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The 2011 regular season wrapped up on Saturday, and the postseason bowl game matchups are becoming clearer. Things still won't be certain for at least another week, but some educated guesses can be made about the two bowl games that the state of Arizona will host.
The Tostitos Fiesta Bowl, to be held January 2, 2012 in Glendale, will feature the No. 1 Big Ten team against an at-large BCS team. The Big Ten team will be the winner of Oklahoma vs. Oklahoma State. Since Oklahoma State is favored in that game and Stanford is currently No. 4 in the BCS rankings, it seems likely that the Fiesta Bowl will end up being Oklahoma State vs. Stanford.
The Insight Bowl, taking place in Tempe on December 30, will be a Big Ten vs. Big 12 matchup. The likely teams to play in that game appear to be Ohio State and Baylor.
For the full 2011 College Football Bowl Schedule, please click here.
The Arizona State Sun Devils suffered another bad loss on Friday night, their third in three weeks. The loss to the California Golden Bears may ultimately end up proving to be the last game for head coach Dennis Erickson, according to Doug Haller of the Arizona Republic.
Sources: Dismissal could come soon for ASU football coach Dennis Erickson
Vice President of Athletics Lisa Love did not return messages left by The Republic on Saturday, but multiple sources confirmed that the end is near for coach Dennis Erickson, and his dismissal could come soon.
With the loss, the Sun Devils fell to 6-6, with a record of 4-5 in Pac-12 play. Although they are bowl eligible for the first time since 2007 and Erickson boasts a winning record as head coach (31-30 during his tenure), the 2011 season was in many ways an embarrassment for ASU. They lost games to beatable teams, often watching leads dwindle away before ending up in the loss column.
A similar story has popped up regarding UCLA head coach Rick Neuheisel, although the Bruins athletic director has gone on record that Neuheisel will be around to coach Friday's Pac-12 championship game. That makes a lot of sense, given that if UCLA manages to pull off a huge upset against the Oregon Ducks, they'd earn a spot in the Rose Bowl, regardless of their 6-7 losing record. It remains to be seen, however, whether ASU will want to keep Erickson around to coach the Sun Devils in a postseason bowl game. Erickson's contract is set to expire in 2013.
For all news and information related to the Sun Devils, please visit House of Sparky.
Although the Arizona State Sun Devils suffered another brutal loss on Friday night, their final 6-6 record still means they're bowl eligible. The only question that remains is which bowl ASU will be attending.
Since UCLA lost to USC on Saturday night, the Sun Devils are likely to earn a spot in the appropriately-named Hundai Sun Bowl. If that's the case, ASU will travel to El Paso, TX on New Year's Eve to take on a representative from the ACC, most likely Virginia.
Although this 2011 season may not be fondly remembered, either by ASU fans or players, they can at least be proud of managing to avoid a losing season and potentially seeing any bowl game hopes slip away, as was the case with the Bruins this past weekend.
In what was supposed to be Arizona State's final chance at fine-tuning before their appearance in the inaugural Pac-12 Championship game instead became the humiliating finale to one of the most epic collapses in the university's history at the hands of the Golden Bears. Cal totaled 247 yards and four touchdowns on the ground including 149 from Isi Sofele. Cameron Marshall did his best to give his team a chance to win with 157 rushing yards and two touchdowns of his own but ultimately four turnovers were too much to overcome in an game in which both teams were matching each other score for score till the clock hit three zeros.
And from the opening kickoff it was clear that there wouldn't be many defensive highlights in this affair. After a quick field goal by Cal, the Devils answered with an uncharacteristic 11-play scoring drive that consisted of 10 runs, the last of which by Marshall who punched it in from one yard out.
From there though, Cal would score 14 unanswered points in only seven plays. The Golden Bears got their first TD on an 18-yard run from the little burner, Sofele. The second touchdown was a bit of a gift from the Devils. Following a costly fumble from Kyle Middlebrooks, quarterback Zach Maynard took the ball in himself on a 16-yard run in which he displayed his impressive wheels.
Osweiler then took the Devils offense on their second 80-yard scoring drive of the night, capped off by a passing touchdown to Aaron Pflugrad from 17 yards out on the senior receiver's final collegiate game. The Devils weren't awarded much time for celebration though with Cal extending the lead to a game-high 13 with a one-yard touchdown from C.J. Anderson on the ground then a 27-yard field goal from Gior Tavecchio that was setup by an Osweiler interception deep in Devil territory.
With the boo-birds beginning to emerge, Osweiler and the offense picked an excellent time to recapture the momentum. Scoring 14 points in half a minute, Osweiler found Rashad Ross for a 35-yard passing touchdown on fourth and ten then was rewarded with a Davon Coleman forced fumble on the subsequent kickoff, which he turned into another passing touchdown to tight end Trevor Kohl from four yards away.
The momentum wouldn't be the Devils for long though. After the opening drive resulted in a 47-yard Alex Garouette field goal, Cal bounced back with two more touchdowns, both of which from C.J. Anderson (one rushing and one on a 74-yard catch and run after Maynard extended the play yet again with his feet).
Down 41-31, the Devils gave the rock to Marshall four straight times following a 27-yard catch from Gerell Robinson. On his fourth carry, Marshall busted an impressive 24-yard touchdown run that put him over the 1,000 yard mark on the season and also tied him for the most rushing touchdowns in a single season by a Sun Devil with 18 (Woody Green and Terry Battle also had that number).
At the start of the final quarter, Dennis Erickson sent a powerful message of discipline to his team in perhaps his last home game as ASU's head coach, benching star linebacker Vontaze Burfict after two personal penalties. The defense responded magnificently-or at least as magnificent as a defense can respond in a game in which the teams combine for nearly 90 points-holding the Golden Bears to a field goal after an inspiring goal line stand.
Unfortunately, that inspiration would be short-lived with Marshall coughing up the ball on the ASU's second play of the drive. Cal turned Arizona State's third turnover into another field goal with another solid red-zone stand by the Devil's defense. But with a nine-point lead and five more minutes ran off the clock, there wasn't much that the boys in maroon and gold could do to salvage one final win for their seniors. Osweiler tried his best at one last comeback but the drive ended with his second interception of the night when he was absolutely annihilated on his release (Osweiler finished 21-37 with 264 yards, three touchdowns and two interceptions).
With the loss, the Devils drop to 6-6 on the season, the same record as the previous year. But there isn't nearly as much hope in Tempe as there was this same time last December after the upset over the Wildcats. Finishing with four straight losses and dropping five of their last six, this team will most likely look vastly different with both its biggest superstar (Burfict) and longtime head coach (Erickson) in all likelihood moving on. And as this team looks to rediscover it's identity while ushering in a new regime, it's looking more and more like being a long nine months in the valley of the sun.
Things were looking up for the Sun Devils when often spotty kicker Alex Garoutte drilled a 48-yard field goal with 12:15 to play in the third quarter. It gave ASU a 31-27 lead over the Cal Golden Bears.
Then composure and discipline, two of those little devils that always sit on ASU's proverbial shoulders in the Dennis Erickson era, reared their ugly heads. The Devils were flagged for three personal foul penalties -- each one after a positive gain for the Bears -- on one drive. Cal drove 77 yards in seven plays and capped it off with another C.J. Anderson touchdown run, this one for three yards, and lo and behold, ASU linebacker Vontaze Burfict picked up his second personal foul penalty of the drive after the touchdown.
Cal led 34-31 and ASU had to start it's next drive deep in its own territory, and a 30-yard completion on third-and-10 was nullified by a holding penalty. The Devils were forced to punt, and needed their defense to get a stop and get off the field to avoid a further deficit.
The chance was there. On third-and-4 from the Bears' 26, Cal QB Zach Maynard escaped the rush and lobbed a floater over linebacker Shelly Lyons head to Anderson. The junior tailback had no other ASU defender to beat and sprinted 74 yards to the end zone to give Cal a 41-31 with 2:53 left in the quarter.
The Devils absolutely had to answer, the game having reached critical stage for them. Where so often they had not in games they were expected to win of late, ASU came up with two big plays on their next possession.
One was a 27-yard pass from Brock Osweiler to Gerell Robinson, and the other a spectacular 24-yard touchdown run by Cameron Marshall that gave him 18 rushing TDs on the season and 29 for his career. The 18 tied a single-season school record.
Marshall broke into the open field on the run and put a move on defensive back D.J. Campbell that was equivalent to breaking ankle in basketball. The Devils trailed 41-38 to start the final quarter, and Marshall had 22 carries for 131 yards up to that point in the game.
Just as things were looking bleak for the Sun Devils, the game took a 180 in the final sixty seconds. But it wasn't before the Golden Bears got in a few quality blows of their own.
Following suit to the high-scoring first, Aaron Pflugrad (on his last night in Sun Devil Stadium) caught a 17-yard touchdown pass on the first play of the second quarter. After the next Cal drive saw a handful a big plays negated by penalties, ASU couldn't take advantage as the only thing their offense could produce was a three-and-out and Josh Hubner's first punt.
After a fair catch, the Golden Bears proceeded to move the ball 71-yards, capping off the nine play drive with a one-yard C.J. Anderson touchdown. Then, following a quick Osweiler pick, the Bears added a 27-yard field goal to complete the 10-point swing.
With the game slipping out of their hands, the Sun Devils flipped the momentum just in the nick of time. Osweiler orchestrated a speedy touchdown drive in less than two minutes, hooking up with Rashad Ross for a 35-yard touchdown pass on fourth and ten (his second clutch completion to Ross on fourth down in as many attempts in the game). Then after Keelan Johnson recovered a Davon Coleman forced fumble on the following kickoff, Osweiler threw his third touchdown of the night to tight end Trevor Kohl, allowing the Devils to take 28-27 lead entering the locker room.
Osweiler winning the quarterback race against Zach Maynard with three touchdowns and 157 yards on 9-14 passing. But while Maynard has only 117 yards and no touchdown through the air, he has added 41 yards on a mere three attempts with a rushing score. While Cameron Marshall started hot, he's only averaging 3.9 yards a carry compared to Isi Sofele's 6.7 for Cal. Rashard Ross is the leading receiver with 85 yards and one TD on his three catches.
Arizona State will receive the second half kick looking to build off their two touchdowns in 29 seconds.
TEMPE -- A Pac-12 football game that lost some luster even before kickoff is shaping up to be an offensive shootout between Arizona State and Cal between the bluffs in Tempe.
It's just that the home team, not too surprisingly, finds itself behind on the scoreboard this Friday night.
What's clear is that Arizona State can move the ball on Cal's defense. And that the ASU defense is as porous as sifter after it allowed two touchdowns and a field goal in three Golden Bears' possessions to trail 17-7 after one quarter of play.
The Sun Devils scored on the first play of the second quarter to cut the Bears' lead to three, 17-14.
The crowd is fairly sparse on Senior Night and thanks to the Utah Bumblin' Utes, ASU's hopes of winning the Pac-12 South have been dashed. But the Devils have something to play for, two things actually: a bowl game somewhere in the West with a decent payout and Coach Dennis Erickson's job.
The Valero Alamo Bowl folks were at Sun Devil Stadium Friday to pass out their info, but it seems pretty unlikely the Devils will go to San Antonio. A spot in the New Mexico Bowl in Albuquerque, the Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl in San Francisco or the MAACO Las Vegas Bowl is more likely.
After Cal opened the game with a field goal on its first drive, ASU answered with an 11-play, 80-yard drive that ended in TD run for Cameron Marshall. Marshall surpassed the 2,000-yard mark for his career later in the quarter.
Cal took a 10-7 lead, and on ASU's next possession, Kyle Middlebrooks was stripped of the ball on a run up the middle and Cal's Mychal Kendricks recovered the fumble and returned it 33 yards to set up Cal for another score. On the play, ASU QB Brock Osweiler got his clock cleaned by a downfield block but got up and into the face of his opponent.
Cal needed just one penalty and one play to take the 17-7 lead, a touchdown run for QB Zach Maynard with 5:18 left.
With the door now officially closed on ASU's Pac-12 South division hopes, some may think that tonight's game may be devoid of merit. That's untrue.
There are a few things that make this game significant, so here goes.
1) Senior Night. This will be the final home game for these seniors: Oliver Aaron, George Bell, Omar Bolden, Jonathan Clark, Chris De Armas, Eddie Elder, Nick Emanuele, Clint Floyd, Garth Gerhart, Jamaar Jarrett, Cameron Kastl, Dan Knapp, Trevor Kohl, Shelly Lyons, Angelo Magee, Mike Marcisz, Trent Marsh, Bo Moos, Colin Parker, Aaron Pflugrad, Gerell Robinson, Zach Schlink, Aderious Simmons, T.J. Simpson Adam Tello, Steven Threet and Mike Willie.
These young men deserve to be sent out with a victory.
2) Bowl Game. For the first time in since the 2007 season, ASU will be going bowling. Granted, it will not be the one they were hoping for, but a bowl is still a bowl. Whether it's the Holiday, Sun, Maaco or others, knowing the Devils will be playing another game is a nice thought.
3) Record Breaking. Lost in the disappointment of the late-season slide is the fact that several prominent records can be broken. Sadly, the Devils will not have the luxury of the Pac-12 title game to help out, but the bowl game should help.
Brock Osweiler is chasing the single-season marks in passing yards, passing touchdowns, completions and attempts. Cameron Marshall needs just three rushing touchdowns to set the school mark. And Gerell Robinson has an outside shot at the receiving yards mark if he can continue his hot play.
4) It's a Sun Devil Football. There are only a dozen or so of these great events a year--an ASU football game. Sit back, relax (until the team starts making their mistakes) and enjoy watching your Sun Devils.
As the 2011 college football season enters it's twilight this weekend with the last regular season games before conference championship play begins, the Arizona State Sun Devils look to close out their season on a high note with a win over their Pac-12 rivals the California Golden Bears.
With a win the Sun Devils can move back to even par for the season and finish with a 6-6 record, as well as a winning record in conference play at 5-4. They will have their hands full with the Golden Bears though who are ripe off their loss in the big game against the Stanford Cardinal and will be looking for some redemption at Sun Devil Stadium this Friday.
Game Date/Time: Friday, November 25; 7:15 p.m. PT
Location: Sun Devil Stadium, Tempe, Arizona
Records: Cal (6-5, 3-5 in conference), ASU (6-5, 4-4 in conference)
TV: ESPN, Mike Patrick (Play-by-Play), Craig James (Analyst), Samantha Steele (Sideline Reporter)
Radio: KGO 810 AM (Bay Area), KFPT 790 AM (Fresno), KESP 970 AM (Modesto), KPRZ 1210 AM (San Diego), KMZT 1260 AM (Los Angeles), KTKZ 1380 AM (Sacramento), KFIG 1430 AM (Fresno), Sirius 93, XM Channel 191. Joe Starkey (Play-by-Play), Troy Taylor(Analyst), Todd McKim (Sideline Reporter); Also KALX 90.7 FM at Berkeley.
It may seem like a rough time to be a member of Sun Devil Nation, and in a lot of ways, it is. The team is riding a three-game losing streak, they just lost possession of the Territorial Cup and the fans are hopping off the bandwagon.
However, with Thanksgiving coming up tomorrow and the Sun Devils set to take on Cal on Friday, there is a lot for which to be grateful surrounding the team and the program.
Let's take a moment to reflect on some of them now.
Be thankful the 11-game losing streak to USC is now a one-game winning streak over the Trojans.
Be thankful you've seen a player grow from underachiever to true stud like Gerell Robinson has done this season.
Be thankful the team has awesome uniforms and so many combinations (seriously, a lot of time can be spent on this uniform website).
Be thankful that ASU is in a premier conference and not part of that realignment drama.
Be thankful you get to hear Tim Healey call games.
Be thankful you will get to see so many meaningful records get broken this season.
Be thankful that Omar Bolden and seven to eight other Devils will be representing ASU in the NFL over the next two years.
Be thankful ASU didn't just hire Rich Rodriguez.
Be thankful that this photograph exists.
Be thankful that for the first time in a while, the Rose Bowl is still a legitimate possibility in late November.
Be thankful that ASU has a great SID who tweets awesome and fun stats.
Be thankful that the overall talent level on the roster is better than it has been in many years.
Be thankful that ASU hasn't been subject to an NCAA investigation or sanctions (baseball on the other hand...).
Be thankful you get to watch the best mascot in the conference every game.
Be thankful that there's such dedicated fans as Moustache Nation and Tez' Troops.
Be thankful you have a great quarterback in Brock Osweiler coming back for another year.
Be thankful you're a Sun Devil, because that's a pretty great thing to be.
Finally, be thankful you're not in Tucson.
Happy Thanksgiving, Sun Devils.
The season is winding down quickly and the Arizona State Sun Devils are going to need some help if they hope to represent the Pac-12 South in the conference championship game. Three consecutive losses have put a damper on what was once considered a magical season in Tempe and the program is desperate for a win on Saturday.
Despite their recent struggles, ASU opened the week favored by four points over the California Golden Bears, according to Odds Shark. Since the opening line, the point spread has increased to five or six points, depending on which betting website one uses.
It will be Senior Day at Sun Devil Stadium this weekend and a solid crowd is expected with so much at stake. Dennis Erickson knows his job will be on the line and you can bet he and the coaching staff will have the team focused. The Bears will not go easily, though, especially with a chance at a big time bowl game up for grabs.
For more on Arizona State, check out House Of Sparky.
The Arizona St. Sun Devils are still in the Pac-12 South hunt, despite three straight losses and a 6-5 record. Regardless of win or loss in ASU's upcoming game against the Cal Golden Bears, the Sun Devils will still be bowl eligible for the 2011 postseason. According to SB Nation's very own Bill Connelly, the Sun Devils are projected to play in the Hyundai Sun Bowl against the Georiga Tech Yellow Jackets.
Connelly's projections have the Sun Devils losing their season finale to Cal and finishing 6-6. He also has the UCLA Bruins losing to the USC Trojans and the Utah Utes defeating the Colorado Buffaloes to give Utah the Pac-12 South (after starting 0-4 in the conference, no less).
Should the Sun Devils instead defeat Cal while watching UCLA fall to USC and Utah beat Colorado, ASU will represent the Pac-12 South in the inaugural Pac-12 title game. A win over Cal would likely give them a higher bowl game, and the preceding scenario involving an ASU win, a UCLA loss and a Utah win would give ASU a chance to climb even higher on the bowl hierarchy with a shot against the Pac-12 North champion (the Oregon Ducks, in all likelihood).
For ASU to even begin improving its bowl fortunes, the Sun Devils must snap their three-game losing streak and close out the regular season with a victory over Cal. If they do, the Sun Devils will have a 7-5 record and a shot at representing the Pac-12 South.
The Sun Devils have suffered three straight losses while dropping from 6-2 to 6-5. Dennis Erickson talks about Saturday's loss to Arizona and looks ahead to ASU's regular season finale against Cal.
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