un-freaking-believable.

I said at the time, and I maintain to this day, that the lawsuit was unforgivable regardless of its merit. I don't care if the Cards were 100% right that they were due an additional $20 million from advertising. They should have simply held a press conference and announced: "Although we believe ASU owes us an additional $20 million, as a sign of gratitude to the people of Arizona, we are going to forgo all claims to that revenue."

Of course, as we later discovered, their claims were largely without merit, but that is not the point. The point is that the lawsuit should never have been filed in the first place. ASU still racked up nearly $1 million in legal bills, and for an Athletic Department that struggles to make a profit, that's a lot of money.

Ever since that day I have wished nothing but the worst for the Cardinals franchise and the Bidwill family. I have no ill-will to the individual players on the team, but I take great pleasure at watching them lose year after year.

2008 may be different. The NFC West is possibly going to be the worst division in NFL history. Seattle, San Francisco and St. Louis are all terrible. Not just bad, but horrible. The Cruds could go 8-8 or even 7-9 and win the division by 2 or 3 games. I'm trying to find a way that another team will finish ahead of them, but I can't. So unfortunately, it's going to happen: the Cruds will win their division this season. My only solace is that they won't make it past the first round of the playoffs.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

The most overlooked game of all time?

So, hands up if you're excited about the UNLV game this week? As I posted earlier, I didn't think the Devils would overlook Stanford, but it's going to be awfully difficult not to overlook the Rebels. I know all the fans will be thinking about Georgia this week, but what about the coaches? Do they sneak a day to prep for the Bulldogs, or do they give 100% of their time and attention to UNLV? It's going to be a very strange week.

Sparky appears to be safe

After last week's controversy, with Sparky gone from midfield at Sun Devil Stadium, the results of the Wired Devils poll were interesting: over 60% of respondents said that ASU should emphasize Sparky and the interlocking AS logo, and just 28% voted for Sparky only. I don't think Sparky is being eliminated, but I do think the University realizes that outside of Arizona, he may not be the most marketable symbol.

As the photo shows, Sparky is still present on the new basketball floor, but this time the sunburst ASU logo is the center of attention. Some people hate this logo; I quite like it myself.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Changes to Wired Devils

As you will probably notice, some changes are happening at Wired Devils. I have found it difficult to maintain a current blog 24/7, so I am returning the main site to the links page. However, I have added a new feature: real-time links to the headlines from various news sources and blogs.

I will keep blogging, but will no longer feel embarrassed if I go a few weeks between posts. The URL of the blog is but I will link to it from the main page.

This change also allows me to make use of Blogger's toolkit, including their polls service. This week you can vote on your preferred logo: Sparky, AS or both.

Thank you for your continued support of Wired Devils. I am continually amazed by the number of visits I get each day.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Annual NFL Pigskin Pick'em Contest

Have some fun this NFL season by playing Pigskin Pick'em on I have created a Wired Devils group so that you can compete against other ASU fans. No prizes -- just for fun!

This game challenges you to select the winner of each game throughout the 17-week NFL season. No points spread to worry about -- just pick the winner. Best of all, it's FREE to play.

Click here for the group page.

Remember to pick against the Cruds every week!