Every college football team is a collection of individual stories that intersect to become an overarching narrative. While only one can have the coveted happy ending, many others are considered success stories, some take the form of shallow tabloids while others are outright works of horror.
Where does ASU fall?
It doesn't take an in-depth investigation to find out the stark truth that the 2011 Sun Devils are college football's version of the hardboiled detective novel.
From it's origins in the pulp magazines of the 1920s, to the artful pen of Dashiell Hammett that inspired the classic film noir movies of the 40s, and through the modern epics of James Ellroy, the allure of the fast -talking and hard-drinking private eye has continually fascinated readers.
Standing out from such a prominent genre are the works of Raymond Chandler and his iconic private eye Philip Marlowe. Many of the cliches now so firmly associated with the era have come from his Marlowe stories, and even 60 years later those conventions fit this year's ASU football team perfectly.
Don't think so? Here are some clues.
"I hung up. It was a good start, but it didn't go far enough. I outta have locked the door and hidden under the desk." -The Little Sister
Every private investigator needs a case. Whether it's a murder investigation, missing person hunt or a search for a valuable artifact, Marlowe is just sitting around blankly in his office without a case at hand.
For the Sun Devils, the objective was clear--win the Pac-12 South. With a talented and experience roster and USC ineligible, the task seemed straightforward.
But just like every good detective story, things are never what they seem.
"I needed a drink, I needed a lot of life insurance, I needed a vacation, I needed a home in the country. What I had was a coat, a hat and a gun." - Farewell, My Lovely
The term "private eye" almost always conjures up an image of a gruff man in a trench coat and fedora. Such was the preferred look for Marlowe while on the trail.
The Sun Devils got their own distinctive look before the season, thanks to a Nike-designed university-wide rebranding. While the results haven't always been pretty, the Devils have always looked sharp. Well, there are some exceptions.
Gritty Settings"It seemed like a good neighborhood to have bad habits in." - The Big Sleep