Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Beat Oregon State and things will look bright

Updating my original research from last year, Oregon State is the most critical game of the 2009 season. Conference openers have historically been a strong predictor of the season.

Counting conference games only, since joining the Pac-10 in 1978, ASU has lost the conference opener 17 times, and in those seasons has gone a combined 57-70-2 (a 45% win percentage). However, in the 12 seasons in which we have won our first Pac-10 game, the composite record is 60-36-0 (a 63% win percentage). We tied our opener in 1983 and 1986 and finished a combined 9-4-2 in those seasons.

Since 1982, ASU has only once (in 1999) lost the conference opener and finished with a winning record in the Pac-10. Conversely, 2008 and 1994 were the only seasons where the Sun Devils won their conference opener but finished below .500 in the Pac-10.

This season's opener versus Oregon State is especially important because the  four following games are all winnable, so if we beat OSU a 4-1 Pac-10 start is perfectly realistic.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Strong chance of no TV coverage of game at Wazzu

As expected, neither of the Pac-10 TV network selections for October 10 included the ASU @ WSU game.  It's tough to argue with the games selected by ABC and FSN:
  • Oregon at UCLA, 12:30pm PT ABC
  • Stanford at Oregon St., 4pm PT FSN

If I understand the Pac-10 rules correctly (they are hard to follow) the only way that FSN AZ could show the ASU game live is if it kicked off at 7pm PT.  However, I assume Wazzu will not want an evening kickoff, especially since this is Homecoming Weekend in Pullman.

Hopefully I am wrong, but for now it seems likely that the only way to watch this game live will be to travel to Pullman.

Update: now confirmed; no live TV coverage on October 10.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Georgia: post-game open comments thread

Heartbreaking loss.  #8 for UGA was the best athlete on the field, and his two plays at the end were the difference.  Comments are open.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Sun Devils versus History this weekend

I'm not a big fan of examining historical records in college sports, because the kids playing today were not responsible for most of the results.

However, here is a stunning fact about Sun Devil football that cannot be overlooked in the build-up to the game at Georgia this weekend: ASU has never won an out-of-conference road game against a team that is currently in the BCS which finished its season above .500.

Never, as in never, ever.

The closest we got was in 2004, when we beat a Northwestern team that finished 6-6.

Since joining the Pac-10 in 1978, ASU has gone 0-8 in road games versus "BCS +.500" teams, and 5-4 in road games against BCS teams that finished .500 or worse. In road games versus non-BCS schools, we are 4-1 in that timespan. However, the streak goes back through ASU's entire history -- Coach Kush never even played a winning Pac-8 team on the road whilst ASU was a member of the WAC.

Of course, there is no guarantee that Georgia will finish above .500 this season. But if we do win in Athens on Saturday, and if Georgia goes on to finish with 7 or more wins, then the streak will end.

If anyone would like to double-check my research, please feel free and note any corrections in the comments. Here is a good site. For the purposes of my research, I counted our 2002 game against Nebraska as a road game, since it was played in Lincoln, even though technically it was a neutral-site game.  I ignored Bowl games.

Updated 12/6/09: Now that Georgia has finished their 2009 season at 7-5, the streak continues. We are now 0-10 all-time in road games versus "BCS +.500" teams.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Time to check your local cable listings

The Sun Devils' game at Georgia will be televised on ESPNU (kickoff at 7pm Eastern). As far as I know, this will be ASU's first-ever telecast on ESPNU. Most decent cable/satellite carriers should offer ESPNU, but many include it in a premium tier, and some do not offer the HD version. Cox Cable in the Valley includes the SD version in their Sports Package on channel 164, but no HD.

So you have 11 days left to check your own carrier. Remember, many cable operators allow you to sign up for a premium tier without a minimum commitment, so you could try adding a package and then canceling it after the game. Or just find a good local sports bar.

Another option: the game will probably be offered on ESPN360.com, which is a free service IF your ISP is affiliated.  Looks like ESPN360.com is not streaming this game, so you will need to find ESPNU to see this game.

Monday, September 7, 2009

What the hell are we supposed to do this week?

By the time the Devils kickoff their second game of the season, at 10pm Eastern on September 19, most teams will have already completed three games. These next couple of weeks are going to be rough. Not many games on the September 12 schedule to get excited about from a TV viewing perspective either. Everyone will be hyping USC @ Ohio State, but that has 45-10 written all over it. Probably the most interesting game is ND @ Michigan, because the losing coach will be on a very hot seat.

Gametime for ASU's visit to Georgia on September 26 should be announced next Monday (September 14).