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.


Scott Jones said...

Thanks for the great research.

phillydevil said...

Updating my numbers, we lost the Oregon State game in 2009 and went on to have a losing season, so we have still only once (since 1982) lost the conference opener but finished with a winning record. Since we lost to Oregon to open the 2010 Pac-10 schedule, that implies that a 5-4 (or better) record is unlikely, but we can always hope!