TEMPE, AZ - OCTOBER 29: Justin Gorman #14 of the Colorado Buffaloes returns a kick off for 23 yards against the Arizona State Sun Devils during the fourth quarter of the college football game at Sun Devil Stadium on October 29, 2011 in Tempe, Arizona. The Sun Devils defeated the Buffaloes 48-14. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
Thursday Night Game!!! These night games during the week may be my favorites. I especially loved them as a Business Major at CU, because as many of you know the B-school was closed for classes on Fridays so I would only have something along the line of Nordic Influences in JRR Tolken's Lord of the Rings, History of Christianity, Introduction to Feminist Studies (didn't do well in that one), or Creative Writing (these were seriously all classes that I took or knew someone who took). Thursday, October 11th gives us the Arizona St. Sun Devils in Boulder. We can be WORLD BEATERS on Thursday night under the lights. I still remember vividly, and fondly, our victory over #3 ranked West Virginia on a Thursday (I met/had a picture taken with Erin Andrews that night).
Anyone remember this time last year when the Sun Devils were expected to be one of the top teams in the country? I remember hearing about the talent returning and how no team was going to earn a yard on the defense. I remember hearing that Dennis Erickson had that program back to where it needed to be. Neither of those things panned out quite how those in Tempe had hoped. Arizona State started the season 6-2 last year matching the expectations most had for them, but then skidded, crashed and burned down the home stretch losing its last five games to finish the season 6-7. Not great momentum coming into the 2012 season. But, hey, they sure kicked our butts last year.
Last season the Buffs traveled to Tempe to be pretty well dominated by the Sun Devils. After the first quarter it was 21-0, but at least we scored in the game finishing with 14 points to their 48. However, the Buffs must have done SOMETHING in that game because the Sun Devils went into that game ranked 19th nationally, and came out of that game not winning again for the rest of the season. That's something, right?
Becoming a common theme, the Buffs play a team who will have a new head coach at the helm. ASU parted ways with Dennis (good name) Erickson after the disappointing second half of last season. Arguably more worrisome than a green head coach is the loss of starting quarterback Brock Osweiler. He was tall, and now he is rich (and I suppose he is still tall) after signing with the Denver Broncos to back up the best quarterback in the game (please hold your arguments, this is a CU blog). The Sun Devils also lose all but 4 starters on defense, AND their leading receiver, Gerell Robinson, who went for 1,400 yards last season is in the NFL now. This was a team that ranked 10th nationally in the passing game, but loses both their leading passer and receiver.
Now they bring in "this is my dream job" Todd Graham to take over for Erickson. His departure from Pittsburgh after a single season illustrated a streak of job shifting that has started to define Graham's career. One season at Rice and a single season with the Panthers sandwiched a four-year sting at Tulsa. Graham's one season as a head coach at the BCS conference level doesn't inspire a whole lot of confidence as the Panthers finished the year at 6-6.
I am not saying we win this one with any certainty, but come on. If we had even a bit of confidence in this team our chances would look great. A new head coach, and new quarterback, they lose three of four of their top receivers and have to replace 5 of seven players from their secondary. Can I, with a straight face, predict a certain win here? No. However, can I look to this HOME game, on a Thursday night, against a team replacing ¾ of their team, with a new head coach, who have lost their last five games as a possible win, ABSOLUTELY. Oh, also, this has nothing to do with the game or this post really but I just realized that this game will be played on 10-11-12 (Oct. 11th 2012), huh, not indicative of ANYTHING but still kinda cool, or whatever. GO BUFFS.