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ASU Football: Should You Curb Your Enthusiasm?

They are brash, talented and often infuriating to those around them, with their best days seemingly behind them.

Has Arizona State become the Larry David of college football?

The fictionalized version of David, the real-life co-creator of Seinfeld as seen on HBO's Curb Your Enthusiasm, is a quirky and quick-tempered man whose issues with the minutiae and social conventions of daily life put him into constant conflict with those around him.  David's character, despite having a brilliant comedic mind, almost always feels he is in the right, yet invariably finds himself on the losing end in most of the situations.

Fans of the Sun Devil football team can feel Larry's pain.

Over the years, ASU has often fielded teams laden with talented players and the hype and expectations to match. 

Yet, like David, they are often their own worst enemy.  Turnovers, poor execution, bad coaching decisions and downright idiotic penalties have helped prevent the program from reaching the peaks of the 1986 and 1996 Rose Bowl seasons.  In turn, this has caused much anger and frustration in the Arizona State fanbase.

While the early part of the Sun Devils' 2011 season have largely opened to the same rave reviews of Curb, there were warning signs of old habits resurfacing in ASU's thrilling 37-30 win over Missouri that could hint at a forthcoming David-esque implosion.

In a 2010 season in which missed extra points-haunted and then ultimately redeemed-the Devils, ASU had one blocked in a game that ultimately went into overtime. 

More maddening than even a failure to consistently convert what is ostensibly the easiest play in the game is the perpetual battle with penalties.  Against Missouri, the Sun Devils committed 12, with many negating key plays that would have likely turned an overtime thriller into a comfortable regulation win.  After ranking at best 112th (of 120 teams) over the last three years in penalties, ASU currently ranks 94th, which is unacceptable if the Sun Devils hope to capitalize on their lofty aspirations.

Arizona State has all the tools in place to make the 2011 season a success on the level of a Seinfeld, but they better quickly improve their self-destructive tendencies before their fans are doing more than just curbing their enthusiasm.