The Ralphie Report sat down with the SB Nation Arizona St. Sun Devils blog, House of Sparky for a little Q&A session leading up to tomorrow's game. Thanks to Cory and Nikil for answering our questions.
You can check out our answers to their questions here.
Prior to the season Arizona State was a rather overwhelming favorite to win the Pac-12 South. Things have gone relatively according to plan with losses to Illinois and Oregon and the inside track on the division. How do Sun Devil fans feel about the season so far and what are their expectations for the rest of the year?
ASU fans feel pretty good at this point, though the Oregon loss did leave a nasty taste heading into the bye week. ASU fans believe that this team has the potential to run the table from here on out but also realize that recent ASU teams have been very mistake-prone. If the Sun Devils come out focused and disciplined out of the bye week, they should be able to pick up plenty of wins and finish off a solid season. Fans are expecting a Pac-12 South title.
Are Sun Devil fans sold on Dennis Erickson as the ASU coach for the next five years?
Fans are mixed on Erickson right now: he's definitely in better standing with fans this year than prior ones, but the loss at Oregon, with the Ducks' starting quarterback and starting running back both out, has left some questioning Erickson. He can make or break his perception with fans over the rest of this season. If the Sun Devils run the table or get into the Pac-12 title game and compete (against either Oregon or Stanford, presumably) fans will surely regain trust in Erickson. If the Devils falter and miss out on the Pac-12 title game, things could turn sour for him.
What makes Brock Osweiler such an effective quarterback (yes, we know he's tall)?
He's a smart competitor who has developed a more accurate throw this season. Osweiler has done a good job of throwing at the right times and managing the offense. That's not to say that he's without fault- sometimes Osweiler throws into double coverage, which usually stalls the offense or leads to turnovers. The fact that he can also run and is difficult to bring down makes him an even better offensive threat. That pass-run combo in addition to his leadership ability have helped Osweiler gain the respect of the other Sun Devils.
Who else should we watch out for on offense?
The ASU receivers. They're a talented bunch who can turn a game one way or the other. If Osweiler and the receivers are clicking, the run game opens up and the Sun Devils start moving the chains effectively. Look out for wideouts Gerrell Robinson and Aaron Pflugrad- the senior duo lead the team in receiving yards and have served as anchors for the ASU pass attack.
Give us a quick a rundown of the defense and who the impact players are outside of Burfict?
The defense has been hit by the injury bug, first with Omar Bolden getting injured in the spring to Brandon Magee going down with an achilles injury in the fall. It has been hard on the team, as the defensive unit was expected to be the best aspect of the squad. Without Bolden, the secondary has suffered and while still effective, is prone to making mistakes and allowing bigger players to happen.
Without Magee, the linebackers corps depth suffers and he was arguably our best linebacker (he doesn't do boneheaded penalties). Without those two, there is still depth - Junior Onyeali is a great defensive lineman and Shelly Lyons has really stepped into his own as an outside linebacker flanking Burfict.
What should we expect from the Sun Devils in basketball this year?
It depends on whether or not Jahii Carson takes the court. His eligibility is currently under review by the NCAA, which leaves ASU in an unfortunate position. Whether or not he plays, however, one this is clear - this is not a great basketball team. We're looking at between 15-18 wins in 2011 as Trent Lockett continues to develop.
Any suggestions on where to tailgate and what to do before and after the game for Buffs fans headed to Tempe?
There's a great grass lawn just east of Wells Fargo Arena (and just west of Buffalo Wild Wings) where a lot of fans congregate, drink/grill, play catch and watch the early games. Since Arizona is excellent this time of year, you can also wander around Lot 59, which is a huge paved lot, to see even more tailgaters. If you're the college age and you want to get a little crazy, head up to Lot 59 North, where there is a techno tailgate, girls dancing on trucks, and general debauchery.
Postgame, head west on 5th towards Mill Avenue and spend some time visiting the local haunts, including Big Bang, The Tavern and Mill Cue Club. If you're really lucky, though, you'll get to walk right out of the stadium and get a spot at a table in the delicious Dave's Electric Brewpub. Feeling a little more adventurous? Climb on the light rail heading towards Mesa, get off at the first stop and walk down 8th street to try out Four Peaks Brewery, Arizona's best brewhouse. 8th Street Ale is awesome.
Predictions on the game?
Colorado isn't going to stand much of a chance with the state of their team the way it is. ASU should come out strong after a bye week and take care of business. I say the Sun Devils prevail by 28 points if everything goes right at home.
I still love Mike Stoops and I don't care what anyone else says (this is not actually a question).
Oh, I love him too. He was so incompetent that he endeared himself to Sun Devil Nation in many ways. We will miss him dearly in Tempe.